Sarah "Sally" McFarland Carillon
Alternative namesMcFarland Memorial Bell Tower
General information
TypeBell tower housing a carillon
LocationSouth Quad
Town or cityUrbana, Illinois
CountryUnited States
Coordinates40°06′10″N 88°13′38″W / 40.102835°N 88.227182°W / 40.102835; -88.227182Coordinates: 40°06′10″N 88°13′38″W / 40.102835°N 88.227182°W / 40.102835; -88.227182
Construction startedJuly 2008
CompletedOctober 2008
InauguratedOctober 22, 2010[1]
Cost$3,500,000 (Bells: $500,000; Tower: $3,000,000)
OwnerUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Height185 feet (56 m)
Design and construction
ArchitectFred Guyton
Architecture firmPeckham Guyton Albers & Viets, Inc.
Other designersPetit & Fritsen (bellfounding)

The McFarland Carillon, sometimes referred to as the McFarland Bell Tower or McFarland Memorial Bell Tower is a 185-foot bell tower located on the South Quad of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The tower was approved by the University's trustees in 2005 and built in 2008-2009. It was designed by Fred Guyton of Peckham, Guyton, Albers & Viets.[2] The carillon has 48 bells, which can be controlled by a computer with 500 pre-programmed songs, or can be played directly with a keyboard.

History and description

Close-up of the bells, September 20, 2013
Close-up of the bells, September 20, 2013

The carillon project began as an attempt to upgrade and renovate the Altgeld Chimes of Altgeld Hall Tower, until it became clear that this would not be possible. A free-standing campanile had been considered as a possibility for the campus since 1913.[3] The funding for the project came from Harold Richard "Dick" McFarland, a graduate from the university's College of Agriculture in 1952. After the death of his wife Sarah "Sally" McFarland due to ovarian cancer, McFarland donated $1.5 million for the construction of the tower, which would be named in her honor.[4]

The carillon's 48 bells were cast by the Petit & Fritsen bell foundry and were transported to the United States via boat. The total cost of the bells was estimated at $550,000.[3]

Local residents and students have attempted to climb the tower, and at least one has fallen while attempting the climb. [5]

"Eye of Sauron" prank

In the early hours of Sunday, September 21, 2008, students hung a replica of the "Eye of Sauron" in the top half of the tower. The eye is from J. R. R. Tolkien's novel The Lord of the Rings and is a symbol of the principal antagonist. The University of Illinois Police did not identify the pranksters. The eye was removed from the tower the next morning. [6]

See also


  1. ^ "McFarland Carillon Brings Music to the ACES Quad". ACES News. September 28, 2010. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  2. ^ Cornish, Sabryna; Forrest, Sharita (July 21, 2005). "Trustees Discuss new Hotel/Restaurant". Inside Illinois.
  3. ^ a b "McFarland Bell Tower" on Explore CU
  4. ^ Smith, Missy (September 3, 2008). "Local man funds bell tower construction". Daily Illini. Archived from the original on November 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Kiser, Michael (October 13, 2017). "UI student injured after climbing and falling from bell tower". News Gazette. Champaign, IL. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  6. ^ Spector, Stephen (September 23, 2008). "No Suspect in Sight for Eye of Sauron Prank". Daily Illini. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016.