Donate pennies to preserve the 1749 Courthouse Bell in Chesterfield

Updated: Aug. 21, 2017 at 11:21 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - You can help preserve history, one penny at a time.

"Pennies for the Bell" is underway at all Chesterfield County Public Libraries, where you can donate loose change to help preserve the 1749 bell that once hung at the courthouse.

The original courthouse bell is three years older than the Liberty Bell and is one of the oldest artifacts in Chesterfield.

According to the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia, the history of the bell rings back to the year Chesterfield separated from Henrico.

At that time, in 1749, "a courthouse was constructed on a central site selected near an ordinary at the intersection of five roads. This courthouse survived a burning during the Revolutionary War in 1781, and was plundered by the Union Army during the Civil War in 1865," according to records at the CHSV.

Records go on to state that the bell remained on that site until 1916 when the controversy of building a new structure began. That resulted in the first preservation struggle in Chesterfield.

The original 1749 bell was saved and placed in the belfry upon the completion of the 1917 courthouse.

"In April 2017 (the bell) was cleaned, stabilized, the iron corrosion removed, and then coated to preserve it for many years to come," stated the CHSV website.

The bell will be placed on permanent display in the Chesterfield County Museum in October.

Donations can be made at any Chesterfield County Public Library to help preserve county history.

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