University of Michigan

Albert Kahn’s Burton Memorial Tower, which contains the Charles Baird Carillon

Here is a photo of the hoisting of the “bourdon bell” – the heaviest of the entire collection.

From the University of Michigan website:

Burton Memorial Tower

  • 212 feet tall
  • 41 feet x 7 inches square
  • 19,848 square feet of floor space
  • Designed by Albert Kahn
  • Final cost = $243,664.61
  • Recent renovation = $1.8 million
  • Construction: reinforced concrete shell faced with limestone (1935–1936)
  • Dedicated Dec. 4, 1936
  • Named for U-M President Marion Leroy Burton (Presidency 1920–1925)
  • Charles Baird Carillon

  • Mounted atop the Burton Memorial Tower
  • Tied for fourth heaviest carillon in the world
  • 55 bells cast in 1936 and 1975 (total weight 43 tons)
  • Largest bell: 12 tons; it strikes the hour
  • Smallest bell: 16.5 pounds
  • Bells hang 120 feet above campus
  • Bells are stationary—only the clappers move via mechanical linkage
  • Bells cast in Loughborough, England, by John Taylor and Co. Bellfoundry
  • Carillon donated by Charles M. Baird, U-M graduate, lawyer and U-M’s first athletic director
  • In 1935–1936 when Burton Tower was erected, pulleys were used to raise buckets of concrete, other construction materials and the carillon’s bells.

    This structure is not just a clock tower, it is also a musical instrument. It is also a fully functioning skyscraper with classrooms for the music department inside.