Centralia Foundation, Charitable Foundation, Foundation Park, Carillon, Centralia Illinois Recreation Complex






The Carillon

The Centralia Carillon and tower park were created as a realization of a life-long dream of Mr. William Joy. Mr. Joy's first contact with bells was at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Later he became fascinated by the carillon while traveling through Northern Europe. This made him decide to start raising funds for a carillon in his hometown, Centralia. Most of the bells are memorials and carry the names of their donor. The biggest bell (bourdon) is named Great Thom (After Mr. Joy's grandfather and after his own son). In the past two decades, the carillon has gained a lot of popularity in Centralia an has become Centralia's musical monument.

A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of bells. The origin dates back to the Netherlands around the 1400s and is therefore one of the oldest western musical instruments. The instrument is played with a baton like keyboard which is connected to the clappers of the bells by a transmission system.

The musician playing the carillon is called a carillonist or carillonneur. There are approximately 150 carillons scatter over the USA. The Centralia carillon is one of the largest in the world. It is considered by connoisseurs to be one of the most beautiful in the world.

The 65 bronze bells were cast, turned and installed by Paccard Fouderie des Cloches in Annecy, France. It is the largest carillon cast by Paccard since their founding in 1796, and approximately the sixth largest among the carillons in the world. The Paccard Foundry has achieved a reputation for casting some of the finest sounding bells in the world. Centralia's largest bell weighs 5 1/2 tons and is nicknamed "Great Thom." The smallest bell weighs a mere 20 pounds. The total bell weight of this 5 1/2 octave instrument is 30 1/2 tons. Nearly all of the bells have a memorial, literary, or poetic inscription cast on their outer surface.

Carillon Specifications
Foundry Paccard Fonderie de Cloches Annecy, France
Architect Becker & Flowers, St. Louis
Builder Depew & Owen, Centralia
Installed Summer 1982 - Fall 1983
No. of Bells Sixty-Five (65)
Bourdon G 11,000 pounds
Diameter 79.5 inches
Smallest C 20 Pounds
Diameter 8 inches
Bell Weight 61,312 Pounds
Tower Height  160 feet
Playing Room 14th Floor
Elevator No (173 Steps)
Keyboards North American Standard
Pedalboard G, A, B-flat, B, Chromatic
Chime Yes
Office Second Floor

Centralia Foundation
115 East Second Street
Centralia, IL 62801
(618) 532-7424