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July 8th, 1776, Liberty Bell Rung for the First Time

Pool, Getty Images

On July 8th, 1776, the Liberty Bell (not called that at the time) was rung to celebrate the first reading of the Declaration of Independence. At that time the bell didn’t have its famous crack, at least not that bell. That was the second bell to be shipped to America.

The first bell arrived in August of 1752 and because the metal was so brittle, the bell cracked during testing. In fact, the bell had to be recast twice. As for the current famous crack in the bell it’s not clear when that occurred.

Some say it cracked in 1824 during a visit from Revolutionary hero Marquis Lafayette, others say it cracked later that year tolling to warn of a fire. One of the more popular stories is that it cracked during the funeral of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835, but there are no newspaper accounts of that happening.

It is known it was damaged by 1846 because the Mayor of Philadelphia wanted to ring it for George Washington’s birthday and attempts were made to repair it. At first the bell rung load and clear but, in short order, cracked again and was taken out of service. That’s the famous crack we see now in the Liberty Bell.

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