In that strange, distant land known as New Jersey, a bell tower is being restored in the community of Upper Montclair.  It was erected in 1919, not only as a tribute to seven men from the area who died in the Great War, but as a “thanks offering for the return of those who served.”  Seven of the bells bear the names of those who did not return.

The pastor of St. James Episcopal Church and the community recognize that this was a way for the town in 1919 to grieve over there losses.  Pastor Melissa Hall remarks that “grief is love that has lost its home,”  and the church is now committed to seeing that the bell tower is preserved to keep the faith of the community.

For the complete story, see:


You are wondering why a story about a New Jersey bell tower is posted on a Kansas blog.  A fair question.

During this centennial efforts are being made to record all existing World War I monuments and memorials.  I suspect the first thing people think of when hearing those terms are a monument . . . or a statue . . . or perhaps a plaque.  As we reported earlier, there is at least one stained glass window:

This story is simply a reminder that there may be some unique tributes that were made.  Is there a World War I bell tower in Kansas?  I don’t know.  The University of Kansas does have the Campanile, but that is a World War II tribute.

So keep your eyes open for those World War I tributes.  Or in this case, keep your ears open!

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.