October 8

Liberty Bell in Atlanta

October 8, 1895 - Atlanta, Augusta, Athens, Macon

It doesn't get around much anymore, but the Liberty Bell came to Atlanta on this date in 1895 for the Cotton States Exposition.

It almost didn't.

The famously–cracked 2,000 pound pealer left Philadelphia on seven trips between 1885 and 1915. Each time it came home with more cracks. It turned out the men hired to guard the Bell were taking liberties, literally: chipping off pieces and selling them as souvenirs.

Atlanta Mayor Edwin Stuart's request for the Bell was originally denied. But other Philadelphians insisted that sending it to post–Civil War Atlanta would symbolize North–South reunion. The Bell had already been to Chicago for the World's Fair, and to New Orleans. That trip included a stop in Mississippi, where ex–Confederate President Jefferson Davis stood beside it and urged national unity.

Cheering crowds greeted the Bell in Atlanta. A two–mile parade took it to Piedmont Park, where 50,000 people lined up to see it. 

Don't expect it to be back. The Liberty Bell hasn't left Philadelphia since 1915, making even more historic the visit that began on October 8, 1895, Today in Georgia History.