“It Speaks Though Inanimate” — Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin

Today, the Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin remembers the ceremonies on April 29, 1893 when the Liberty Bell moved from its transport train to its position at the exposition grounds.

From the Rock Island [IL] Daily Argus of April 29, 1893:


Hail And Welcome To the World’s Fair Guests of Chicago.

First Comes the Liberty Bell.

Chicago, April 29. This has been Chicago’s busy day; and that is saying a good deal; for Chicago is always busy, and for the past two years has been much so and growing more so, the climax having arrived in these latter days of the month of April, 1893.

And, as is remarked above, this Saturday, April 29, has been the busiest day of them all. For the work was pushed a little—probably a great deal—harder at the fairgrounds, and besides that there were three receptions of distinguished guests—the avant couriers of the millions less distinguished who will have come inside the city’s gates ere the close of the great exposition.

It Speaks Though Inanimate.

And first of these guests was one which, though inanimate, spoke to the popular heart—with all deference be it said—in stronger, more enduring tones than many of the eminent men whom Chicago shall honor during the World’s fair day and months.

It spoke of the birth of the love of liberty in the Western continent; it spoke of even years of fierce struggle for nationality and freedom; the words it spoke came from away back in ’76 and twenty-five years before that time, and they were: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the world and to all the nations thereof.” For this most eminent guest was the “old Liberty bell.”

Guarding the Old Bell at Night.

Last night it arrived. It had been on a journey through three states, which was a triumphal procession.

At every stopping place the high and low, rich and poor had turned out to see it.

In our neighboring state on the east an ex-president in glowing eloquence had told its story to 10,000 school children; and when its train pulled into the Union station here last night there was a great and cheering crowd awaiting it.

Guarding it on its way west was a special committee, one member of which was Philadelphia’s mayor, and to meet and welcome it to the western metropolis Mayor Harrison and a council committee went to the state line.

The bell remained on its car last night guarded by the special detachment of policemen which came along with it and an additional special detachment of Chicago police. ”

Liberty Bell’s Warm Greeting.

How the Relic of ’76 Was Received at the Western Metropolis.

The next event of the day was the parade in honor of the Liberty bell. At 2:30 this afternoon a procession formed at the Union station.

During the morning the bell had been removed from the car and mounted on a brilliantly decorated truck.

The formation of the parade was as follows:

At the head of the column a flag made entirely of American silk with the forty-four stars and thirteen stripes of the “Old Glory” of today.

Next twenty-seven mounted police, followed by the Second regiment band; then a platoon of police on foot and another band.

The First regiment followed and immediately after them the bell, flanked on each side by the guard of honor, consisting of a squadron of hussars, and preceded by buglers.

The Geo. H. Thomas cadets were next and then carriages containing Chicago and Philadelphia officials. A long line of citizens on foot concluded the column.

The line of march was:

On Adams street east to Market, south to Jackson, east to Michigan avenue, south to Thirty-fifth street, east to Grand boulevard, south to Midway Plaisance, east to Jackson park.

As the parade debouched on Michigan avenue Battery D fired a salute of twenty-one guns.

Upon reaching the Lexington hotel the president and duke of Veragua reviewed the procession, which cheered them to the echo.

At Thirty-fifth street the infantry left the line and the mounted forces and carriages proceeded to the park.

At Jackson park speeches were made by Mayor Stuart, of Philadelphia; President Palmer, of the National commission; President Higinbotham, of the Columbian Exposition company; Mayor Harrison and Colonel Robert Rae, who was chosen by the Pennsylvanians of Chicago to deliver the address on behalf of the residents in this city of natives of the Keystone state.

The bell was then placed in the position assigned in the Pennsylvania building.


The Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin shows with an image of the Liberty Bell on a decorated truck, circa 1890s.

Franklin Silver Half Dollar Coin