Sunday, December 22, 2019


Last week I did a post on my recent trip to Longwood Gardens, and dear reader Christina was very pleased by the this post is for her and her love of the gardens and my critters.Pierre du Pont constructed Longwood’s 61-foot-tall stone Chimes Tower based on a similar structure he had seen in France. He purchased the largest set of tower chimes he could find from the J.C. Deagan Company of Chicago after first borrowing one chime to test its carrying power. Twenty-five tubular chimes were installed in the upper tower chamber and Mr. du Pont installed a switch in the Peirce-du Pont House so he could activate the chimes from his residence. In 1941, the Deagan Company approached Mr. du Pont with word of their newly developed electronic imitation bells. Mr. du Pont noted, however, that he had "definitely decided not to make any change in the chimes at Longwood." 

In 1955, a year after Mr. du Pont's death, the Deagan Company again contacted Longwood, noting with electronic-age enthusiasm: "Your Tower Chimes are outmoded and obsolete. So many important changes have taken place since 1930 that what you have at Longwood positively cannot be compared with what we have to offer today." In 1956, the original chimes were replaced with a 32-note electronic carillon.  From 1956 to 1981, the electronic carillon sounded the quarter hours and played 16,000 daytime concerts and 600 evening concerts. In 1989, the electronic bells, which were in unacceptable playing condition, were disconnected.
The idea of restoring real bells to the tower was first proposed in 1977 by Schulmerich Carillons of Sellersville, PA. After 23 years of sporadic discussions and several trips to inspect instruments in this country and abroad, the Gardens signed a contract with Schulmerich's cast bell supplier, the Dutch firm Royal Eijsbouts, in June 2000 to build a 62-bell carillon.  Longwood closed the Chimes Tower in February 2001 to renovate the structure for the new carillon in the top chamber. Since then live concerts in the summer and fall, the carillon rings mechanically every 15 minutes from 9:00 am-5:00 pm. But why this is neat to see, one of my favorite things is the birdseed trees...and where I met my new friend...another on my many minions.

Then today when I thought of dedicating the post to her, this cardinal landed on my sill for lunch. Merry Christmas Christina!


  1. thank you for the lovely cardinal holiday card, maddie! SMOOCH! you are a dear friend!

  2. You have the cutest, furriest little minions, Maddie!

  3. OMG!!!!! You got real close to that squirrel! He is so cute! And I have never heard the tower at Longwood before...that is awesome!

  4. The post warmed my heart tonight. I have always loved hearing the Bell tower at Longwood. It's been awhile since I actually heard it.Of course I love the squirrel!!!!!!! He didn't mind to be getting filmed either.

  5. I love this place. I hope you'll take me when I visit. Was the squirrel after you nuts by chance?

  6. Interesting history.
    And I loves the squirrel (don't tell Abby).

  7. That is awesome!!! Almost looks like somewhere is England or something. Loved the squirrel.

  8. I have just seen this and can hardly speak. A dedication for me. I will pull myself together, have a coffee and come back and comment shortly.......

  9. Oh I love the bells and the squirrel. I would swear animals are drawn to you Mistress. This post has warmed my heart this early am.

  10. Right. I'm composed.
    Firstly the music played by the carillon is "Dance macabre".
    It's a great piece of music.
    Just imagine being so wealthy to be able to do this! Build a fabulous tower just because you'd seen one in France and loved it. I suppose I do the same really. I see a planting scheme in a chateaux garden and try to recreate it at home, even though my garden is tiny compared to the chateaux gardens in france.
    I'm glad Mr du pont resisted the new fangled bells whilst he was alive.
    However, the restoration looks fantastic and the sound on the video is excellent.
    I would love to hear it live though. What an experience that would be.

    And as for the tree and Mr squirrel, well you know my weakness. Great idea too to put seed in the decorations.
    The cardinal is very beautiful. We don't have them in the UK and I suppose the closest bird is the robin.
    If only I could fly over and have supper at your beautiful casa...........

    Thank you for this, mistress. I appreciate it.
    Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?
    There's so much negativity and wickedness and yet someone I've never even met can take the time to do this for me.

    May I wish you and all your fantastic commenters a wonderful festive season, however you spend it.
    All good wishes.x

    1. I. Would have sat and watched that squirrel all day. And yes the internet is a wonderful thing when it comes to seeing other parts of the world and meeting people.

      Stayed tuned....later is the tree post from you all.

  11. Happy Happy MM.
    I'm doing a Biltmore post later in the week from our weekend trip.

    PS Love a Cardinal!

  12. We insisted as boys the squirrels had their christmas 'dinner' with peanut butter applied to the tree trunks.

  13. It's a shame they were talked into removing the tubular chimes in favor of electronic. Over the years, I searched for a grandfather clock with real chimes - no luck unless I wanted to pay three fortunes. Even in this day of damn fine digital imitation, the sound of the real thing is better. Kind of like trying to replace flesh and blood with a dildo - it can be fun but it's still not the real thing!

  14. That is so cool!!! You don't see things like that often. That squirrel is certainly enjoying that seed.


Go ahead darling, tell me something fabulous!