In 1997, 10 new bells were added to the 14 existing bells in the Westminster Bell Tower, making the set into the state's second largest carillon.
The new bells were cast by the Petit and Fritsen Bell Foundry, the Royal Dutch Bell Founder, Aarle-Rixtel, Holland. Each bronze bell took approximately one month to make and is composed of pure copper and block tin. The largest bell has a 25-inch diameter and weighs 341 pounds.
The bells are operated by a keyboard located at the base of the bell tower. The bells can be played by a carillonneur or preprogrammed tapes can be played through the keyboard.
A story on the new carillon appeared in the Dec. 25, 1997, issue of the Rocky Mountain News:
The bells of Westminster's tower: With 10-bell addition, city will have suite of 24 bells, or enough for its goal of carillon
By Mike Patty
Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer
WESTMINSTER - The chime in the Bell Tower at Westminster City Hall is about to be promoted to a carillon.
A campaign to add 10 more bells to the existing 14 bells in the tower is nearly complete. Sponsors have purchased nine of the bells, which cost $3,000 apiece, and only one remains to be sponsored.
With a total 24 bells, the Westminster tower will be the second largest bell system in the state, second only to the 30-bell carillon at the University of Denver School of Law.
"We now have a chime, a system of 9 to 14 bells the sounds of which are represented by the 'white keys' and a few other notes," said Katie Harberg, Westminster's public information officer.
"With addition of the 10 bells we will have a carillon. A carillon is 23 or more bells and includes the 'black keys.' "
The idea for the Bell Tower was born in 1986 when city officials were searching for a monument or sculpture to commemorate the 75th Anniversary celebration of the City's incorporation.
"I had an idea that harkened back to my days at the University of Nebraska and the carillon tower outside the journalism school," Harberg said. "The link with Westminster in England and Big Ben seemed like a neat idea. It captured peoples' imagination right from the beginning."
After considering several locations around the city it was decided to put the Bell Tower at the new City Hall, which was then being designed. The 14 story tower not only became the focal point of the building but the very symbol of the city itself.
"It's become a community landmark, the basis for our logo and, in many other ways, synonymous with the City of Westminster," Harberg said.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the new City Hall, which opened in 1988, it was decided to add the 10 bells to the tower.
"A carillon has a great advantage over a chimes in the range of melodies that can be played," Harberg said. "There are many compositions composed for a carillon that can't be played on a chimes."
The bells can be played either by an automatic electronic program or manually on a keyboard.
The campaign to purchase the bells, which are being cast in Holland, was launched in August. An anonymous donor has agreed to match individuals, businesses and organizations who would sponsor half of the $3,000 cost of a bell.
The bells are scheduled to be installed in the tower either in January or February.
"People have said ours are the most wonderfully tuned and beautiful-sounding bells in the Rocky Mountain area," Harberg said. "It really is a great cultural enhancement for the city."