On July 4, 1776, 56 defiant men proclaimed the signing of the Declaration of Independence by tolling the Liberty Bell at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The adoption of this historic document marked the birth of our country as a free and independent nation. The tradition of ringing bells on Independence Day, each bell tolling thirteen times, one toll for each of the original colonies, stemmed from this great event.

In 1963, Mt. Morris became the first village in the State of Illinois to reinstate the tradition of ringing bells on Independence Day.

In April of that year, Ronald Reagan (40th U.S. President) was in Mt. Morris to dedicate the first Freedom Bell, which now hangs at the Memorial Fountain. Three years later, on July 4, 1966, the bell that hangs in the bell tower was in place. 1966 should be considered "The Year of the Bells" as a great fever swept the country. The two men who drove this movement were in Mt. Morris on July 4, 1966 when the Freedom Bell was dedicated.

In 1971, the Mt. Morris Freedom Bell was designated as the Official Freedom Bell of the State of Illinois. Thousands gather annually in Mt. Morris over the Fourth of July Holiday. For forty-three years the Freedom Bell in Mt. Morris has been rung in unison with other bells across the nation at 1:00 P.M., CDT, to celebrate our nation’s independence.

The Illinois Freedom Bell has a rich history. It was cast in the U.S. in the early 1860’s as a replica of the Liberty Bell. Its first location was in a belfry of an old church on the shores of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. A fire destroyed the church, but the bell was undamaged. Church members decided to relocate the church on the opposite shore of Lake Geneva. During winter, when the lake was frozen, a group of men attempted to drag the bell across the ice. The weight of the bell cracked the ice, the bell sank to the bottom of the lake and remained submerged for over forty years. A wealthy resident of Lake Geneva located the bell, raised it, and planned to make it a focal point of the house he was building. In 1966 an article published about this bell generated interest within the Mt. Morris Community. A dozen members of the Mt. Morris July 4th Committee traveled to Wisconsin to investigate. With the assistance of the Mt. Morris VFW, who loaned the July 4th Committee the money, and with donations from local residents, the bell was purchased for $500. The bell weighs 1,500 pounds, and is 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. The bell is silver in color and is cast from bell metal.
Tourism In and Around
 Mt. Morris, Illinois
The Freedom Bell, located on the Campus next to the Band Shell, is rung 13 times every July 4th.
The American Legion Veteran's Memorial Fountain is located on the northeast end of the Campus. Completed in 1926, it is built with boulders from around the country. Part of the annual Memorial Day Program is held here. Directly behind the fountain is the original Freedom Bell which was dedicated by Ronald Reagan in 1963.
The Campus Band Shell has hosted the Kable Concert Band for over 115 consecutive years. Concerts are held every Wednesday at 8:00 PM during the months of June and July.
Another popular event has been the Friday Night Concerts which were started in 2012 featuring area bands. Click on the Campus Concerts tab for detailed information on the bands that are scheduled to perform.
"Old Sandstone" is located on the Campus just south of the Band Shell. It was once part of the Rock River Seminary, established in 1839, prior to the founding of Mt. Morris. The original building burned and was rebuilt on the same site.
The "Spirit of Compassion" bronze statue was sculpted by and cast by Jeff Adams of inBronze. It is located south of the Pinecrest Grove Community Center. 
The "Mounder" Statue, commissioned & sculpted by David Seagraves and cast by Jeff Adams, is located east of the Village Hall near Mounder Park. The Mounder, a mountain ram, was the mascot of
 Mt. Morris High School.
Aerial view during summer
 showing the water tower.