The cornerstone laying ceremonies for NC State’s Memorial Bell Tower took place on Nov. 10, 1921. But it would be 16 years before the project saw completion.
Though the project was front and center in issues of the Alumni News, the Alumni Association’s publication in the 1920s, funding came in at an inconsistent rate. Some years brought steady contributions, like 1922, when 136 members of the graduating class each pledged $25. Other years, like 1924, saw a dip in what alumni could give. Add to that the economic peril the Great Depression brought on, and it’s easy to see while efforts to complete the project had stalled by the early 1930s.
But on this day in 1935, the project received a shot in the arm when the Works Progress Administration, created by President Franklin Roosevelt as a New Deal agency to place unskilled workers in positions to complete public works projects, dedicated $37,000 to the completion of the project.
“Work was soon begun, and by March, 1937, A.F. Bowen, secretary-treasurer to the committee, reported that over $100,000 had been spent to build the Tower and he estimated that it would take an additional $30,000 to complete the work,” the Alumni News reported.
In December 1937, another drive took place to raise the amount needed for completion of the project.