America's Liberty Bell was moved to an new home at midnight on New Year's Day (1 January) to start off the country's celebrations for its 200th year.
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Background: America's Liberty Bell was moved to an new home at midnight on New Year's Day (1 January) to start off the country's celebrations for its 200th year.
Thousands of people turned out to see the bell being towed the 100 yards (90 metres) from Philadelphia's Independence Hall where it has spent the last 223 years, to a new $1 million (550,000 pounds sterling) steel and glass pavilion designed to accommodate more visitors.
As many as 20 million visitors are expected to go to Philadelphia for the bicentenary year, and officials felt the old Independence Hall would not have handled the flow of tourists.
The 2000-lb bell scarred by its famous crack, and pock marked by souvenir seeking tourists, was pulled on a blue and white cart, piped on its way by the US Infantry Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.
The transfer was not a simple matter. As one of the country's most treasured symbols, the bell was radiographed - a type of X-ray process - weighed measured and minutely examined by experts.
The bell has had a history of misfortune since it was taken to Philadelphia from London in 1752, to commemorate Pennsylvania's 50th anniversary.
It had cracked during testing, but was repaired and was rung during the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on 8 July 1776.
The bell cracked again while tolling the funeral for Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835, and the crack widened when the bell tolled the last time, in 1846, on the anniversary of George Washington's death.
SYNOPSIS: One of the United States' most treasured symbols of its revolution, the Liberty Bell, was moved from Philadelphia's Independence Hall, its home for the past two hundred and twenty three years, to a new site, to get American's two hundredth year under way.
As many as twenty million visitors are expected to go to Philadelphia this year and officials felt the old Hall would not have handled the flow of tourists.
So it was moved to a new one million dollar steel and glass pavilion, especially built for the bell, behind the old hall. Plenty of care was taken over the transfer.
The two thousand pound bell was X-rayed, weighed and minutely examined to make sure it could take the hundred yard journey.