Century Tower (University of Florida)

For other uses, see Century Tower (disambiguation).

Century Tower, at the University of Florida
General information
Type Tower
Architectural style Memorial
Location Main campus, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States
Coordinates 29°38′56″N 82°20′36″W / 29.648834°N 82.34329°W / 29.648834; -82.34329Coordinates: 29°38′56″N 82°20′36″W / 29.648834°N 82.34329°W / 29.648834; -82.34329
Completed 1953
Design and construction
Architect William Augustus Edwards
Main contractor Auchter Company
UF Carillon Home Page
Century Tower

Entrance to Century Tower
Location Gainesville, Florida
Built 1953
Architect Jefferson M. Hamilton[1]
Architectural style Modified Collegiate Gothic

The Century Tower is a 157-foot-tall (48 m) carillon tower in the center of the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida.[2][3][4]


Begun in 1953 by the Auchter Company[5] to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of UF's parent institution, Kingsbury Academy in Ocala, it also serves as a memorial for students and alumni who perished in both World War I and World War II.[2][3] This fulfilled the original campus design of the university's first architect, William Augustus Edwards, which called for a Gothic bell tower as a focal point for the entire campus.[6] At the time of the tower's completion in 1956, however, there was no money to buy bells for the carillon. An electronic bell system given by J.E. Davis and A.D. Davis, two of the Davis Brothers who controlled Winn-Dixie, was used until it finally broke down in 1975. In 1976, $200,000 from accumulated student fees was used to buy the initial set of 49 bells.[2] A Dutch bellfoundry, Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry[7] designed, fabricated and installed the full carillon in 1979.[4] In 2002 a major gift from the estate of Larry Allen Webb of St. Augustine, Florida, (a distant relative of President Dwight D. Eisenhower) made possible the addition of twelve trebles for a total of 61 bells, complete revision of the carillon playing action, and provision of an identical studio practice clavier in the adjacent University Auditorium with sound samples from ten major carillons throughout the world. The Century Tower Carillon of sixty-one bells was completed in its present form and dedicated on September 11, 2003.[8]

In 2008 the Century Tower became a contributing property in the University of Florida Campus Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 20, 1989.[9][10]

Perhaps because Century Tower was built soon after the university became co-ed, an old school joke states that every time a virgin graduates from UF, a brick falls off the tower.[11] It is worth noting that the tower stands in pristine condition.

About the Century Tower Carillon

See also


  1. A Guide to the University of Florida Architectural Drawings
  2. 1 2 3 A Unique University - Century Tower
  3. 1 2 History of Century Tower
  4. 1 2 McCarthy, Kevin M., and Laurie, Murray D., Guide to the University of Florida and Gainesville, 1977, Sarasota: Pineapple Press, pp. 134-136
  5. Dinger, Ed: "Gale Directory of Company Histories: The Auchter Company" Ask.com, 2003
  6. McCarthy, Kevin M., and Laurie, Murray D., Guide to the University of Florida and Gainesville, 1977, Sarasota: Pineapple Press, p 134-136
  7. "1979 Carillon installation" University of Florida Carillon at Century Tower
  8. Papers of the University of Florida Foundation, 2001-03
  9. National Park Service Weekly Update on July 3, 2008
  10. Gainesville Sun July 16, 2008
  11. http://www.alligator.org/app/pt2/070815legends.php
  12. "A Guide to the Collection of Musical Scores Composed or Arranged by Budd A. Udell" UF George A. Smathers Libraries
  13. "History of the Carillon" University of Florida Carillon at Century Tower
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