Beaumont Tower Live Cam

Situated on campus, one block south of Grand River Avenue



Hosted by:
  • Michigan State University
  • 426 Auditorium Road - East Lansing
  • Michigan 48824 - United States
  • (517) 355-1855
  • https://msutoday.msu.edu/

History

The Beaumont Tower is a prominent and historic landmark located on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Michigan. It stands at the heart of the university and serves as a symbol of tradition, academic excellence, and Spartan pride. Here's an overview of the history of the Beaumont Tower:

  • Construction and Dedication: The Beaumont Tower was built in 1928 as a tribute to the university's founding president, Theophilus C. Abbot. It was made possible by a generous donation from John W. Beaumont, a wealthy MSU alumnus. The tower was designed by the architectural firm of Donaldson and Meier and constructed using Indiana limestone.
  • Architectural Design: The tower's design is inspired by the Fran├žois Rabelais' book "Gargantua and Pantagruel," which depicts a fictional bell tower. It stands at a height of 104 feet (31.7 meters) and features a distinct carillon-style architecture with Gothic Revival elements.
  • Carillon Installation: The Beaumont Tower is home to a carillon, a musical instrument consisting of a series of bells. The carillon was installed in 1928 and initially had 10 bells. Over the years, the carillon has been expanded and currently consists of 49 bells. The largest bell, called the Bourdon, weighs approximately 6,800 pounds (3,084 kg).
  • Traditions and Symbolism: The Beaumont Tower has become a cherished symbol of MSU and is associated with various traditions. The tower's bells play the "MSU Shadows" alma mater song daily, and the Bourdon bell tolls to mark the hours. The tower also chimes special melodies during significant events such as graduation ceremonies and football victories.
  • Historical Significance: The Beaumont Tower has witnessed several historic events at MSU. During World War II, the tower served as a lookout point for students participating in air raid drills. Additionally, in 1963, civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech from the steps of the tower during his visit to the campus.
  • Restoration and Preservation: Over the years, the Beaumont Tower has undergone restoration and preservation efforts to maintain its structural integrity and historical significance. In 1996, it underwent a comprehensive renovation project that included repairing the stonework, refurbishing the carillon, and improving accessibility.

Today, the Beaumont Tower stands as an enduring symbol of Michigan State University's rich history and serves as a gathering place for students, faculty, and visitors alike. Its iconic presence and melodic carillon continue to evoke a sense of tradition and pride within the MSU community.

Historical facts

  • Funding: The construction of the Beaumont Tower was made possible by a generous donation of $60,000 from John W. Beaumont, an MSU alumnus, in honor of his parents. The donation covered the entire cost of building the tower.
  • Design Inspiration: The architectural design of the Beaumont Tower was inspired by the bell tower in the fictional book "Gargantua and Pantagruel" by Fran├žois Rabelais. The book depicts a larger-than-life bell tower, and the design of the Beaumont Tower reflects this inspiration.
  • Bell Installation: When the Beaumont Tower was originally constructed in 1928, it housed a carillon of 10 bells. The carillon has since been expanded, and as of today, it consists of 49 bells, which are played using a keyboard and a pedalboard.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Speech: On January 23, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Michigan State University and delivered a speech from the steps of the Beaumont Tower. His speech focused on civil rights and racial equality, and it remains a significant historical event in the tower's history.
  • WWII Air Raid Drills: During World War II, the Beaumont Tower served a practical purpose beyond its symbolic role. It was used as a lookout point during air raid drills, allowing students to keep an eye on the surrounding area for any signs of attack.
  • Renovation: In 1996, the Beaumont Tower underwent a comprehensive restoration project. The restoration included repairing and cleaning the tower's stonework, refurbishing the carillon, and improving accessibility to the tower.
  • Symbol of MSU: The Beaumont Tower is considered one of the most recognizable symbols of Michigan State University. It represents the university's traditions, academic excellence, and Spartan pride.

These historical facts showcase the significance and rich heritage of the Beaumont Tower at Michigan State University, making it a cherished landmark on campus.

Architecture

The Beaumont Tower at Michigan State University exhibits architectural elements influenced by Gothic Revival style and carillon tower designs. Here are some features of the Beaumont Tower's architecture:

  • Gothic Revival Influence: The architectural design of the Beaumont Tower reflects elements of the Gothic Revival style. This style emerged in the 18th century and gained popularity during the 19th century as a romanticized revival of medieval Gothic architecture. It is characterized by pointed arches, decorative tracery, and intricate stonework.
  • Tower Structure: The Beaumont Tower stands at a height of 104 feet (31.7 meters) and is constructed primarily of Indiana limestone. It has a square base with progressively narrowing tiers as it rises. The tower has a solid and sturdy appearance, emphasizing its significance and durability.
  • Carillon Style: The Beaumont Tower follows the design of a carillon tower. Carillons are musical instruments consisting of multiple bells, and their towers are specifically designed to house and support these bells. The tower's structure accommodates the weight and vibrations of the bells, ensuring their proper functioning.
  • Bell Chamber: At the top of the Beaumont Tower is the bell chamber, which houses the carillon of bells. The chamber is typically constructed with openings or louvers to allow the sound of the bells to resonate outward. The bells are hung in a frame, and the clappers are connected to a keyboard and pedalboard, enabling a carillonneur to play them.
  • Clock Faces: The Beaumont Tower features four clock faces, one on each side of the tower. The clock faces are typically large and easy to read, allowing people across the campus to see the time. The clock mechanism is often maintained and periodically adjusted to ensure accurate timekeeping.
  • Decorative Details: The Beaumont Tower incorporates decorative elements in its design. These include ornamental carvings, finials, and architectural embellishments, such as gargoyles, that enhance the tower's visual appeal and evoke a sense of grandeur and historical charm.

The architectural design of the Beaumont Tower reflects both its functional purpose as a bell tower and its aesthetic significance as a symbol of tradition and excellence at Michigan State University. It combines Gothic Revival elements with the specific requirements of a carillon tower, creating a distinctive and iconic structure on the campus.