Bell damaged by 2009 courthouse fire gets new home

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A 150-year-old bell that survived a fire that heavily damaged a historic southern Indiana courthouse has a new home on the courthouse's lawn.

Jefferson County's commissioners last week dedicated an open-air shelter that protects the 3,100-pound bell from the elements in Madison.

Commissioner Mark Cash says the bell cast in 1864 "will be out there for many generations to come."

The Madison Courier reports the bell fell into the courthouse during a May 2009 fire that destroyed the 1855 building's gold-domed bell tower and third floor.

Workers eventually returned a burnish to the fire-scorched bell using sanders, buffers and compounds.

A modern chime system was installed in the courthouse before it was rededicated in 2011, but the bell's journey back to the Ohio River courthouse took a bit longer.

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