Positioned at the far end of the Canadian side of the Rainbow Bridge is the Carillon Bell Tower. The Carillon Bell Tower is part of the Rainbow Bridge complex that includes customs and the Rainbow Gardens and overlooks Niagara Falls, just up river.
One thing that makes the Carillon Bell Tower significant is that it contains huge bells that play music heard throughout the Niagara Falls tourist area. The bells were cast and tuned by the John Taylor & Company of Loughborough, England. The bells cost $48,000 to make and the inaugural performance took place on July 1st 1948.
The bells of the Rainbow Bridge Carillon Bell Tower are played from a piano type keyboard by the carilloneur. Gloria Werblow of Williamsville, New York had been the carilloneur since 1986 until she retired in 2002 and the Carillon became automated.
The interior of the Carillon Bell Tower not only contained the bells at
it’s top level, but also a two level living quarters. Some lucky honeymooners and VIP’s have had the distinct pleasure of staying overnight in this apartment located in the Carillon Bell Tower.
In 1998, the Carillon Bell Tower underwent extensive renovations to both the exterior and interior. The Carillon Bell Tower was silenced until completion of construction in April of 2001.
Movie buffs will also recall that the Carillon Bell Tower played a significant role in one of the key plot points of the motion picture “Niagara” filmed in 1952 on location in Niagara Falls Canada.
Monroe was pursued by her husband in the film played by Joseph Cotton and ultimately was strangled to death and left for dead on the floor of the bell chamber. The classic scene ends with Marilyn lying under the shadow of the bells with a dramatic musical sound track.
That film captures several interior shots of the tower and the elevator and staircase that were there. The bells in the Carillon Bell Tower are also used to play Marilyn’s favorite melody which reminds her of her romantic fling with a mysterious younger man.
Interestingly enough at the base of the Carillon Bell Tower is an inscription taken from the Old Testament in which God tells Moses that he has created a covenant with the Jewish nation. This passage also attributes the use of the word “rainbow” in the Bible as it symbolized God’s mercy and the covenant He made with Noah not to destroy the world by flood again.
The passage is written in its entirety just above the hedge line on the tower.