Oct. 9, 2005
The Osaka Central Rotary Club of Japan donated a Friendship Bell to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on this day in 2005.
Donated as part of the club’s efforts to promote world peace and understanding, the Friendship Bell was integrated into the Japanese Gardens designed by architect Masaji “Buffy” Murai. The gift celebrated the 100th anniversary of Rotary International.
The Japanese bronze bell hangs in a wooden belfry in the Hulsey Woods that adjoin the Japanese Gardens, the 7.5-acre triangular end of the park. Earlier, the Rotary Friendship Circle Walk was built in the Japanese Gardens, which has authentic decorations from several Rotary Clubs in Japan.
The Rotary Club of Shades Valley, whose members meet at the gardens, commissioned the belfry’s construction according to plans drawn by a member of the Osaka Central Rotary Club. Japanese Consul General Shoji Ogawa dedicated the belfry April 7, 2008.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.