Learn About The Most Famous Arkansas Bell In Newport

Arkansas is known for its rich history and unique landmarks, but one particular bell in Newport stands out above the rest. This bell is not just any ordinary bell, as it holds a special place in the hearts of its citizens and has become a symbol of the town’s heritage.

The History of the Arkansas Bell

The Arkansas Bell was first cast in May of 1865 by George Holbrook, a bell foundry owner located in Medway, Massachusetts. This particular bell was commissioned by the Fort Smith Presbyterian Church, which used it for several decades.

However, in 1916, the church decided to replace the bell with a larger and more modern one, leading to the Arkansas Bell’s relocation to Newport, Arkansas. It was purchased by the First Presbyterian Church of Newport for $1,080, and the church’s pastor at the time, Rev. W.P. Harlan, gave it a new name: the Arkansas Bell.

For the next several decades, the Arkansas Bell remained in the church’s tower, calling the town’s faithful to worship every Sunday morning. But in the 1950s, the church underwent a renovation that involved removing the bell from its tower and placing it outside on a wooden platform.

The Arkansas Bell’s Significance

Despite its humble surroundings, the Arkansas Bell quickly became a beloved landmark for the people of Newport. Its ringing could be heard throughout the town, signaling the beginning and end of the school day, announcing the arrival of a new baby, and marking the passing of a loved one.

The Arkansas Bell also played a significant role in the town’s history. In 1962, it rang out in celebration of the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, signaling the relief and gratitude of the Newport community.

Over the years, the Arkansas Bell has become much more than just a church bell. It has become a symbol of Newport’s heritage, a reminder of the town’s past and the strength of its people.

The Bell’s Fate

Unfortunately, the Arkansas Bell’s condition began to deteriorate over the years due to weather and age, leading to concerns from the people of Newport about its future.

In 2018, the Arkansas Bell was removed from its wooden platform and sent to Ohio for restoration. The people of Newport raised over $20,000 to cover the cost of the restoration, ensuring that the bell could once again ring out over their town and signal the start of a new chapter in its history.

The restored Arkansas Bell was returned to Newport in the spring of 2019, and on August 17th of that year, it rang out once again for the first time in over a year. The sound of its ringing echoed through the town, signaling not only the return of a beloved landmark but also the strength and resilience of its people.


The Arkansas Bell may seem like just another landmark to some, but for the people of Newport, it is so much more than that. It is a symbol of their heritage, a reminder of their past, and a beacon of hope for their future.

The Arkansas Bell has played an important role in the town’s history, and its restoration ensures that it will continue to do so for many years to come. So next time you find yourself in Newport, take a moment to listen to the Arkansas Bell’s ringing and appreciate the town’s rich history and the strength of its people.

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