Burton Memorial Tower

Burton Memorial Tower 230 N Ingalls St

Written By VAMONDE Ann Arbor

About the Tower

The Burton Memorial Tower is a clock tower located on Central Campus. The tower was built in 1936 as a memorial for University President Marion Leroy Burton and houses a grand carillon. The grand carillon is the world's fourth-heaviest, with 53 bells, it weighs a total of 43 tons.


The monument was constructed in 1935 and finished in 1936. It stands at 192 feet, with the floor of the bell chamber at 120 feet from the ground. It is located at the University of Michigan campus, and is used for housing education offices. The high-rise tower was designed in an interesting mixture of Art Deco and art moderne architectural styles. The design was greatly influenced by Eliel Saarinen, who had submitted an earlier scheme. The tower chimes the Westminster Quarters every quarter hour in the key of E-flat.

The Burton Memorial Tower was designed by Albert Kahn, who also designed the William L. Clements Library, Angell Hall, and Hill Auditorium for the University of Michigan. Alumnus Charles A. Baird, the first U-M athletic director, donated the carillon, and it's been known as the "Charles Baird Carillon." He also commissioned the fountain on Ingalls Mall, which is called "Sunday Morning in Deep Waters."

Did you know?

The University of Michigan campus has two of only twenty-three grand carillons in the world, barely two miles apart. The other is housed at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Tower on the North Campus.

On April 8, 2017, in celebration of the university's bicentennial, the tower was illuminated in maize and blue, the university's colors. The carillon and spire can also be lit in other colors by the LED illumination system installed for the bicentennial.

Cover image by I, Cacophony, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2514006. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.

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