SPRINGFIELD'S SCULPTURES,            Carl and Roberta Volkmann
MONUMENTS, AND PLAQUES              cvolk@aol.com
Around the Town
Thomas Rees was the publisher of the Illinois State
Register from 1881 to his death on September 9, 1933.  
Additionally, he served as a senator in the Illinois
General Assembly and authored several travel books.
Rees and his wife traveled broadly but were especially
attracted to Belgium and Holland where he developed a
deep interest in carillon music.  His will established a
$200,000 trust fund for the construction and
maintenance of a carillon and tower in Springfield,
Through a competitive process, a committee appointed
by the Springfield Park Board selected bell foundry
Petit & Fritsen, Ltd. Of Aarle-Rixtel, Netherlands, to
design the tower and to cast the bells. Erected on the
highest point in the city in Washington Park, the
Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon was dedicated in
Originally the carillon had sixty-six bells, but another bell was installed in 2000.  The
reinforced concrete, steel and brick  tower is twenty feet by twenty-two feet at its
base and one hundred thirty-two feet tall.  Two nine by ten foot columns flank the main
tower.  The structure is surrounded by a forty-eight foot by sixty foot reflecting pool
and illuminated at night by a system of exterior and interior lights.

A $90,000 renovation was undertaken in 2007.  The original bronze clappers of the
seven largest bells were replaced with slightly softer (and mellower sounding) cast
iron.  Steel anchors which hold the beams that support the bells were also upgraded
in the project.

Through regular summer concerts, an annual international festival, and carillon
playing lessons,  Raymond Keldermans (the original carilloneur) and his son Karel (the
current carilloneur) seek to honor the vision of Thomas Rees. In his will Rees said the
purpose of the carillon is “… to educate the public to the beauty, harmony, and other
benefits of bell music and to teach the art of playing bell music.”
Thomas Rees monument in Oak Ridge Cemetery