The Phillies have officially announced plans for the space formally filled by McFadden’s (RIP) at Citizen’s Bank Park. The 24,500sq ft area on the third base side of the stadium will become an open air courtyard anchored by Foundry Pizza, Shake Shack and Pass and Stow, an outdoor beer garden and sports pub.
Greeting fans as they enter from the outside gate will be the original 19-foot high Liberty Bell that sat high above center field at Veterans Stadium. We already expect that the refurbished bell will be the highlight of many Instagram posts this season.
But why is this new bar called Pass and Stow instead of Harry and Whitey or Chase and Chooch? Because John Pass and John Stow are as important to Philadelphia history as the latter two teammates; they were the local foundry workers who recast the actual bell in 1753 – twice.
When the Liberty Bell cracked on its first strike, authorities attempted to return the gift to England by ship, but it was not able to re-board the vessel. Two inexperienced foundry workers offered to recast the bell: John Pass was head of the Mount Holly Iron Foundry and John Stow was only a few years past his apprenticeship as a brass founder.
While working on the project at Stow’s foundry on Second Street, they decided the original metal was too brittle and added copper to strengthen the form. Once it was ready, city officials threw a party to celebrate the testing of the new bell. It did not crack after the first ring, but the crowd mocked the wretched sound it made. Pass and Stow quickly removed the bell and took it back to the foundry to be recast – again. They returned it to the city two months later with a more acceptable sound.
The bell was analyzed shortly after and noted that “a series of errors made in the construction, reconstruction, and second reconstruction” resulted in something that would serve best as scrap.
Eventually a second bell was ordered but the city kept both. The new one was hung in the clock tower and the original was used ring people in. Ben Franklin even mentioned it in a 1755 letter: “Adieu. The Bell rings, and I must go among the Grave ones, and talk Politiks.”
It’s undocumented exactly how and when the bell cracked, Wiki says it happened sometime between 1817 and 1846. So raise your pint to these fine gentleman while you’re pre-gaming this Spring – they did the best they could!
Now that you’re here, Preston & Steve have lots more tantalizing details about the fancy new beer garden coming to South Philly on today’s Fun Size Podcast. Take a listen: