Daily Dose of Crimson Tide: Denny Chimes

Christopher Walsh

It’s probably the most recognized and important landmark on the Tuscaloosa campus, and no trip to the Capstone would be considered complete without visiting Denny Chimes.

Shaped like a small lighthouse, the slender tower was dedicated in 1929 and became one of many reminders of the success of the football program, although that wasn’t the original intent.

The bell tower was to serve as a memorial for Alabama students who died in World War I, but plans were abandoned due to lack of funding.

Shortly after Alabama played in both the 1926 and 1927 Rose Bowls, which essentially put Southern football on the national college football map, rumors began to spread that school president Dr. George Hutcheson Denny was considering leaving the Capstone to return home to his native Virginia. In his honor, students raised the necessary funds, and the structure was built on the south side of the Quad along University Boulevard.

Not only was Denny instrumental in making football a high priority at Alabama, which he skillfully used to promote and expand the school, he also coined the term Capstone when he referred to the university as the “capstone of the public school system of the state” in 1913.

The tower’s 25-bell bronze carillon tolls every quarter hour and plays a daily medley of music at 5 p.m. along with Christmas music during the holiday.

Beginning in the late 1940s, football team captains were honored by having their names, handprints, and footprints set in slabs of concrete surrounding the tower, on what’s now known as the “Walk of Fame.” Some names just about anyone would recognize include Crimson Tide legends Joe Namath, Ozzie Newsome, and Kenny Stabler.

Those who are into Alabama football trivia have a smorgasbord of information and possible tidbits from the more than 140 slabs, including the following:

  Who was the lone person to have been inducted into the Walk of Fame by himself?

Answer: Nick Germanos, 1955

• Which two notable captains didn’t attend their Walk of Fame ceremony? 

Chris Samuels, 1999, and Landon Collins, 2014

• Who has “All-American” and “1961” next to his name?

Billy Neighbors

• Who has the words “All-SEC” next to his name? 

Benny Nelson, 1964

• Who is the only player to have his nickname listed?

Ken “Snake” Stabler

• Which two coaches decided not to gave the annual Walk of  Fame ceremony at Denny Chimes, but at Bryant-Denny Stadium? 

Dennis Franchione in 2001 and Mike Price in 2002. It's kind of a trick question

• Which five players have the year of the ceremony and not the season they played listed by their names? 

Steve Allen, Joe Namath, Benny Nelson, Ray Ogden, and Steve Sloan

Some of this post originated from "100 Things Crimson tide Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die," published by Triumph Books

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