I receive several queries each day regarding the origination of Deeds’ name.
I work in Guest Experience at Carillon Historical Park, a gift to the City of Dayton from the generosity of Col. Edward Deeds & Edith Walton Deeds. When I am the greeter and Wayfinder in The Atrium, my station is just a few feet from the animatronic figure of Edith Deeds.
Mrs. Deeds purchased a three-acre tract of land from the National Cash Register Company to build the carillon, a tower 170 feet in height that would shelter a cluster of 32 bells. One hundred and fifty sketches were drawn for Mrs. Deeds before she approved the final design from architects Reinhard and Hofmeister of New York City, designers of Rockefeller Center. The structure was fashioned of granite, steel, and Indiana limestone.
Mrs. Deeds said that her motives for creating the carillon were that, “In no other way can simple inspiring music be spread among an entire populace.”
Edward Andrew Deeds was an American engineer, inventor, and industrialist prominent in the Dayton, Ohio, area. He was the president of the National Cash Register Company and, together with Charles F. Kettering, founded Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO), an early innovator in automotive technology.
Mrs. Edith Deeds died in her New York City Park Plaza Hotel suite on February 9, 1949. After a funeral service at their home, Moraine Farms, Mrs. Deeds’ procession passed by her carillon tower as her favorite hymn, “Lead Kindly Light” Deeds was played by Robert E. Kline, Mrs. Deeds’ favorite carillonneur.
Today, Carillon Historical Park is a 65-acre park and museum in Dayton, Ohio, which contains historic buildings and exhibits concerning the history of technology and the history of Dayton and its residents from 1796 to the present. The historical elements of the park were the brainchild of Colonel Edward Deeds and Edith Walton Deeds. The major sections include settlement, transportation, invention, and industry.
When the carillon tower was built, each of 23 bells was inscribed with the name of a family member, with the “silent” bells bearing the names of deceased family members and ringing bells cast with the names of family members then living. Today, with 57 bells, the carillon is Ohio’s largest. The National Park Service listed the Deeds Carillon on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
Carillon Park refurbished the carillon in 1988, converting it from an electric keyboard-controlled instrument to a traditional, baton-keyboard mechanical carillon. The Park’s carillonneur, Larry Weinstein, performs live carillon concerts every Sunday at 3:00 pm from May to October.