Last Updated: 2010-01-19

A Brief History

Between 1924 and 1928, the Virginia General Assembly acted to create a World War Memorial Commission and build a lasting memorial to the heroic efforts of Virginia's World War I servicemen and servicewomen.

The City donated a building site in Byrd Park. The War Memorial Carillon is 240 feet high and The Carillon instrument was built by John Taylor Bell Founders of England.

The Carillon Tower originally carried sixty-six bells, but played fifty-three notes - the top thirteen notes had duplicate bells in an unsuccessful effort to produce a louder sound. When the carillon was renovated in the early 1970's, the thirty-four bells which played the highest twenty-one notes were recast into twenty-one new bells with thicker profiles than the originals, producing a better sound. Now there are fifty-three bells for fifty-three notes.

Carillon concerts are usually played on veteran-related holidays (Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, Flag Day and Labor Day) and a spring series of concerts have been funded in the past by the Civic Associations.

Memorial concerts may be arranged by calling (804)646-1437.

After World War II, the nationally acclaimed Christmas pageant, "The Nativity," has been presented each December 23 at 7 pm on the steps of the Carillon. The performance is free, open to the public and draws thousands each year.

The first floor is used for wedding receptions, parties, meetings and art displays. The Carillon is a "magical" place and it is our hope and desire that the building continue to serve the citizens of Richmond and the Commonwealth for years to come.

To make reservations, or for additional information, please call our scheduling office at (804)646-0036, (804)646-0037, or (804)646-0761.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Where is the Carillon located?

The Carillon is located in Byrd Park.

How much does it cost to rent meeting space at the Carillon?

Meetings for 200 persons or less - $195 for a 4 hour period plus $40 per hour operational/staffing fee. Weekday use only.

Meetings for 201 persons or more - $325 for a 4 hour period plus $40 per hour operational/staffing fee. Weekday use only.

Wedding receptions or parties - $1,300 ($250 deposit to the hold date applies) plus $40 per hour operational/staffing fee. The fee applies from the time you enter the building until the time you leave.

There are also other fees. Please call for (804)646-0761, (804)646-0036 or (804)646-0037 for details.

What are the rental hours for the Carillon?

Events at the Carillon can start as early as 8 am, however, all events should end at 11 pm with the exception of a New Year's Eve function, which should end at 1 am.

Note! Due to the Dogwood Dell schedule and Festival of Arts Programs, the Carillon is not available for bookings between June to August or during the month of December, before the 28th.

What are the move-in and clean-up procedures?

Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. is considered move-in time at $100 for the day, anytime other than that is considered overtime, which requires a $40 per hour fee (with a four hour minimum) to cover operational and staffing costs.

Caterers can return on Monday morning for clean-up (tables and decoration, not food) - food service usually comes in through the rear door of the building. For access to the rear doors, caterers are welcomed to park behind the building.

Does the building fee include any equipment?

The basic rental package includes 200 chairs as well as two six-foot long tables. Additional equipment can be rented as follows:

  • 6' round tables - $8.50 each (there are 20 round tables in stock).
  • 6' or 8' rectangular tables - $6.50 each (there are 18 long tables in stock).
  • Extra chairs - $1.00 each (up to 100 maximum).
  • Sound system (podium) - $50 per use plus a $75 refundable deposit.

Can alcoholic beverages be served at events?

Yes, an ABC license must be provided if serving alcoholic beverages. It can be acquired through a caterer. Alcohol is only allowed inside the Carillon. If alcohol is served, arrangements for an off-duty police officer must be made by calling (804)646-0929.

Is insurance needed?

Yes, for large special events and events serving alcoholic beverages, insurance naming the City of Richmond as the additional insured party (all agencies) for $1,000,000 must be provided. The insurance can be purchased through homeowners insurance or possibly be obtained through the caterer. For more information on insurance, call (804)646-0037, (804)646-0036, or (804)646-0761.

What is the maximum capacity of the Carillon?

The maximum capacity is 300 people. One side of the Carillon can comfortably hold 12 round tables (if needed, it is possible to squeeze up to 15 tables). If using the department's chairs, 8 - 9 people can sit at a table. If renting standard folding chairs, 10 people can sit at a table.

Is there a kitchen?

There are no kitchen accommodations, however, running water is available in the housekeeping closet on the first floor.

Are the grounds surrounding the Carillon available for wedding rentals?

Weddings on the grounds of the Carillon may be arranged, only when the client is also renting the interior of the Carillon. If renting the grounds, please include an additional $275 fee for each four hour period.

How are reservations scheduled?

To make reservations, or for additional information, please call our scheduling office at (804)646-0037, (804)646-0036, or (804)646-0761.

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