Bok Tower Gardens was Edward Bok’s gift to the American people. The property encompasses Iron Mountain, one of the highest points in Florida. The carillon tower was built atop the 295-foot high hill. Within the tower is one of the world’s finest carillons, a bell-based instrument and the heaviest of all musical instruments. The site also houses the world’s largest carillon library, with books, articles, recordings, music scores, slides, and photographs only on carillons.
The 205-foot neo-Gothic and Art Deco singing tower was designed by the architect Milton B. Medary, with stone sculpture by Lee Lawrie, the creator of Atlas at Rockefeller Center.
A brass door, which depicts the Book of Genesis and wrought iron gates were created by metalworker Samuel Yellin, whose works also grace both the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. There’s an extra fee to enter the door. The upper third of the tower is covered in tiles created by H. Dulles Allen.
The gardens were designed by the noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the designers of New York City’s Central Park and the architect for the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. There is also the Children’s Garden where children can play. It includes a sand pit, a water park and other interactive activities.
The Bok gardens 60-bell carillon is played every day at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. (There is a recording of the carillon here.)