Anthony Family Funds Carillon Tower at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Architect's rendering of Anthony Carillon
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Architect's rendering of Anthony Carillon

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — While crews lay flagstone flooring and cautiously install the massive floor-to-ceiling windows in the 160-seat Anthony Chapel at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, the foundation has been poured for yet another soaring structure that will serve as an orientation point for visitors to the chapel.

The structure, a 55-foot-tall, square carillon comprising 16 copper-clad columns, is a gift to the Gardens from the family of the late Garland and Flora Autrey Anthony. The Garland Anthony children — Edwin, Nell, Garland, Avalene, Velda Rose, John Franklin and James Norman Anthony (all natives of south Arkansas), and their families — will make the In Memoriam gift to Garvan Woodland Gardens.

In December 2003, Hot Springs residents John Ed and Isabel Anthony announced a $1 million contribution to Garvan Woodland Gardens for the purpose of constructing a chapel for private events and quiet reflection by individual visitors. The Anthony Chapel project quickly generated interest and major donations from other Hot Springs residents, including Leon and Betty Millsap, Bob and Sunny Evans, and Dick and Carol Pratt. Their contributions provided the necessary funding for the Millsap Bride’s Hall, designed as a gathering area for attendants and family members, and the Evans Groom’s Quarters, a separate dressing facility for the groom and his party. The Evans Celebration Garden, featuring an arched stone bridge, colorful plantings, and several water features, will provide an exquisite, landscaped link between the bride’s hall and the chapel. The Anthony Carillon is the fifth and final component to be constructed in the Anthony Chapel complex.

Designed by the nationally acclaimed architectural firm, Jennings + McKee of Fayetteville, Ark., the Anthony Carillon is supported by pillars of steel weighing 2,200 pounds each. The intricate cross-bracing of the columns is made of eight 950-pound members and eight 1,500-pound members. The spacing of the columns allows for activities within and around the open carillon. 

According to the architects’ description of the tower, it echoes the form of the obelisks adjacent to some European churches. As with bell towers in traditional churches, the Anthony Carillon will communicate events held at the chapel complex to a wider audience. A metal lantern and speaker box are suspended from the center of the copper columns and designed to chime and play music.

The Gardens’ marketing director, Marla Crider, said visitors won’t have to wait for a special event to hear the bells or listen to music. The plan is to schedule carillon performances at specific times of the day during regular operating hours.

“The bells will be heard throughout the Gardens, as well as certain points on Lake Hamilton,” Crider said.

When asked about the significance of the carillon donation to Garvan Woodland Gardens, Development Director Bob Bledsoe replied, “It’s a stately addition to the Gardens’ growing list of amenities and a fitting tribute to Garland and Flora Autrey Anthony. When visitors approach the entrance to the complex for a glimpse of the impressive Anthony Chapel, they will be equally fascinated by the scope and beauty of the Anthony Carillon that welcomes them.”

Completion of the $450,000 tower is expected in July. 

Verna Cook Garvan donated the 210-acre Garvan Woodland Gardens to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture in 1985. Located on 4.5 miles of Lake Hamilton shoreline, the Gardens feature more than 128 species of ornamental and native shrubs and wild flowers, 160 different types of azaleas, a four-acre Asian garden with a 12-foot waterfall, three unique bridges and a sandstone pavilion designed by Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings. For more information on Garvan Woodland Gardens, including maps and directions to the site, visit

This gift was committed during the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, which recorded $1.046 billion in gifts and pledges designated toward student and faculty endowments, academic programs, capital improvements and University Libraries when it concluded June 30, 2005.




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