The idea of erecting a bell tower on the University of Alabama campus was initially suggested in 1919. It was envisioned as a war memorial for those who fought in World War I. Due to a lack of funding for its construction, the project never materialized.
In the late 1920s, university students were finally successful in collecting the necessary funding to construct a tower, although not as a war memorial. It was done in an effort to dedicate the structure to university president George Denny, after learning of a rumor that he was looking to leave the university and return to his native Virginia.
The tower was built by Skinner, Maxwell and Company at a final cost of $40,000. It was dedicated on May 27, 1929, with Governor Bibb Graves in attendance.