Friday, January 23, 2009

Return of the Bell

Morrison acquired its first school building in 1875, and it was used as a school until about 1955. This beautiful sandstone building had, as traditional, a school bell in a "belfry" on top. Sometime after 1955, the building was vacant, the bell mysteriously disappeared, and the belfry itself was soon removed. (See before and after photos at the link above.)

In 2006, just in time for Morrison's centennial celebration, the bell came home. After some negotiation by Dan Rohrer, the town borrowed it from the International Bell Museum in Evergreen, where it had come to reside. The loan was extended after the Bell Museum's proprietor, Winston Jones, died in August 2006. Last year, the town arranged to acquire the bell from the beneficiaries of Winston's 6,000-bell collection. A few other historic Colorado bells were also repatriated, but most of the collection has gone to a new home at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska. (Click photos to enlarge.)

On Wednesday, I ran across the bell again while it was awaiting a new installation back home in Morrison. Here, DeWayne, Jerry, and Marcie contemplate the 240-pound bell in the back of a town pickup, making plans for its relocation near the town's new mural and interpretive kiosk along Mt. Vernon Creek at main street (Bear Creek Avenue).

Yesterday, Jerry kindly sent this photo of the bell in its new home above the Mt. Vernon Creek bridge on the Bear Creek Trail. He promises step-by-step photos soon. If you get a chance, go by and welcome the old bell back to its hometown, if not its rightful spot!

See also, story at YourHub.

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