A historic school bell, once thought to be lost, is back where it belongs now. The cast iron bell dates back to the 1890's. Recently it was rediscovered, and will now go on display at a Hanford school.
Students at Kit Carson School hear the sound of a bell drastically different from the sound a 120 year old bell once made. Pictures show the bell tower in it's early years at Hanford's Eureka school. It was closed down back in the 1950's and eventually became Kit Carson. Stories of the bell remained long after the school was gone.
"In the early 70's the old Eureka school had burned down. We were under the understanding, when I grew up, that the bell was stolen before then," said Bernadette Oliveira, a volunteer at the school.
Bernadette Oliveira says she was shocked to find out the bell had been close by the whole time. Principal Todd Barlow recently got a call from a man offering to give it back.
"When we first got it it was a big, heavy, ugly piece of metal," said Barlow.
After getting sand-blasted, clues were revealed about when and where it was made. But to find out how it got from a school to someone's yard, they went to historian David Gonzales. He attended Eureka beginning in 1938 and remembers after a longtime principal died in a San Francisco fire, the bell was given to her family.
"I knew the family and, in fact, my mom had worked for them. I happened to see it where they had it displayed by their swimming pool," said Gonzales, who is 80 years old.
All these years later, the bell is back at a school. It'll be unveiled to the public next month as Kit Carson celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Someday the bell will be displayed in a new marquee in front of the school. The principal hopes to mix old history with current design.