At last, the Washington School bell has a permanent home. The bell was dedicated Sept. 28 in front of the old White Bear High School (now the District Center).
Lin Lindbeck, Class of '58, was asked to say a few words at the dedication. He attended the elementary school and remembers the bell well.
“The sound brought students to attention,” he said, recalling a kid named Gary “Red” Erickson who hung on the rope to ring the heavy cast-iron bell.
Lindbeck thanked Pelco Construction owners Don and Cindy Peltier for donating time and labor for the monument's brick foundation. The Medicine Chest donated the securely fastened white bear to its right.
Washington School was completed in late 1895 by local contractor David Hanna, according to Sara Markoe Hanson, executive director of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society.
“The bell, which was installed almost immediately, was an important element of the school day. When the school was scheduled for demolition in the 1970s, there were many plans for relocation of the bell, including incorporation into the design of Washington Square apartments now located on the site. Those plans never came to be and the bell was lost in storage for some time,” she said.
According to Lindbeck, the bell was in Mark Peltier's garage awaiting repair for a crack.
The bell was resurrected some 20 years later and has now been installed in a monument in front of the original White Bear High School building. Hanson noted that high school students would have attended classes at Washington School prior to the construction of the first White Bear High School building in 1918/19.