Colorado State University had a 500 pound historic artifact stolen from them almost 100 years ago from the back of the Fort Collins campus.
After almost 100 years, it was returned to them. The bell, called “Old Main,” was made in 1984 and was hung for the first time in approximately 1910.
This bell would be how the college would announce the start of classes and was even rung after every football victory. The inside of the bell was the first to be stolen, but students would still ring it by hitting the bell with sledge hammers.
In 1919, the bell was cracked from repeated blows. The bell was originally thought to have been melted down for scrap during World War II.
What actually happened, was in 1919, a group of students, at least four, climbed the tower and sneakily made off with the bell. They were worried that they would get in trouble for cracking the bell and then pilfering it, so they buried it on a nearby farm that was owned by the family of one of the thieves.
Spring of 2016, the school got a call from a lawyer, who asked what the university would do if the Old Main bell was returned. They agreed to restore the bell, cast a new clapper and finally were reunited with this piece of history.
From Denver Post:
Old Main had burned down in 1970 and no building near the site of its original home could accommodate it. But the bell could be included in a tower of the Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center, on the northeast corner of the new on-campus football stadium. The tower will be named for University donors, Jim and Nadine Henry, who were honored as “Alumni of the Century” in 2000. “My dad died in 2006, and my mom in 2015, and the family has been looking for a way to honor them,” Kathleen Henry, a daughter of the Henry’s and CEO of the CSU Foundation.
She and her three siblings said their parents would be thrilled to know their name will be forever connected with the bell. “CSU was their passion, they made the best friends of their lives here,” Henry said. “They always said their lives were forever changed for the better by this University.” Students will be allowed to use the bell, which will be rung electronically, starting next year. “Hearing the sound of this bell will bring a sense of pride and connect us to the roots of our land-grant university,” Pineda Soracá said.