Russell Barron is the winner!
The bell at what used to be Orofino School, now Orofino Junior High School, is the answer for Week 64 of Orofino History Trivia, a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.
The Orofino School bell was circa 1908, cast No. 24. It weight 250 pounds and has a circumference of 75 inches. It was installed in the belfry in 1910 and taken out in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The bell was preserved by Joint School District #171 until 1980 when it was restored by the University of Idaho. After sitting at the UI for several years, the district gave it to the Coeur d'Alene School District in 1992 and it was installed at the Hayden Meadows Elementary School in Hayden Lake. It rings everyday to signify it is time to learn.
The plaque at the Hayden Meadows reads: "The Learning Bell is dedicated to all students called to learn in these halls. Cast as No. 24 by the American Bell Foundry (circa 1910) the bell weighs 250 pounds and measures 75 inches in circumference.
"It was originally housed in the belfry of a schoolhouse in Clearwater County, later preserved by the Orofino School District ad restored by the University of Idaho. The Coeur d'Alene School District received the bell in 1992 for dedication to students and their learning at Hayden meadows Elementary School."
After the bell was taken out of the OJHS belfry, the area was open for a number of years before being boarded up. Most people in Orofino either did not know about the bell or had forgotten it once hung at the school. Orofino Junior High School Principal Shannon Wilson tracked down its whereabouts and it is his vision to see it returned to the school, though the belfry may no longer be a viable place for it to hang. There are other locations that may be better, Wilson said.
Those who would like to assist Wilson with the effort to replace the Hayden bell and have the Orofino bell returned may contact him at the school until the end of this week: 208-476-4613 or during the summer break at: email@example.com. Please, put bell in the subject line. He plans to expand the effort for fundraising in the fall when school begins again.
Photos: Top--This painting of the belltower was done by C. Probst. Second--The belfry is boarded up and empty.
Monday: It was a historical loss.
Tuesday: Weighs 250 pounds.
Wednesday: Coeur d'Alene
Thursday: Installed in 1910
Friday: Restored at the University of Idaho in 1980
Saturday: Installed in the belfry in 1910
Monday: Its ringing tones called children to school every morning
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