Academy Bell Fund Raiser


History Mystery! 

It’s large, possibly weighs 100 pounds or better and has become tarnished green over time, it has been known to make a large booming noise that would alert students and teachers that a change in the activity was to occur.

If you guessed a grand bell of some sort then you would be correct. 

Some time ago, alumni of the academy began to  wonder what might have possibly happened to the “Hiawatha Academy” school bell.   

The following information is detailed as described in the research regarding the grand bell located in outside NW corner of memorial auditorium. Researched by Dorothy Wright, B.H. Pennel and Lucille Pennel.

The history of the large bell presently located on the outside NW corner of the Memorial Auditorium lawn was recently uncovered. It was discovered that it is in fact from the Hiawatha Academy. The bell was thought to be placed in the bell tower in 1888. The Hiawatha Academy was in operation from 1887-1915 in the latter years adding the Hoover Hall. Jim Meek, Class of 1954 contacted another former classmate residing in the Hiawatha area, enter Dorothy Wright.

Jim asked Dorothy if she might be aware of what happened to the Hiawatha Academy bell. Jim has a particular interest, in that in 1968 Wayne Starr, class of 1939 coordinated with Jim, an architect in California to erect a commemorative model of the bell to place on the high school grounds. Jim came to Hiawatha and took dimensions of the bell in met with the alumni board in 1968. There was a picture of the model that was on the front of the Alumni program book. In 1972, Wayne tragically passed away in a plane crash and the interest in the bell project dwindled into nonexistence. Jim of course, was left to wonder what happened to the original bell. The “bell” was verified by sending a photo of the bell to him and Jim stated “That’s it!” Former Hiawatha High School Principal B.H. Pennel verified as he was the one to determine where the bell might exist. 

Plans are in the works for a plaque and restoration of the bell housing is in the works. Anyone interested in donating to this project your assistance would be greatly appreciated. 

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