Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
July 25, 2012     The New Era Paper
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July 25, 2012

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itg ' ra - July 25, 2012 VOUR COMMUNITV Page 11 From page 1 School spirit took its toll on the bell over the years, alumni say. Sweet Home students would paint their school colors on Lebanon's wooden Indian mascot and the Warriors would respond by doing the same to the bell - or worse. "During that time Lebanon was a big athletic rival and Sweet Home would steal Lebanon's big wooden Indian statue and they'd steal our bell," Dahlenburg said. "It was so heavy, they probably just dumped it into the back of a pickup." During one of those raids, the yoke in which the bell was mount- ed broke and it eventually was put into storage in a school district warehouse. That's where Dahl- enburg found it, around 1980, he said. "It was just a bell and a clap- per," he said. Dahlenburg, who was weld- ing instructor at the time, had his students manufacture a yoke and harness "to make it look like a bell." Construction trades teacher Harold Miner had his students build a bell tower and the bell was mounted in it and rung by students at the end of the last day of school each year. In the 1990s the tower began to rot, so the bell was taken down for safety reasons, he said. From there it made its way to East Linn Museum, where it was mounted on the pad ih front of the build- ing. "They displayed !t as another bell, not as the high school bell," he said. "I'm not sure how they got hold of it. But Icame along and I knew it was wrong. I knew where the bell was that they wanted, so we made a switch and put the high school bell back in storage for the last eight years." Dahlenburg said when the Sweet Home Alumni Foundation held its first reunion, in 1992, he helped replace missing photos in the hallway at the high school. This year, he decided to get the bell restored and present it as a gift. "There's a lot of history there," he said. "It wasn't 10 or 15 feet from where I found it the first time." He contacted a friend, Burlin Miller (Class of 1957), whose son- in-law, Shawn Anderson (Class of 1996) operates Anderson's Auto Body. "They agreed to refinish it and restore it as a gift," he said. "Bur- lin's role in the whole process was to get Shawn to do the work." The three also installed wheels so the bell could be rolled in and out of the gymnasium, so it could be used for sporting events there and at Husky Field. He said he was planning to re- place the frame, built by students in 1979, but Anderson talked him out of it. "Three alums and the stu- dents, who are all alums now, contributed to this," Dahlenburg Restoration of the bell was the Miller and Shawn Anderson. Photo by Scott Swanson work of, from left, Ben Dahlenburg, Burlin noted. The moment of truth came during the alumni rally at Husky. Field. The bell had been rolled in and was sitting under a back- ground hanging with a husky em- blazoned on it. Miller and Anderson had a conflicting commitment so they couldn't be there, but Dahlenburg told the crowd about the bell's history, but didn't mention its presence. He then whipped off the covering. There was an audible gasp of pleasure from the audience and spirited applause. "That made me feel good," Dahlenburg said. "I. wish Shawn and Burlin could have been there. "I hope it stays out of storage this time." The only remaining piece to complete the restoration is to put a rope on the bell. Dahlenburg is asking anyone who knows how to tie a bell's rope to contact him at (541) 367-4677. "I know where to buy one on e-Bay, but if someone could make one, that would be better. They can get pretty fancy. "If we don't get one by fall, I'll buy one." Principal Keith Winslow said the bell is currently too wide to be easily rolled through doors - dis- trict personnel had to remove a center post to get it into the high school building through the front door. "It's in the library right now, where the kids can see it," he said. "It's pretty cool." He said possibilities include building a raised case for it in the gym foyer where it would be protected from damage but where students could see it. He said one possibility might be to reserve it for special occasions - state play- off games, for instance. "We can ring it every time they score," he suggested. august in sweet home Sweet Home Safeway P la'ng Join us for the Oregon Jamboree Kick-Off Party on Thursday night in the Safeway parking lotI There will, be a remote with KRKT, LIVE music, Rancher's Reserve Samples and TO Qfp es! It's also your KRKT Pas', 2013 Jamboree 3-Day GeneralAdmission Tickets and Swe S potPasses! Presented By: .qii. Al L E ~ " 99.9 /