Digging into school history, one student set out on a six-month search for the Linfield Victory Bell and shared his findings Oct. 12 in Riley Center. A large number of alumni and students gathered to see the anticipated unveiling.
Finally, after 150 years, 50 of which it was in storage, the Linfield Victory Bell will be able to be seen by the whole community.
The Linfield Archives offers students the opportunity to learn about the school’s history and is open to everybody. This is how sophomore Jeremy Odden came across text of a Linfield Victory Bell.
“The look for the bell all began when Jeremy was reading through a book and the victory bell was mentioned,” said Rachael Woody, head of Linfield Archives. “He then went on a wild goose chase to more than 10 buildings around campus trying to find out more about the bell.”
The bell was cast in 1859 by Naylor, Vickers and Co. in Sheffield, England. It was made of steel, a rare occurrence in its time. The completed bell was then shipped to McMinnville and hung in the downtown education building until 1883. It then was moved to the newly completed Pioneer Hall.
The bell was rung following athletic victories and successful college fund drives. Its sound traveled throughout McMinnville. In its combined residences, the bell rang for more than 100 years.
In 1961, following a football victory, a student went to ring the bell, but only heard a dull clink. Later, the bell was found to have a crack. The bell was then silent for more than 10 years but still remained in Pioneer Hall before it was moved in the ’70s next to Cozine Hall.
Later, it moved to the basement of Larsell Hall, the old brick plant out past Potter Hall, and finally, to the facilities warehouse. At times, its whereabouts were only known by facilities.
After reading about the bell, Odden was determined to find its location. After searching through 10 buildings around campus, he finally found it in the facilities warehouse next to the library.
“To obtain the bell, it took six months worth of searching, researching and a lot of waiting,” Odden said.
After locating the bell, new challenges began to present themselves. After spending 50 years in storage, the bell needed to be refurbished, and later have a place to be on display, both of which required funding. After much work, Odden raised enough money to do both.
“When we first found it, it was nasty. It had major rust stains that had to be taken care of when it got refurbished,” Woody said. “[Odden] then received funding and found a place for the bell to reside permanently.”
The bell is now on display in the Riley Student Center.
“It’s a huge relief to see it safe, sound and finally on display,” Odden said.
“It’s been a tiring process, but extremely rewarding,” Woody said. “This bell project is a classic example of the kind of education that we strive for here at Linfield.”