Bucyrus Bell Tower dedication is Oct. 14

Bucyrus Bell Tower dedication is Oct. 14
Posted on 10/05/2016

The Bucyrus City School District will host a special ceremony at 2:00 p.m. in front of the Bucyrus Elementary School to commemorate the rededication of a newly constructed bell tower and the original bell Friday, Oct. 14.

This bell, cast by Harrison & Davis, was originally placed in a cupola atop the newly-constructed Bucyrus Union School at the current BES site in 1870. At the time, it was considered the largest and finest schoolhouse in Ohio. Centrally located, the bell, which was rung frequently, could be heard across the town. It resided here for 52 years until a new high school was built on this site in 1922.

“The history of this bell is absolutely incredible,” said Bucyrus Superintendent Kevin Kimmel. “I had no idea how significant this was until I started working with Randy Fischer and discovered its importance to the Bucyrus community.”

Upon completion of Bucyrus High School, there were no plans for using the bell. A group of citizens, spearheaded by John Q. Shunk, raised funds to build a freestanding bell tower on the northeast corner of Elementary School property. The bell tower was dedicated in 1930 and was rung by BHS graduates until a new Bucyrus High School was constructed on Perry Street in 1969.

Again, there were no plans for the bell at the new high school. Ned Raybuck, Class of ’69 President, had a dream to erect a bell tower at the new high school, and he worked tirelessly on this effort. After his death in a car accident in February of his senior year, the dream of a new bell tower became a community project, and on Memorial Day 1972, a new bell tower was dedicated in memory of Ned Raybuck. Graduates continued to ring the bell at the Perry Street location for more than 30 years until renovations required that the tower be removed.

“Since the completion of our renovation project, many Bucyrus alums have approached me about reconstructing a bell tower to display this great piece of history,” said Kimmel. “I’m very proud to say that, with the support of many graduates and the Board of Education, we are finally going to be able showcase this bell for years to come.”

In addition to the new structure holding the bell, bricks from all the former elementary schools were used to construct a column where the dedication plaque will be displayed. Ryder-Heil Bronze, a longtime Bucyrus business, donated a clapper for the bell at no cost to the district.

Individuals and graduating classes who have generously donated to this project include: Bucyrus City School District; Bucyrus High School Classes of 1943, 1949, 1954, 1961, 1975, 1985, 2014 and 2015; James Steman for the Bucyrus High School Class of 1943; Mr. & Mrs. Mark and Barb (Herb) Christel; and Mr. Randy Fischer.

“We are incredibly grateful to all the classes and individuals who made this project a reality,” said Board of Education President Brad Murtiff. “This is a fantastic piece of Bucyrus history that will be enjoyed for many generations to come.”