PARK HIGH'S BELL Bob Reiss, from the Re-Echo, Spring 2004
St. Louis Park's first high school was Lincoln High, built
in 1890. In those days, when you built a school, you
included a bell to call the kids to class. Early
pictures show a bell tower on the rear west side of the
school. How and when the bell was used is not clear.
Primary students who attended classes in this building do
not recall the bell being used.
Lincoln was used as the high school until a "new" high
school was built on Walker Street in 1914. After the
high school students moved, the Lincoln High building was
used as an elementary school until 1938. Whether the
bell was used in unknown but it did remain in place.
In 1938, the school board added a third new high school next
to the existing one on Walker Street. The older high
school became the junior high and the Lincoln building
became surplus. It was sold to the Village of St.
Louis Park and became Village Hall.
The bell did not get sold with the building - teacher Ethel
Baston is credited with saving it.
After the new Central High was completed, the bell was
mounted on a pedestal outside the main entrance. In
the 1940s and 1950s, no Echowan yearbook would have been
complete without without a picture of the current
cheerleaders gathered around the bell.
Unfortunately, the bell was well-known to rival schools as
well. It was frequently stolen, and later found in
strange places, including the tunnel under Highway 7, on the
Interlachen Golf Course, various swamps, and in May 1955,
Spit Lake in Edina. That summer it was moved inside
for safekeeping. When the current high school was
built on Dakota Ave. in 1957, it was put in a locked case inside the
new school. Those pranksters were not going to steal it again.
The bell remains in the high school by the front door.
It was moved after the last remodeling to ensure a position
of prominence and safety.
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.