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Orphans' Home Bell


Cedar Falls
UNI Museum
31st Street and Hudson Road

The second Cedar Falls site of the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans Home was a four-story brick building that stood near what is now the intersection of 23rd and College Streets. It was built in 1869 and used until 1875, after which it became the original building of the Iowa State Normal School, now the University of Northern Iowa.

As Central Hall, the building became a campus landmark. Also well known was the bell that hung in the Central Hall's rooftop belvedere. The bell was used to announce the opening and closing of classes each day, as well as meals and class changes. Little is known about the bell except that it was cast in Cincinnati.

When electric bells were installed on campus, the old bell was placed in storage in the attic of Central Hall. It was still there when the building was destroyed by fire in 1965. The bell was found amid the ruins, badly damaged but still recognizable. The bell was stored in the UNI Campanile from 1965 to 1983. It has been restored and is on exhibit at the UNI museum.

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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