History Of Western Oregon University’s Bell

History of the bell
Bell tower at Campbell Hall
The smiling face on the bell tower was just one of many pranks by students at Western Oregon University.

Ever wonder about the history of the bell at Western Oregon University’s Werner University Center? Here are six fun facts:

  • In 1886, the bell was cast in Cincinnati, Ohio and placed in the Campbell Hall belfry.
  • The bell was rung to indicate the time of day along with being an emergency alert system, and announcing weddings, funerals, athletic victories and the end of class. 
  • In 1924, the bell was removed from the Campbell Hall bell tower to reduce student pranks. Students were known to climb the nearby flag pole on a dare and ring the bell at all hours. The last straw was when pranksters woke the town at 1 a.m. by ringing the bell.
  • On special occasions, the bell was rung yearly at the homecoming game and when Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II.
  • When the tower collapsed during the Columbus Day Storm in October of 1962, the bell was not in the belfry.
  • The bell is now at the Werner University Center.

To learn more, visit WOU Living History: Unique Sites.

The text on the image above the bell reads: “The historic old bell, shown here, hung for many years in the tower of the old administration building and was an important factor in the activities of campus. In the early days it summoned students to classes. Later it gave the signals for opening the May Day festivities or beginning the Commencement processions, and by protracted clanging it heralded athletic victories. Now it has been removed from the belfrey and is closely guarded by Theta Delta Phi.”

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