School bell on display at Freeport City Hall has long history

February 24, 2015

School bell displayed in front of Freeport City Hall has long history. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
School bell displayed in front of Freeport City Hall has long history. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

By Freeport historian Beckie Buxton

Have you ever noticed the old school bell displayed in front of Freeport’s City Hall? If you are new to the Freeport area, perhaps you have wondered whey it is so prominently displayed.

Those who attended the old Freeport School, circa 1908-1942 will recognize it as the bell that was once mounted in front of the old two-story wooden school building. The school housed grades one through ten and stood where the Freeport Middle School now stands.

After the school burned down, many former students lost track of the symbol of their youth. Fortunately, Manuel Dickey, father of Freeport school students salvaged the bell as the rubble was cleared from the area. He realized that he had a symbol of Freeport that should be kept and cared for.

Following Dickey’s death, his son and daughter-in-law, Ralph and Joyce Dickey assumed care for the bell.

When the new city hall was built, the city began displaying historical items rom the city’s past. Ralph met with Mayor Marse and asked if he and the City Council would be interested in assuming care for the bell and display it as a part of Freeport’s heritage. The answer was a resounding “yes!”

Learn more about Freeport’s history at the Heritage Center located on SR20.