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A Mysterious Disappearance

By Staff | Mar 8, 2011

The Victory Bell at Emmetsburg High School is Missing! Custodian Claude Thayer, on the bell’s pedestal, describes the dimensions of the bell to Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson, at left, as Dan Cooper and High School Principal Jay Jurrens, far right, take in the crime scene. The bell was discovered missing last week and a full investigation is underway to figure out what happened to the victory bell. Authorities are hopeful the bell will turn up soon. – Dan Voigt photo

The year was 1974, and Homecoming Fever was in the air for students of Emmetsburg High School. The E-Hawks won their Homecoming game on that Friday night and the school’s newly-acquired Victory Bell pealed out the victory loud and clear in the still night air.

Fast-forward to a blustery day in March, 2011. It’s a school day at Emmetsburg, and custodian Claude Thayer was making a routine check of the grounds outside the high school when he noticed something wasn’t right. A closer look sent Thayer to the High School Office and to Principal Jay Jurrens. Together, the pair ventured outside to the southeast corner of the high school to discover that the EHS Victory Bell had been taken from its brick podium. The entire bell and sub structure were gone just the brick base left, sitting forlornly.

Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson responded to the high school after being called by Jurrens to investigate the disappearance Wednesday morning. Fingerprints and other evidence were obtained by police and are being analyzed.

Word of the mystery spread quickly through the community, and soon many E-Hawk alumni were driving through the high school parking lot, stopping to look at the empty base for the Victory Bell, wondering what had happened to the piece of E-Hawk history.

School officials are saying little about the disappearance of the bell. A group of community individuals who have been engaged in a fund-raising drive to construct the “E-Hawk Plaza”, outside the school, featuring the victory bell as a centerpiece, are also at a loss with the disappearance of the bell.

As authorities are pursuing an active investigation into the disappearance, no information can be released until the bell is recovered or returned and those guilty are brought to justice.

Officials are hopeful that the bell will be recovered soon. On the condition of anonymity, one school administrator admitted, “Maybe the luck of the Irish will bring our Victory Bell back home.”