A historic bell that once rang out to call children to school in the 1900s in western Hennepin County has been stolen and a $500 reward is being offered for its safe return.

According to the StarTribune, the bell was reported taken from the shoreline on property owned by Brad Spencer in the town of Independence sometime in late February.

Spencer saw the bell was missing when he went to burn some brush. He also noted some footprints leading to the lake. Then it would have to have been taken away by some vehicle. And then they came back for the cradle. Spencer is afraid that it will never ring over Lake Sarah again. Spencer has had the bell for about 10 years. He had it restored and estimates the value between $2,000-$3,000, but irreplaceable.

Spencer said his research indicates that the bell was made of steel, tin and other metals by the Blymyer Norton & Co. of Cincinnati in the late 1800s. A production date stamp of 1866-1890 confirms that the bell is 125-150 years old.

Anyone with information that leads to the bell’s return and any arrests is urged to call West Hennepin Public Safety at (763) 479-0500.

brad Spencer Provided Photo