After statehood was granted in 1889, Mandan's population exploded consistant with other cities in North Dakota. Both schools in town, both the "West End" school on 8th Avenue as well as the "East End" two story wood schoolhouse on Wright Avenue (now Collins Avenue) would fill to capacity.
In 1899, the Mandan Board of Education presided by C. E. Draper with members T. A. Cummins, J. H. McGillic, H. H. Harmon and H. D. Stevenson set to the voters a bill to approve construction of a $15,000 ($450,000 in 2017$) three-story brick "Central School" to house the junior and senior high students as well as provide a new, larger grade school for west part of the city.
The School District owned an entire city block just south of a natural ridge of bluffs that defined the north edge of the city.
Mandan Central School as depicted on color linen postcard c. 1911
The schools' alumni would eventually buy a bell for the Central School, ordered from a forge in Northfield, Michigan. The massive 380-pound solid bronze bell was installed in the copula in 1914.
Over the years, more buildings were added to the complex. The first addition occurred in 1911 with the addition of new high school on the west edge of the lot. A new gymnasium was added in 1919.
The bell remained in the Central School cupola bell tower until June 1966 when it was moved to a plinth on the south side of the new high school building on the southside of the block. That building would later be repurposed as the city's junior high school when the current Mandan Senior High School building was opened in 1968.
Over the bell was removed in 2016 when the complex was sold to private investors, The Commonwealth Companies of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin - the current property owners. The whereabouts of the school's bell is currently unknown.
Bell on Plinth - 2014
The MHSoc's museum and office is located at 3102 37th St; PO Box 98; Mandan, ND 58554 Contact us at email@example.com or leave message at (701) 663-5200