Bell returns to NES

ringing the bellBarbara Lawlor, Nederland.     Last Thursday, the first day of school, before classes resumed, the entire Nederland Elementary School body gathered in the parking lot to welcome an old friend to its original home.

They greeted the polished black bell with the raising of the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. Each teacher had a chance to pull on the rope setting the bell to announce its presence, piercing through all the walls of time that crumbled as the bell pealed over and over again, echoing down the valley. Old timers might have heard it, thinking it was a familiar sound, remembering another time.

Back in the day, when Nederland Elementary School students heard the school bell clanging at 8:15 a.m. they knew they had 15 minutes to scramble up the hill to be on time for their first class. It was the 1950s. Danny Glasser, a student then and a retired resident now, was one of those children who responded to the call of the sturdy old bell.

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In 1953, Danny was in third grade and his brother Dallas was in ninth grade when the old school was demolished. Small mountain towns had consolidated into the Nederland School District 67. The town was re-establishing itself and boasted hundreds of children first grade through high school. The district decided the kids deserved a new school building.

Before new walls and ceilings were constructed, the bell was stored in a safe place off the gymnasium, where it sat sequestered in the dark space until John Slovak bought it from the Nederland School District. He took the bell to the A-H Ranch north of town.

Slovak hung onto the bell for several years and then sold it the Duffel family of the Forest Lakes Ranch. At that time, Rod, one of the Glasser brothers, was dating and then married Joan Duffel. In the mid-60s, Rod was given the bell and he took care of it into the mid-80s when he gave the bell to Danny Glasser.

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Danny married Linda Replewski who also graduated from Nederland High School and the two of them had two daughters who attended Ned schools. For the next 20 years, the bell was dormant as the Glassers went on with their lives. But around 2005, the Glassers  decided they wanted the bell to be out in the public again.

Dallas Glasser contacted people who had the equipment and know-how to refurbish an old bell. He also asked them to mount the bell on a wooden frame that could be moved around.  He was instrumental in bringing the bell to its present shiny black excellence.

In the 2006 Old Timers’ Parade, the bell had a place of honor, being pulled by Leonard Cole driving his classic tractor around the parade route. After the parade, the bell was moved to the Nederland Mining Museum where it was viewed by hundreds of visitors in the past decades.
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But it was still not home, still kind of a transient in its own home town. When Boulder County purchased the mining museum two years ago, Danny retrieved the bell and decided to return it to its original home, the NES.

As 300 students, teachers and administrative staff applauded him, Danny said, “Now the bell is home. It has finally returned home. It should have been here from the beginning, but I’m sure they will take good care of it.

This isn’t going anywhere anymore, believe me.”

In one large voice, the students shouted, “Thank you, Mister Dan. You are special.”

NES principal echoed that sentiment, proudly accepting the bell as a part of the school’s history. After each teacher rang the bell, the classes were dismissed one by one to their rooms.

    brownie troopIt was a great celebration for an old bell and an amazing start to the school year.


Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.

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