State College

Old school bell still on hand in College Heights

The bell from the old College Heights school in State College has been removed.
The bell from the old College Heights school in State College has been removed.

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls.

Ask where the bell is.

In College Heights, it’s at the gas station.

The bell in question is the one that once hung at the College Heights Elementary School.

In 2014, State College Area School District announced plans to sell the building, no longer used as a school but serving as a home for the district’s printing operations, to Penn State, where it would house offices for University Press.

That prompted months of court battles as the heirs of Adam and Rebecca Krumrine, the couple that donated the land in question 80 years before, sued the district for the return of the property. They claimed the terms of the original deed required it to be used as a school.

Centre County court was OK with the transfer and the sale of the building went through as planned.

Penn State then got a letter.

“We didn’t know the bell existed until we were contacted by the College Heights Neighborhood Association,” said spokeswoman Lisa Powers.

The residents of the area remembered the bell and thought it would be nice to still have a piece of the original school. They talked to Gary Green, owner of the College Heights Exxon station, a quaint, old-fashioned-looking gas station that serves the community.

“The Exxon station is a neighborhood focal point and given its proximity to the former schoolhouse, would make an excellent home for the bell,” wrote Michael Talone.

So now Penn State had to find out — is there still a bell to turn over?

“We called around asking about a bell in the cupola and finally spoke with a retired maintenance person at the school district, who told us there was indeed a bell,” Powers said. “The bell came with the property purchase.”

The university tried to make everybody happy.

“We felt it was important to try to honor the request for the bell. It is on loan to the (association),” Powers said, calling Green “thrilled” to be able to display it. “He is a history buff himself.”

But not everyone is happy.

Ed Homan, one of the heirs who sued in 2014, is not pleased. He thinks the bell should have been given to a local museum or Schlow Centre Region Library as a piece of area history.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce