A nearly 500-pound bell has been returned to Colorado State University after being stolen a century ago. And it's got quite the tale to tell. "The story of the bell really blew our minds," the president of Associated Students of CSU tells the Denver Post. The university got the bell in 1910—it was built in 1894—and installed it in Old Main, the oldest building on campus. Students would ring the bell for the start of classes and after football victories. The bell's clapper was stolen—possibly by neighbors tired of students clanging it throughout the night—and resourceful students resorted to ringing it by sledgehammer, the Coloradoan reports. The bell itself was stolen by an unknown group of students in 1919 and buried at a nearby farm.
By the 1970s—the Rocky Mountain Collegian reports—Old Main had burned down during student protests, the bell had been dug up and relocated to an unknown fraternity, and most people had forgotten it even existed. At some point the bell was mysteriously moved out of Colorado. Last year, the executive director of the CSU alumni association received a call from a lawyer asking if the university would be interested in getting the bell back. She said yes, and the bell materialized outside her house while she was taking her kids to basketball practice. Whoever had the bell apparently thought the opening of a new CSU football stadium was the right time to return it. The restored bell will be installed at the university's new alumni center and ring once again next year. (Under a Monticello restroom, a hidden piece of history.)