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Western-Leander Clark College’s bell could go to Tama County Museum

Human Services Agrees to Historic Bell Donation

March 16, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Charles Palmer, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, wrote in a March 3 letter, the Western-Leander Clark bell on the grounds of the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls, may stay in Toledo.

In the letter addressed to Anne Michael, chair of the Tama County Historic Preservation Commission, Palmer wrote Human Services "is willing to donate the bell to the (Tama County Historical Society) museum when the final outcome of the juvenile home is determined if appropriate at that time."

He added Michael would be contacted "to discuss in detail at that time."

Article Photos

Rededication of the Leander Clark College bell in 1958 with a group of Western and Leander Clark College graduates present. The bell was given to the State of Iowa at that time.

The Tama County Historical Preservation Commission has actively sought to assure the bell remains here.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Palmer ordered the juvenile home / training school closed on Jan. 15, 2014. The 27-acre campus has remained unused since.

The bell hung in "Old Main" on the college and later on the Juvenile Home campus until the building was razed in 1950.

It has been on display on the west side of the IJH campus administration and school building since 1958 when it was rededicated in a ceremony attended by a gathering a Western and Leander Clark College graduates. The bell was then given to the State of Iowa.

Western College was moved to Toledo from Shueyville, Iowa, in 1881 according to the Toledo Sesquicentennial History Book. It reports as Western was undergoing financial difficulties, Toledo resident Leander Clark pledged $50,000 in a campaign to keep the college afloat if his donation was matched by another $100,000 from donors.

The goal was reached in 1906 and Western College was renamed Leander Clark in his honor.

The college merged with Coe College in Cedar Rapids and closed here in 1918.

The Juvenile home was established on the campus in 1920.



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