Published: June 1, 2009

old main bell

The Old Main bell joined a cacophony of bells tolling 150 times on Feb. 10, 2009, in celebration of  Boulder’s sesquicentennial anniversary.

For decades the Old Main bell rang between class periods and for home football victories. After a wild night of celebratory ringing following a win over the Colorado School of Mines in 1926, the bell cracked. As a result it was moved to the men’s gymnasium. In 1948, brawny Mines students stole the 1,000-pound bell. Its whereabouts remained a mystery for two years until Mines staff unearthed the bell with a giant “M” carved into its side.

After sitting in Macky Auditorium (see photo), it found a permanent home in the newly opened CU Heritage Center in 1985.

To learn more about CU’s history, visit the Heritage Center on the third floor of Old Main or go to