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Sprague Bell Back Where It Belongs

A gift to the town from Isaac Sprague, the bell is back at the school after years spent in the basement at Fiske.

The old, 300-pound bell sat in the basement for years, probably since the renovation of from the town’s recreation center back to an elementary school was started back in 2000.

And it could have stayed there unnoticed, along with a stash of other school artifacts if not for School Committee Suzy Littlefield who went looking for anything being stored there from the old high school.

With the new school nearing completion in February, Littlefield was making sure there wasn’t anything there that should be moved back into the new building.

That’s when she came across the bell, the original from the clock and bell tower at Sprague.

“I let (Sprague Principal) Steve Goodwin know about it, and over April vacation he borrowed his wife’s car and went and brought it back to Sprague,” Littlefield said at last week’s School Committee meeting.

It was nice to see someone had acted so quickly on her suggestion, she added.

In fact Goodwin had gone to scout out the bell earlier, but found he couldn't fit in his car.

So with his wife’s station wagon and two teaching assistants from Sprague, Neil Donohue and Jared Lanyon, he got the bell back to Sprague, where it is sitting in his office for now.

Goodwin is quick to point out that he had a lot of help. On the Fiske end Peter Warfield added some muscle, and back at Sprague, Custodian Scott Grady helped hoist it onto a gurney to get it into the building.

“We probably could have muscled it, but we might have lost a few fingers,” Goodwin joked.

The bell is from the original section of Sprague first opened as a elementary school in 1924.

According to an article which appeared in the Sept. 25, 1925 edition of the Wellesley Townsman, the bell and clock for the tower were a gift from Isaac Sprague, for whom the school was named.

“The opening day of school found the installation complete, and a sweet toned bell striking the hours,” the article stated.

It went on to say that residents should take the time to go and see the “somewhat unusual” architecture of the new school which “illustrates the modern plan of making the school building and its surroundings attractive to the children, rather than repellent and forbidding as were many that their fathers and mothers attended.”

Whether or not the bell will find its way back up into the tower is still a question.

Another option may be to make it the centerpiece of the new community garden being built beside the school by Sprague parents.

In any case, it’s back where it belongs.

“We love a challenge,” Goodwin said. “And so we wanted to get it back to its home.”

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