On Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 11:00am, the Frisco Historic Park will participate in a nationwide bell tolling event, Bells of Peace: A National World War I Remembrance. This event honors and remembers those who served and sacrificed during World War I, in which The United States participated from April 6, 1917 until November 11, 1918.
The tolling of bells is a traditional way to mark someone’s passing, and on special national occasions, bells are tolled in honor of the fallen. November 11 was chosen for this bell tolling event, as it is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended hostilities in World War I. During World War I, 116,516 Americans died and over 200,000 were wounded.
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is the sponsor of this bell tolling event. The Commission was created by an act of Congress in 2013 to honor, commemorate and educate the public about American participation in World War I. In communities around the country and even on ships at sea, bells will toll at 11:00 am local time as part of the commemoration.
Frisco’s school bell tower is originally from a schoolhouse in Breckenridge and was acquired by Frisco in 1909. The bell weighs 350 pounds and was stolen in 1975 when the schoolhouse was going through renovations. Police thought the thieves used the scaffolding to steal the bell, but there were no leads until 1987 when a new Breckenridge homeowner noticed a half-buried bell in their backyard. They used it as a wood bin for a little while, until they heard about the stolen bell from Frisco. The homeowners contacted the police, and it was soon discovered that the bell they had found in their backyard had the same engravings that were noted as being on the Frisco school bell.
On Christmas Eve 1988, the bell was rung for the first time in 12 years. Now the bell only rings for special occasions like this Sunday’s Bells of Peace Remembrance.