Dale G. Niewoehner, Niewoehner Funeral Home in Rugby, has changed the skyline of Rugby with the construction of a 30 foot tower containing 15 bells at his funeral home.
The largest bells, of which there are two, are 40 inches in diameter and weigh about 1,300 pounds each. There is a 36 inch bell, two 34 inch bells, a 30 inch bell, a 26 inch, and a 24 inch bell. The balance of the bells are in the 16-22 inch range. There are about 4 tons of bells in the four ton steel tower.
The bells have been purchased at auction sales, from private parties, antique shops, and from churches. At this time, the bells are rung with a simple cable on each bell.
Came from the Brinsmade Presbyterian church built in 1905, later to become the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. Cast by the C.S. Bell Company in Hillsboro, Ohio. Weighs approximately 1,300 pounds and is 40 inches in diameter. Purchased from an individual in the Leeds, North Dakota area. Features a tolling hammer on the side.
Second from top:
Came from Pleasant Lake Methodist Church, built in 1902. Pleasant Lake was a small town 12 miles east of Rugby. It weighs approximately 1,300 pounds and is 40 inches in diameter. The church was closed in 1988. Purchased from the church.
Third from top:
The Rugby Fire Department Fire Alarm Bell. Used by the City of Rugby by at least 1908 to summon firemen. Weighs nearly 950 pounds and is 36 inches in diameter. Purchased from the City of Rugby since it was stored since about 1964. A date inscribed inside the bell of January 19, 1901 is visible.
Fourth from top:
Came from Layton Consolidated School near Upham, North Dakota in McHenry County. It was built in 1910 and was purchased by Niewoehner in 1958 when the school closed and adorned the yard at the Niewoehner farm until it was placed in the tower. It weighs about 765 pounds and is 34 inches in diameter.
Fifth from top:
Came from the Alfred Congregational Church at Alfred, North Dakota which was built in 1904. It
is a 34 inch bell and weighs about 750 pounds. Purchased from an individual.
Sixth from top (at left):
Attributed to the old Rugby school which was built in 1900. It is a 26 inch bell and weighs about 350 pounds. Purchased from the Catharine Hornstein Estate.
Sixth from top (at right):
Came from the original school building at Sawyer, North Dakota which was built in 1900. From 1910 until the school closed in 1955 it was used on the Newman Township School near Sawyer in Ward County. It is a 24 inch bell and weighs about 250 pounds.
Sixth from top:
An additional bell is mounted behind these two bells. It came from the Cranberry Valley School at Fillmore, North Dakota in Benson County. The school was built in 1913. It is a 30 inch bell cast by the American Bell & Foundry Northville, Michigan and weighs about 570 pounds. Purchased from an individual.
Six bells stationed at the bottom level:
Weigh around 200 pounds or less each and are 16 to 22 inches in diameter. One of the bells is from the All Saints Anglican Church in Coronach, Saskatchewan. The Church was built in 1929 and the bell was removed from the building in 1983. It is 20 inches in diameter and was also cast by American Bell & Foundry.
Another 20 inch bell came from the Blanchard School at Blanchard, North Dakota. It was founded by the C.S. Bell Company in Hillsboro, Ohio.
The origin of the remaining 4 bells is unknown. They were purchased at antique shops.
Solid Brass Bell from Great Northern Steam Locomotive Number 3375. The Locomotive was a 2-8-2 Mikado Type freight engine that served North Dakota and Minnesota. Rebuilt in 1946 and retired in 1958. Purchased from the Great Northern Railroad Company in 1959 for $50.00.
The Tower was dedicated on October 17, 1999 in memory of Mr. Niewoehner's father, Henry A. Niewoehner. Keynote speaker at the dedication was United States Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND).
For further information call: 701-776-6222