The story started out simple enough: to track down the history of the large metal bell that serves to announce every touchdown at Neah-Kah-Nie High’s home football games. However unbeknownst to everyone was exactly how unknown the actual history of the bell really was.
By Brian Cameron
“I have no idea where it came from,” said NKN high school principal Dr. Heidi Buckmaster. “We want to refurbish it and return it to its traditional place on our field to be rung when we score a touchdown or for other momentous occasions.”
Naturally the first place to look was with the Neah-Kah-Nie school district itself, but the current powers that be were unable to track it as far back as when it first arrived at the school.
After jack hammering the bell out of its former spot near to the grandstands the bell was moved so the renovation to Abrahamson Field could take place. Now that the field is finished school officials are looking to get it refurbished, and in the process learn the lengthy, albeit dubious, history.
In light of no one readily knowing the bell’s history the issue was then taken to the whims of social media on the Old Tillamook Times Facebook page. A few folks suggested trying to get a hold of Buddy Abrahamson, the son of Neil Abrahamson for whom the field is named after. However as it turns out he too wasn’t sure exactly where the mysterious bell originated.
Someone suggested the bell might have actually been acquired by the Bay City United Methodist Church however when asked they said they had never heard of the bell coming from there.
Just when nearly all hope had been lost to ascertain the history of the bell and where exactly it came from an email came out of the blue. Responding to the Facebook post Cathie Phillips, former Rockaway Beach resident, suggested that the bell might have actually been salvaged from the old Rockaway Beach Grade School, which was demolished as part of the process to join the schools together before the current Neah-Kah-Nie school district formed. The old school was torn down around the mid 1960’s and since the bell has found a home at Neah-Kah-Nie High School.
“I had attended Rockaway Grade School and felt an extra affinity for the bell because, as I recall but can’t prove, it had come from the old school,” said Phillips. “And I remember hearing they had to rescue the bell when the building was torn down.”
So for now the mystery behind the Neah-Kah-Nie football bell and its unknown history has been solved through a various web of anecdote, memories and a more modern fling of Facebook style social media.