first public school district in Black Hawk County was formed
in Cedar Falls in 1853. The school board consisted of S.
A. Bishop, J. M. Overman and E. D. Adams. The 41 residents
of the newly incorporated town subscribed to the building
of a school, which was erected on this site next to "Cattail
The 16 x 20-foot
schoolhouse was a wooden frame structure with a belfry.
In the belfry was a bell purchased in 1854 with the proceeds
of a dinner given by the ladies of the community. The Meneeley
Foundry Company of New York, the same foundry that produced
the original bells for the UNI Campanile carillon, cast
schoolhouse served until 1863, when two brick school buildings
replaced it. The name of one of those buildings lives on
in Lincoln Elementary School.
school tax without grumbling," said Peter Melendy's
1893 Historical Record of Cedar Falls. "It is the cheapest
premium of insurance on your property; you are educating
those who make laws for yourself and your children, those
who are to elect your county, state and national officers,
your judges and juries. Build more schoolhouses! they will
spare you the building of more prisons and jails."
school bell was used at the old Jefferson School and at
the original Humbert School until 1960. When the new Humbert
School was built, the bell was kept there for a time. It
has since been donated to the Cedar Falls Historical Society
Museum, where it is now on exhibit.