Almost 100 years ago, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board dedicated a bell on Memorial Day from a decommissioned World War II warship to a Navy memorial. After the bell, and a later added warship wheel, were taken by a Park & Recreation Board member, the artifacts are back near Bde Maka Ska, safely tucked inside Pimento Market.

The May 22, 1930 article “Park Board Raises Mast” from the Minneapolis Tribune covered the bell’s addition to the memorial at Bde Maka Ska, then known as Lake Calhoun. The bell hung from the top of a mast raised at the Navy Memorial rock. The wheel came from the decommissioned Minnesota cruiser, used in World War I, and was added to the memorial in 1932.

The 1930 Minneapolis Tribune article. A full transcript of the article is available at the end of this article. Image courtesy of Minnesota Archived

In 1975, the wheel disappeared from the memorial. The bell disappeared in 2014. Southwest Voices picked up on the story in 2021 where The Southwest Journal left off.

“The artifacts were originally bestowed by the Navy to the American Legion, then entrusted to the Park Board for preservation," Jiahong Pan reported. "Without approval from the American Legion, a rogue [Park & Rec Board] member removed the bell and wheel citing what they felt was a lack of desire to maintain the bell’s condition.”

The artifacts ended up in Minnetonka, where the Park & Rec Board member’s brother-in-law used to coach high school football. The bell ended up being used during Minnetonka football games.

The Park & Recreation Board had just recouped the artifacts from Minnetonka High School in 2021 and were not sure of future plans at time of Pan's article.

This Memorial Day, the artifacts have a new home. To protect the artifacts from vandalism, the bell and wheel are on display inside Pimento Market at the Bde Maka Ska Pavilion. The market is open Thursday-Sunday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Hours starting in June are 9 a.m.-sunset.

The May 22, 1930 article reads: “A mast, simulating one from the now obsolete cruiser, Minneapolis, was raised into position at Navy Memorial rock on Calhoun boulevard Wednesday. At its top will swing the bell from the cruiser. Members of Navy-Marine post of the American Legion and a recruiting detail of the navy stood at attention as the mast was placed by crews of the park board and Northern States Power Co. A silver coin of the date 1893, the year the Minneapolis was commissioner, was affixed to the 80-foot mast’s bottom as a good lock token, following sea tradition. Kenneth Cole, commander of the legion post, spoke briefly. The mast will be dedicated Memorial day, and presented to the city with the bell.”