May 4, 2021 - News
Park Board says historic Navy artifacts will be returned by Sept. 1
A historic bell from the U.S. Navy
The bell from the U.S.S. Minneapolis is heading back to its namesake city. Photo: Hennepin County Library

The Minneapolis Park Board says a pair of U.S. Navy artifacts will be returned to their rightful home after a contentious battle with Minnetonka Public School officials.

Context: The Park Board and Minnetonka Public Schools have been fighting over a bell and wheel from the battleship U.S.S. Minneapolis for a year.

  • The Minneapolis American Legion Post received the bell and wheel 100 years ago from the Navy and originally gave them to the Park Board. But a past commander said a couple rogue members took them from a memorial on Bde Maka Ska and gave them to Minnetonka High School.
  • A couple Southwest Journal reporters discovered them in the school a year ago, and found that athletes rung the bell to mark certain accomplishments.

The intrigue: The Park Board had demanded the return of the artifacts, saying they were stolen property and one commissioner even raised the idea of sending Park Police to go get them.

  • Minnetonka Superintendent Dennis Peterson fired back, saying "Minneapolis treated [the bell] very badly when they had it. And you know, we've really honored and revered it as part of our student life," according to the Star Tribune.

Yes, but: The Park Board, in an agreement with the American Legion that is up for a vote on Wednesday, is promising to take good care of the two artifacts when they are returned to the north end of the lake.

  • The Park Board must "properly maintain, display and protect these important artifacts," the resolution says.
  • The Legion can inspect them and if they're not being protected the two sides could eventually go to an arbitrator.

What's next: The Park Board says the bell and wheel will be returned by Sept. 1.

  • Minnetonka Public Schools could not be reached for comment.
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