Long time readers will recall my long battle with Ted Storck, the guy who donated a carillon to the local cemetery two blocks from my home, and played hymns and patriotic songs every goddamned quarter-hour all day long every day to the neighborhood. I wrote multiple times about those fucking bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, until someone finally took an axe to the wires (not me! Multiple residents were annoyed by the incessant noise), and finally, Storck removed the satanic gadget and moved the curse to some town in Arizona, I think.
Storck still writes in to the local paper to complain, though. He is very bitter about how little we appreciated his gift, so when he finds a place with a carillon he has to tell us about it.
The next time you motor south of Minneapolis on I-35 about 55 miles south of the Minnesota-Iowa border, take Highway 3 east about nine miles to Hampton, Iowa.
Miles before you get there, you’ll see the Franklin County courthouse looming about nine stories above the Iowa prairie. It was constructed in the 1880s, and was refurnished a few years ago. First, note the statue of the Lady of Liberty on the very top of the cupola; then see the other four statues surrounding the cupola. Then, go inside to see what a great job the county did restoring the courthouse.
And, then stand outside and wait for the bells to chime the hour, quarter hour, and half hour, followed by a church Carillion bell system answering with a hymn.
When I recently visited my friend in Hampton, he introduced me to a county official who was asked (knowing what happened in Morris) if there were ever any complaints? The official said, “no, the town loves to hear the chiming starting at 7 a.m. and ending with the bells sounding at 10 p.m. ” He added, looking at me, “We are Iowans; why would anyone complain; we are Iowa-nice.”
Wow. So Iowa-nice throws even more shade than Minnesota-nice? I’m impressed.
I’m glad we got rid of those horrors. If we hadn’t, they’d be gone now, because one change in town is that a large apartment complex, East Point Village, was built across the street from the cemetery, even closer to the site of those damnable bells than we are right now. In case you’re wondering, here’s a map: I’m the squiddly thing at Third & College, the bells are the skull, and the new apartment complex is directly across College Avenue from Hell’s Bells former location, on the left edge of the map.
I would hope the apartment residents would appreciate our heroic efforts, but nay, our valor shall be unsung…and also not chimed every quarter hour at them.