Tucked away in a corner garden at San Jose State University lies an old metal bell. This metal bell looks nondescript at first sight, but is rife with historical significance. This bell is actually the original Liberty Bell. In 1863 the founder of San Jose State, Jose Boccardo was desperate to attract students to his developing school. For years student attendance was declining, and Boccardo knew he needed a “wow” factor. At the 15th annual Education Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Boccardo found the item that would restore SJSU’s popularity. At the top of the convention location, was the original Liberty Bell. Boccardo knew that an item with this much historic value would bring flocks of students, but would not be an easy task.
On September 23rd, 1863, Boccardo and a few colleagues set his plan into motion. That night, they climbed to the top of the building and began the painstaking process of removing the 600 pound bell. After three hours of work, the men were able to dislodge the bell from its structure. The hardest part of the whole operation was going to be the transportation. Boccardo decided to patch the trademark crack in the Liberty Bell, in order to disguise it during transport.
After three months of traveling by wagon, the Liberty Bell arrived at its new home in San Jose. Boccardo had an ornate ceremony planned to welcome the bell. Word began to spread around the area, and people soon arrived in masses to see the bell for themselves. In order to avoid the embarrassment, Philadelphia commissioned a replacement bell, and tried to keep the theft a secret. To this day, only a select few know the true story of the Liberty Bell.