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Back in the mid to late 1800’s when San Jose State University was moved from its original campus in San Francisco to its current campus in San Jose, CA. The original building on campus was Tower Hall which was built in the wake of the 1906 earthquake and opened for operation in 1910. In order for the tower to be built and maintained, there needed to be a dedicated crew to create a sturdy bell tower and operate it. Some of the people who worked on the layout of the bell tower weren’t too interested in planning a century ahead.

One of the original designers of the building, who is rumored to be from Zurich, developed a plan for the Tower to have bell that is rung every hour on the hour. In order to have a bell that would be rung every hour, that would require serious labor commitments. The commitment was taken by none other that Sam Fultrich, San Jose State’s first bell ringer. Though this may be sitting in history as something significant, his bell ringing still affects us today because he is still the person who rings the bell.

Turns out, when that Swedish bell tower designer developed the plans for the tower and it’s ringer, he didn’t make a door or a clear pathway for Sam to get out. So, rumor has it that Sam is still stuck in the bell tower today, ringing it every hour on the hour because he has nothing better to do. He has been trapped in there for a century.


The questions around Sam Fultrich’s current state has placed his existence into that of folklore, but the alumnus know he is still alive and well. Occasionally, he can still be spotted at dusk preparing for the ring of 5:30pm.