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   from the issue of August 24, 2006

From the Archives

Mueller Tower



NU graduates walk past Ralph Mueller Tower following commencement exercises in this image from the 1955 yearbook.

Mueller Tower has been a campus landmark since a Nov. 4, 1949 homecoming dedication.

The 84-foot tower is constructed of white Indiana limestone and was one of very few carillon bell towers standing throughout the country. Carillon bell towers are constructed without bells, but rather with thin rods, about the diameter of a pencil, varying in length, which generate sound after being struck with a tiny electrically operated hammer.

The tower was made possible by a donation from Ralph Mueller, a pioneer in the field of engineering and a 1898 University of Nebraska graduate. Mueller's inventions helped revolutionize the field of electronics.

A plaque on the north side of the tower says Mueller donated the tower to the university, "in grateful appreciation of the free education given him by the State of Nebraska."

Architecture student George Kuska designed the tower after a campus-wide design contest.

The design is meant to represent Nebraska's agriculture roots with its similarity in shape to a corn silo. In fact, after its dedication, university students nicknamed the tower the "singing silo."

The bell tower was at one time operated manually, but only on Saturday afternoons before Husker games, when music students would play "Dear Old Nebraska U" for fans as they made their way to cheer on the Cornhuskers.

Today, the tower is operated electronically and is currently undergoing renovation to preserve its façade.

From the Archives is a regular feature of the Scarlet. The Mueller Tower image was provided by University Archives. If you have an item for this feature, call 472-8515 or send e-mail to



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