For nearly 50 years, a large wooden cross stood on a hill overlooking the Dana College campus.
“It was a special landmark,” said Bob Coffey, president of the Dana College Foundation.
The cross, which was made from telephone poles, was placed on the hill just west of Rasmussen Hall near the fence line along Black Elk-Neihardt Park in 1969 by the freshman class. It replaced another cross that had stood in the same place.
But on Monday, Coffey, who had climbed the hill to take some photos, discovered the cross had fallen.
“I looked and it was on the ground,” he said.
It's unclear when the cross may have fallen.
Coffey took a photo of a cloud formation with the cross standing in the foreground two years ago.
“I know that it was there last year so it probably happened during the winter time,” he said.
Coffey suspects some strong winds may have taken it down. The cross was snapped off at the base. There was also evidence of termites.
“It's a real shame. It had been there for a long time,” Coffey said.
There are plans to replace the cross. Coffey spoke with campus owner Ed Shada, who is talking to a designer to create a new cross that can withstand the elements.
“And probably bigger and more prominent so it can be seen from the valley down below,” Coffey said. “People can look up and say 'I'm being watched over.'”
Dana alumni have already stepped forward to offer donations.
Coffey said he is hopeful the foundation will take the lead on the project.
Those wanting to donate to the project can send checks to the Dana College Foundation, P.O. Box 392, Blair, NE 68008. Donors should specify the funds for the “Dana Cross Project.”