History preservation group opens Bell Township museum in former restaurant
Never lacking in history, Bell Township finally has a new museum to house its more than 5,000 historical photographs as well as hometown artifacts, including a decades-old varsity letter sweater and a cheerleader uniform.
Operated by the Bell Township Historical Preservation Society, the museum is along Main Street in Salina in the cozy one-story, frame building that used to be the Bell Echo restaurant.
Binders of historical photographs, yearbooks, obituaries, interesting historical clothing and display cases line the walls and custom-made shelves — a treasure trove for a researcher or someone digging into their family genealogy.
“This is a finalization of everything people have put away that would otherwise be unknown,” said Steve Nelson of Bell, president of the preservation society. “Our ancestors' way of life is slipping away but here, we are saving it in pictures.”
This is not the first museum for Bell Township. A fire decimated the society's museum in St. James Lutheran Church in 1996.
But that was many photographs ago.
Preservation society member Carole Novosel continues rack up more images as she asks everyone in town for their historical pictures. And she hasn't stopped.
The museum opened on July 8, drawing about 10 visitors.
This was a good number for the small town, according to preservation society members.
“They can't find what we have on the Internet,” said Dolores Colledge, a charter member of the society along with husband Robert.
Here one can find a plaque honoring George Karnes, a World War I veteran who helped everybody, whether it was a ride to the doctor's office or directing traffic during important town events.
“Since he served in the first World War in France, he spoke French to all of the ladies in town,” said Novosel.
He died in 1966 of peritonitis after swallowing part of a tooth pick in a stuffed cabbage, she added.
Shortly after his death, two plaques commemorating his public service were installed in the area. Through the years, the plaques disappeared, but preservation society members were able to find one of them, which is displayed at the museum.
There are curious artifacts that promise, at the very least, a couple of good conversations that reveal the origins and life in the early years of the township, which was incorporated in 1853.
A fiddle that is at least a half-century old has special meaning to Novosel.
In the Tinstown section of Bell, where bachelor coal miners lived in shanties, roughly, from the 1920s through the 1940s, there was a popular man named John Gracious.
“He wanted beer and didn't have the money,” Novosel said.
“So he sold the fiddle for $3 to the owner of one of the area's speakeasies,” she said. “Everybody had a speakeasy then.”
That owner was Novosel's father, Nikola Novosel.
As the artifact brings back memories to Novosel, she hopes that the holdings in the museum will do the same for others who have connections to the town.
“You need to know where you've come from,” she said.
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 plead guilty to charges of luring, beating man at Harrison gas station
- Return of Verona’s Doughboy statue delayed
- New Kensington-Arnold confronts ‘frightening’ budget situation
- Generous Leechburg boy receives Christmas surprise from secret Santa
- Bed and breakfast proposed at former Liperote Mansion in South Buffalo Township
- Elks Lodge member robbed at gunpoint in New Kensington
- Fire damages home in Kiski Township
- Pearl Harbor survivor, Steve Jager, ‘kept their memory alive’
- No eagle cam for Harmar next year but 2 for Hays
- Leechburg Area ‘shakes off’ competition in music video
- Valley High School teacher’s aide charged with having sex with student