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Former St. Joseph's bell donated to Chestnut Log House

| Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010

The Mt. Pleasant Historical Society has welcomed a new addition to the Chestnut Log House site on Washington Street, adding another piece of the town's past to the historical site.

An impressive antique bell now graces the lot, resting between both log houses on a concrete pad especially constructed for the new addition.

"The pad is about 6 inches thick and measures about 4-by-6," society member Jim Lozier said of the bell base, adding that volunteers created the mount.

"I'm really enthusiastic about having it here," Lozier said. "I think that it's great to have a piece of Mt. Pleasant history located here."

The bell was donated to the historical society by Phyllis Chlebowski, whose parents Philip and Antoinette Rosso Miele purchased the bell, which was housed in St. Joseph's Church in Mt Pleasant.

"My parents were very active in the church," Chlebowski said. "They purchased the bell when it became available and they also purchased other items before, such as a couple church pews."

The bell, which weighs more than 1,000 pounds, was first purchased for St. Joseph Church by parishioners John and Henrietta Hartigan. They donated the $215.26 to the church to acquire the bell.

When the church was razed in the late 1970s, the diocese offered certain items to parishioners. The tower bell found a new home in the yard of the Mieles.

"The grandkids and the great-grandkids enjoyed ringing that bell," Chlebowski said. "It was really a big deal to them."

Chlebowski added that the bell would be tolled for special events and holidays.

"They always rang the bell at midnight on New Year's Eve, and when their nephew Jerry Miele was released as a hostage, they rang and rang it."

When her parents' home was to be sold, Chlebowski knew she needed to find a new, permanent home for the bell.

"I started to think about finding some place to place it," Chlebowski said. "I wanted to find a permanent location for it and have it be there in their memory."

The historical society was pleased to give the bell a new home.

"She approached us about two and a half years ago," said Richard Snyder, historical society member and Log House committee chairman. "We are really happy that the family chose to give it to us. People who went to St. Joseph's will enjoy seeing it here, and it's just a nice part of the town's history."

A plaque will be added to the base of the bell in memory of Philip and Antoinette Rosso Miele.

"I'm really glad that it's there now," Chlebowski said.

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