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THE BELLVILLE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

 

Meetings: 3rd Sunday of each month
Time: 5:00 PM
Place: Concordia Hall, 953 S. Tesch Street, Bellville, Texas
Dues: $15.00 a year or $200.00 life membership for one person
Mailing address: P. O. Box 67, Bellville, Texas 77418
Email address: Bellville Historical Society

Webpage: http://www.bellvillehistoricalsociety.com/

Genealogy group meets each third Thursday at 7:00 PM at 15 N. Masonic. Resource center open by appointment.
Chairman: Joy Neely

Newsletter mailed each month

History of society: The need for a local historical society was recognized by a group of 17 people in 1977 who met on December 11 at the home of Jim and Joe Bishop. By Feb. 12, 1978 the group had grown to 35 people and by-laws were adopted and officers elected.

The first project of the Society was a monument using the bell and the cornerstone from the 1887 Victorian Courthouse which was lost to fire in 1960. This monument now sits on the east Courthouse lawn using a platform of bricks recovered from the old courthouse. Next came the painting of the Springfield Building on the south side of the square and the refurbishing of the Cumings Crypt and grounds. A Texas Historical marker was obtained for the Cumings Crypt. These projects used only volunteer labor and challenged both the physical endurance and the fund-raising capability of the members.

In October of1980, the Society organized and sponsored the first Bellville Antiques Festival at the Bellville City Park. This annual event, each one larger than the previous year, has created a focus for the members, both old and new, and has provided the financial resources for a wide range of projects and programs.

In 1983, the old Masonic Lodge building was acquired. The membership rose to the challenge and supported the complex negotiations for the purchase and the physical restoration of the building. The program required approximately ten years from beginning to end. This property is now the home base for the Society.

While the acquisition and restoration of the old Lodge Building was the major project for about ten years, other activities were undertaken. Some of them were:

Hosting the reunion of the International Bell Clan

Organizing and presenting the local works of the noted architect, Alfred C. Finn

Initiating historic home tours

Placing markers on 13 buildings around the Square

Undertaking a program to rehabilitate local cemeteries and the burial areas of pioneer families

Contributing to the restoration of the Statue of Liberty

Participating in a myriad of community events such as the Country Liviní Festival, the Sesquicentennial Celebration for both the State of Texas and Austin County

By 1995, the Society was once again looking outward for preservation programs of consequence. Talented people continued to join the Society and one of the newer members recognized the need to bring the full resources of the City of Bellville and the Bellville Historical Society to bear on restoring and upgrading the Pavilion at City Park. This sparked a program with extraordinary participation by a host of City and Society people which resulted in the restoration and the enhancement of this unique community asset.

The celebration of the 100th birthday for the 1897 Turnverein Pavilion was held in November 1997. More than one thousand citizens attended this all day event. The city and the Historical Society once again joined forces to celebrate the 150th birthday of the City of Bellville in July 1998.

Recognition as an historical cemetery was obtained for the Alexander Glenn Family Graveyard in 2001. A mini-park around the Cumings crypt was completed in the year 2001.

The society has grown to over 200 members in 27 years.


Goals: Historic Preservation and Historic Education Programs

 

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