JOAN MEAD MATSUI Abington Journal Correspondent
October 8, 2013
Bart Earl had the honor of ringing a 500 pound bronze bell 12 times at noon on Saturday, Oct. 5, as part of a bell dedication ceremony in front of the Clarks Green Borough Building, 104 N. Abington Rd. The ceremony marked the kickoff of the Clarks Green Centennial.
The bell, which was forged in 1869 by the Meneely Bell Foundry, West Troy, N.Y., and originally stood in the belfry of the former Clarks Green Baptist Church, was donated to the borough by members of the Waverly Lodge # 301 in memory of Earl’s father, Barton R. Earl, who died Aug. 4, 2012. The bell replaces the borough’s sign board.
“The bell was important to Dad,” Barbara Earl, Barton’s daughter, said prior to the ceremony.
“The Masons have really given him a high honor by doing this.”
“It was dad’s desire to have the bell erected. When the Masons bought the Baptist church, Dad did the reconstruction of it and he held onto the bell for quite a few years.”
During the ceremony, Charles W. Wirth P.M., Waverly #301 Lodge, praised Earl and fellow lodge member, Clarks Green Mayor William Thorburn, who spent countless hours restoring the bell.
“It’s a pleasure to be here to represent the lodge and to dedicate this bell in memory of Brother Barton R. Earl. Barton was very instrumental in securing and remodeling this building,” said Wirth, referring to the former Clarks Green Baptist Church that is currently home to the Waverly Masonic Lodge.
“He wanted it (the bell) to be mounted on a platform such as this and put in front of the lodge building, but we never got around to doing that for various reasons…Bill Thorburn did a magnificent job cleaning this bell up. He worked hour after hour removing paint…It looks beautiful. I think it’s a wonderful idea that we can do this today in (Earl’s) his memory.”
Earlier in the morning, Clarks Green council members also went door-to-door distributing a commemorative Clarks Green Centennial calendar as a gift to residents from the centennial committee, leaf bags, a Clarks Green sticker and other centennial related information, according to Thorburn.
“This is officially our kickoff. It started today when we delivered the leaf bags,” said Thorburn. “It feels great. I was surprised at the amount of people that came out. I remember Bart, and I remember what he was like. He’s one of the reasons I actually joined the lodge.”
To stay up-to-date with Centennial news, visit clarksgreen.info.