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Old School Bell Reunited With Charleston

An old Charleston School bell which created lasting memories to a number of Charleston students throughout the years is now back at home in Charleston at the Belle Museum.

Whether by good luck or Divine Intervention it was an interesting story how the bell found its way back home.

The bell was originally housed in the second story of the two story Charleston elementary/high school building that was built in 1909, which was located where the Charleston Middle School is now located. An auditorium was added to the building in 1923. A new elementary school was built in 1961 and the high school building was renovated with the second story removed and was then known then as the Fine Arts Building.

In 1977 the Dale Bumpers Fine Arts Building was built and the Doll Means Auditorium and classrooms replaced the Fine Arts building. This became known as the Annex. New classrooms were added to the Annex in 1992. Old Main was torn down and the Annex was added to create the Charleston Middle School, which opened in August of 2010.

Sometime after the removal of the second story in 1961, the bell was acquired by an individual and at some point moved to Bella Vista.

David Ervin, a 1972 graduate of Charleston, who now lives in Fayetteville, was working on an appraisal for a house in Bella Vista when he noticed a bell in the yard. He commented to the owner about having a “Dinner Bell” and the owner said that they had acquired the bell when they bought the house. “It came from Charleston High School,” the owner said, as he told David what he had been told from the previous owner.

After David told the owner he had graduated from Charleston High School, the new owner asked David if he would like the bell. I’m sure my parents (Delbert and Mary Belle Ervin) would love to have it at their museum, he said. A short time later Delbert was on his way to Bella Vista to pick it up and bring it back home.

The bell was put up in front of the museum this week where it can again bring music and memories.

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