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Time has not taken toll on Clifton Park bell

When Clifton Park Historian John Scherer heard at a Christmas party last year about an old bell that was sitting in someone's garage during, his interest was piqued. It turns out the bell was cast in 1883 and was dedicated to the Grace Church in Jonesville.

Nine months after that Christmas party, the town board approved a resolution at the Monday, Oct. 1, meeting to create a $1,000 case so the bell could be put on public display.

Created by the Clinton H. Meneely Bell Company in Troy, the bell had been owned by the Charlton Historical Society before it was donated to the town.

The 2-foot-by-2-foot, 347-pound bell had originally cost $110 to make.

It was originally presented to the Jonesville church in 1883 by the choristers of the Ballston Spa Episcopal Church and was given to them as a gift during the dedication of Grace Church in Jonesville, Scherer said.

According to a history of the bell, written by Scherer, the Rev. Leon Cartmell, who was the minister of the Burnt Hills Episcopal Church, acquired the bell when Grace Church was sold in 1968. The bell was then installed at the Mission House in Charlton, which is across from St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Maple Avenue.

The Charlton Historical Society obtained the bell after purchasing the Mission House, which was previously Schoolhouse No. 8, from Cartmell in 1982 for $800. After discovering the historic value of the bell, historical society member and former president Torben Aabo rescued it and stored it in his garage.

"The Charlton Historical Society wanted to give it some place where it would go to the public again for public display," Scherer said. "There are Meneely bells all over the world. They are famous for these bells."

Town Hall, Grooms Tavern, the new Rexford Park on Route 146, and Spirit Park on the corner of Moe Road and Clifton Park Center, were all mentioned by the town board as possible locations for the bell.

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