Bell Bell

by Tim Gilmore, 6/17/2012

August, 2010, plumbers and backhoe operators digging up a sewage line in a back yard of the 3000 block of Riverside Avenue turn up a three-foot tall, 300-pound cast-iron bell from three and half feet deep, buried beneath the remains of

The Bell bell

Photo by Jon M. Fletcher, courtesy The Florida Times Union

a 1903 brick pond, a bell built in the 1850s by the Ohio foundry of Charles Singleton Bell, a bell that once sounded over several acres of the Magnolia Plantation before 1871, at which time the plantation was sold and divided into several smaller farms and the bell was abandoned as scrap, pushed into a ditch or a hole in uneven farm ground, three decades before this house was built in early-1900s Riverside Avondale.

Laying brick in a back yard on Lavierre Street next to Willow Branch Park, workers find glass shards, nails, ceramic doll parts, glass shards, more glass shards, knowing from experience that everywhere people have lived for some time contains trash and glass and nails and broken pipe, that everywhere people have lived contains bones, that Edgar Allan Poe’s tell-tale hearts and black cats really do hide beneath floorboards and walls, and that in a place where people have lived for some time, every now and then, you find something like a 150 year-old 300-pound cast-iron bell.