(photo: North Bellmore Library) The Chamber of Commerce of the Bellmores, the North Bellmore Public Library and the Bellmore Memorial Library have agreed to form a new Bellmore Historical Association with the purpose of maintaining the thousands of historical documents and artifacts that exist on the two communities.
A statement released by the chamber said that “all historical materials formerly in possession of the Historical Society, along with artifacts donated by local residents, will be housed and displayed at the two libraries and at events sponsored by the chamber of commerce.”
Bellmore Memorial Library
The chamber said the three organizations will soon work together to curate and maintain the collection under the name of The Bellmore Historical Association. It added that displays will soon appear at both libraries and at chamber of commerce functions.
Bill Wood, curator at the former Bellmore Historical Society, which disbanded on December 31, 2014, when no one stepped up to take the administrative reigns, was pleased to hear the news. “The documents and artifacts are all in my garage,” he told Your NewsMag.
However, some documents and artifacts are known to be in the basement of the Rock Underground on Bedford Avenue, while others are in the Firemens Exempt Hall on Pettit Avenue.
Valerie Skelly, a lifelong Bellmore resident who wrote the book 245 Oak: A Memoir, about growing up in Bellmore, was also pleased to hear the collection would be maintained. “It’s a wonderful idea,” she said, “that the history of the Bellmores can now continue” well into the future.
She said it was especially important the collection be maintained in a library, where both residents and students can have access to important records documenting the Bellmores history in photos and in artiifacts.
Bellmore attorney Dave Weiss, a long-time member of the Historical Society, agreed it was a good move to get both the chamber and the libraries involved in maintaining the historical documents and artifacts. “These organizations will be around for a long time in the communities,” he said. He added that, now, the artifacts and documents could be cataloged to help maintain historical continuity.
He added that displays of the material would be an “absolute” benefit to both residents and students of the communities. He said “That was the biggest concern” with the demise of the historical society, wondering what would happen to the collections.
Walter Eisenhardt Jr., who recently landmarked his home, first built by Charles Frisch in the early 1900s, told Your NewsMag in an email, “This is extremely good news. To think the town once known as Smithville South, now Bellmore, with all it rich history and sites, would not have had a historical society was sad.”
He continued, “I am thrilled that this is happening A better job needs to be done of gathering and housing all material in one place, even digitizing archives is something that should indeed be on the horizon. The material and information should be presented to the public for educational and historical interests.”
“I can’t wait to see what develops,” he concluded.
Eileen Cassaza, an officer of the Bellmore Preservation Group, told Your NewsMag, “It’s very exciting to share local history with all of the Bellmores, and having a venue for people to enjoy the rescued artifacts and documents.”
One approach to the new historical association will be to choose members from each of the three organizations to comprise the legal administration – or committee – of the association. The committee would meet on a regular basis to welcome any input from several civics, and other, groups and leaders within the community on how best to display the historical documents and artifacts – as teachable moments for the community.