More chapters in the story of the Hoyleton Village Fire Bell have been found. The bell now sits at the Hoyleton Community Club after being refinished by the Hoyleton Lions Club (see page A8 of the January 28 edition of The Nashville News).
There was a blank space in the bell’s history though, and for much of that time, it was in the possession of Lawrence Arning.
Arning, now deceased, was a captain with the Centralia Police Department and attended Trinity Lutheran School in Hoyleton as a young man. His cousin and friend, Norman Arning, requested that the story of Lawrence and the bell be told.
According to Norman Arning, the bell was the first fire bell in Hoyleton.
The bell ended up at the Bethel Methodist Church, east of Hoffman.
Later Goerge White Salvage got the bell from the church. Lawrence Arning bought it from White in 1963.
After Arning had the bell for nearly two decades, Norman Arning stated that Mel Hart, an insurance salesman, sought to return the bell to Hoyleton, where he had a lot of clients.
The bell was returned to Hoyleton for the city’s 125th anniversary, held on July 10, 1983.
The Hoyleton Village Fire Bell’s story doesn’t end with the Lion’s recent restoration efforts though. The Lions, together with the Hoyleton Community Club will be hosting a public rededication ceremony for the bell on Friday, July 10, concurrently with Hoyleton Hofbraufest activities.