Winston Jones Legacy

CB & Q Burlington locomotive bell

Winston Jones Legacy

If you haven’t already noticed, take a look in the front parking area among the pine trees,  at an impressive large brass bell on top of a 4 foot concrete pedestal.  This is no ordinary large brass bell, but comes to us steeped in history.  It is a CB & Q Burlington locomotive bell from the Winston Jones International Bell Museum collection formerly on Upper Bear Creek Road at the Jone’s manor home, “Granite Glen”, in Evergreen.  This bell was on exhibit with 9,000 other bells in the collection for almost half a century.   Winston lovingly and painstakingly assembled over a span of 80 years, what was, in all likelihood, the largest collection of bells in the world.   In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed that all the large bells in the nation should be rung simultaneously each July 4th for 5 minutes, a gesture signifying freedom, peace and unity.  So began the tradition of Winston and his volunteers ringing the large bells every July 4th, a tradition that lasted 44 years!

After his wife , Erma, died, Winston joined the Evergreen Elks Lodge in 1981 eventually becoming an Honorary Life Member.  He was an active member for 27 years until his death at age 92.  He remarked many times that the Lodge was a tremendous source of comfort and companionship for him.

Upon his death the International Bell Museum collection was  donated to Winston’s alma mater, Hastings College in Nebraska.  Per Winston’s wishes, the Hastings College Foundation donated and sent the bell to our Lodge in Winston’s memory.

Clayton Huffman decided to make it his ER Project to bring the bell out of the Lodge Dungeon where it has been stored since 2014.  Jack Jordan, and Gene Lewis joined Clayton in a great effort to get the bell moved and mounted to the present outdoor location.  Future plans are to display a placque on the bell pedestal and to install several seating benches and uplighting.    Many thanks to Clayton, Jack and Gene for capturing a part of our history in such a meaningful and attractive exhibit.  This will be the perfect spot to sit and reflect on Winston’s legacy to us, a bell that rings for “freedom, peace, and unity”.

Submitted by:  Connie Greenberg