as community pride and cooperation built Bellwood into the
progressive community it is today, so went plans for the
village's 100th birthday party.
From the first meeting on January 16,
1978, until the actual three-day celebration, young and old
alike made it a point to gather at the planning sessions to
relive moments of the past and plan for the celebration.
Held at several week intervals at first,
the sessions included pictures, movies and slides of the
"good old days" and celebrations of the past, all of which
generated the fullscale community interest. By the time the
grand event arrived, young and old, from all walks and job
description had found their special place in a special
Just to get everyone in the area into the
spirit of things, booster trips were scheduled for the month
preceding Centennial Weekend. As many as 60 to 75 persons
gathered several times to journey to neighboring towns,
complete with float, Centennial dress, and a small combo, to
promote the town and celebration.
Official beginning of the celebration was
the re-enactment of the arrival of the first train in
Bellwood. Officials of Burlington Northern Railroad,
currently serving the community, cooperated to the fullest
in providing a special train to carry BN and Bellwood
dignitaries into town. In addition, provisions were made
enabling local citizens to have mementoes carried on the
train and marked with a special ensignia.
Residents were given an opportunity to
give thanks at special religious services following the
train's arrival and at various other times during the
weekend as both St. Peter's and the United Methodist Church
held joint and individual services. Fr. Robert Roh and
several of his parishioners put together a special Latin
Mass and the Methodists sponsored a "welcome home" catered
Fashion played an important part of
weekend activities, beginning with the style show, sponsored
by Mrs. Jaycees, at which time local residents modeled
clothing representative of the decades from the village's
founding until today, down to the more modern "old-time"
clothes worn at the costume judging the final night.
Although temperatures hovered in the 100 degree range on
Sunday, denim vests, string ties and long skirts with
ruffles were not at all uncommon - even if sandal-covered
feet were bare.
Other feet had cooler temperatures as Fr.
Roh staged a very modern running contest for everyone from
toddlers to social security-age persons. Individuals
participating had their choice of the easy-going "walking
test" to a six-mile run. Participants in the six-mile run
were led through the course by a mounted rider -- who came
into town only a little ahead of the runners.
The other major sporting events, a
of three highway signs made by Barbara Trofholz to publicize
the Bellwood Centennial celebration. The signs were not
identical, one using the centennial logo and another a
pioneer man and woman.
between "oldtimers" and Legion team and horse shoe
pitching contest also drew good crowds and many
participants. The baseball game ended in a 7-7 tie because,
as some Legion players pointed out, the old boys got help
from town team players in the final innings.
Besides food served at several club and
church booths during the weekend, long lines qued for the
evening beef and pork barbecues, as local gentry got to
prove they could cook just as well as their forefathers.
The only person even remotely familiar
with how things might have been in the old days was John
Forney, owner of the equipment used in the threshing
demonstration. Earlier, members of the local Jaycee
organization had run cutters, binders and even stacked and
pitched bundles of oats into the equipment -- also in
temperatures near the century mark. Their barren field near
the threshing machine, however, provided an ideal landing
place for a group of sky-divers who dropped in for the
Highlight of the entire Centennial event
was the Sunday afternoon parade which had attracted well
over 100 entries ranging from antique tractors and cars to
specially designed floats and the usual equestrian units. An
estimated 4,000 to 5,000 persons lined the streets of town
as the units paraded past, with, surprisingly, no stalls or
Winding up the three-day celebration was
the beard-judging contest with the fellas heading home for
the razors as their wives heaved sighs of relief.
Somehow, residents and visitors seemed to
tary a bit longer the last night as though reluctant to see
the celebration close; perhaps, because the party was so
much a success, but, maybe, just a little bit because for
just a little while everyone could go back and be a part of
an industrious, yet, simpler time and style of life.
Bellwood Centennial flag was made by Barbara Trofholz. The
body of the flag is made of red satin bordered on three
sides with white silk fringe. The center design is the
official logo or crest adopted for the centennial and is
done in the natural colors for each object. On the reverse
side of the flag is a picture of a covered wagon pulled by
oxen. This flag was flown on the town flagmast throughout
the 3-day centennial celebration. Holding the flag is
Barbara on the right and her daughter, Christie, on the