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Tony Hiller, John Selzer, Gussie Wilson, Bob Bell Jr.

Robert R. Bell Jr


Tony Hiller

Vice Chairman

Gussie Wilson


John Selzer


   The Bellwood Centennial celebration was very much of a success. The crowds were larger, more former Bellwood residents, schoolmates, friends and relatives came for the happy affair than was anticipated. Even a number of people who had never been to Bellwood before came just "to see how rural America lived". A gay festival spirit was evident throughout the entire time.
   Much of the success was due to the planning and leadership of the chairman and other officers. Most of the community fell into the spirit of the event well ahead of time. Many of the committee members gave most freely of their talents, their time and their creative ideas.
   On the following pages you can relive the celebration in pictures and words.

The numerous sketches and drawings throughout this book were done by Mrs. Gary [Joyce] Navrkal.


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West Side of Main Street - 1909
East Side of Main Street - 1909

Sketch Friday, July 11 Sketch

6 - 8 P. M. .......................................... Style Show

8 P. M. ................................ High School Reunion

9 P. M. ................................................. Square Dance by Harold Squares
Sketch Saturday, July 12 Sketch

9 A. M. ........... 10,000 Meter Run and Fun Run

5 - 8 P. M. ......... Beef Barbecue, $1.50 per plate

10 A.M. - 5 P. M. .........................Threshing Bee

8:30 P. M. ...........................Old Timers Ball Game

1 - 5 P. M. ............Kiddies Fun and Water Fight

9 P. M. .........................................Free Teen Dance

Sketch Sunday, July 13 Sketch

9 A.M. - Noon ................ Methodist Centennial Service & Dinner
9 A.M . ............................Latin Mass at St. Peter's Catholic Church

2 P. M. ..................................Centennial Parade

5 P. M. ...... Pork Barbecue Sponsored by: (75¢)

4 - 8 P. M. ...................Horseshoe Tournament

Butler County Pork Producers Assoc.

$5.00 registration fee. Mail to Adolph Navrkal.

Note: Limited Quantity (first come, first served)

Jaycees Tug of War

8 P. M. .......................................Judging of Beards

Greased Pig Contest


   Flea Market, Antique Show, Play by Bellwood Community Theatre, Inter-faith Service, Carnival all three days, Sky Divers, Drawings for 10 -- $100 Savings Bonds, Auctioning of 1880 and 1980 Commemorative Centennial Plates, and performances by the "Girls Drum & Bugle Corps" of Omaha and Nebraska Czech's of Lincoln following parade.



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Our Big Party

   Just 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 celebration.
   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 dinner.
   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 baseball game


     One 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 occasion.
   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 delays.
   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.


     The 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 left.


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© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 by Ted & Carole Miller and Carolyn Wilkerson