TODD — Members of the Todd Community Preservation Organization recently came together to return a piece of Todd’s history back to a place of reverence. The bell from the community’s Elkland School has now found a new home in Todd’s Cook Memorial Park.
The project was spearhead by community members Rick Weavil, Joseph Piegari and Warren Kickligher who constructed what was referred to as a small pagoda for the bell, thus returning an interesting piece of Todd’s history to public view.
“This past year we took it out of the storage room of the (Todd Mercantile) store and built the pagoda in the Cook Memorial Park in Todd where it now proudly sits,” said Piegari. “We have plans for a full restoration of the bell in the next few months. It will look like the one that sits on the Appalachian State Campus. Hopefully, it will bring much pleasure and pride to our community.”
Through the years the bell has had quite a journey. Locals note that the original school bell was sold as part of a scrap metal drive during WWII. It was not until after the war that the current bell was purchased with funds raised by local school children. The original Elkland School in Todd was built in 1920 and was demolished and replaced by a brick school building in 1956.
The bell was eventually relocated to Beaver Creek High School, and later to Ashe County High School where it ended up in a planter in the school’s hallway. Pigeri noted that upon hearing that the bell was going to be removed from Ashe County High in 2008, a few Todd residents led by Jim Lewis rescued it and put it in the Todd Mercantile Store.
Residents and visitors alike can now view a unique piece of Todd’s history at its new location in Cook Memorial Park, located at 3977 Todd Railroad Grade Road in Todd.
If anyone attended Elkland School and can provide relevant historical information regarding the bell then contact the TCPO at Toddnc.org or call Joseph Piegari at (336) 877-3622.