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Eatontown Historical Committee Looks To Preserve Piece of Borough History

EATONTOWN: A piece of the borough's history will be on display for the public in the coming months.

The Eatontown Historical Committee is looking to display the bell that was once located in the steeple of the Fred G. Steelman School inside the Eatontown Historical Museum.

The Steelman School, known as Eatontown Public School No. 1 when it opened in 1907, was sold by the Eatontown Board of Education in 2007. The bell was removed from the steeple and donated to the museum by the BOE, Eatontown Historical Committee member Linda Risden told the Eatontown Council on Sept. 24.

"We're asking for the council's permission and support to display the bell on the museum's grounds," Risden said.

Risden said committee's goal is to provide a permanent home for the bell, make it more accessible to the community, make it a reminder of Eatontown's educational history and free up space in the museum for additional exhibits.

The committee would solicit donations to help pay for the costs associated with displaying the bell in the museum. Exactly where and how the bell will be displayed is not yet set in stone, nor is the cost of the project, Risden said.

Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo and the rest of the council gave the project their blessing.

Tarantolo said he was invited to a ceremony at the school when it closed in 1976.

"I was present when they sounded the bell for the last time, I remember that day very uniquely and distinctly and I think this is a great idea," Tarantolo said. "I think it's a significant part of Eatontown's history."

The Steelman School is the oldest building in the borough but it has been empty since the Eatontown BOE moved its administrative offices to Memorial School.

Borough Administrator George Jackson said the building has not yet been sold and its future is unclear.

"There's been talk but nothing concrete," Jackson said.

At one point the building had a price tag of $1.5 million to be sold in its current condition.


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