New ‘old’ treasures added to museum

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Former church bell, quarrymen tools donated to Murray-Holley Historical Society

Photos by Tom Rivers – Dan Mawn, president of the Murray-Holley Historical Society, holds a century-old hammer that belonged to Italian immigrant Jack Nenni, who settled in Holley and worked in the local quarries.

The hammer and two boxes of Nenni’s tools were donated to the museum last week.

HOLLEY – A week ago a Holley resident handed Dan Mawn two heavy boxes full of old tools.

They weren’t ordinary tools. They were hammers, chisels and edges from a century ago. They belonged to Jack Nenni, an Italian immigrant who settled in Holley and worked in the local quarries. Many of the tools bear his name or initials.

Mawn, president of the Murray-Holley Historical Society, feels like the tools are like gold, tangible reminders of the trade that built Holley and drew many immigrants to the community.

The tools were sold at a garage sale for $3. Mawn praised resident Steve Gergely for buying the tools at a sale a year ago, for keeping them in the community and ultimately deciding to donate them to the historical society.

Mawn has been cleaning some of the tools. He is eager to give tours of the museum and let people, especially children, hold the hammers and chisels.

The museum has another new addition that members are excited about. The church bell from the United Methodist Church in the Public Square is now owned by the museum. The church closed when the congregation moved to Route 237 in Clarendon.

The Disciples United Methodist Church took the bell with them, but decided to give it to the museum.

This bell used to ring in the Public Square at the United Methodist Church. It was donated to the Murray-Holley Historical Society by the Disciples United Methodist Church on Route 237 in Clarendon.

“It’s a treasure,” said Marsha DeFillipps, the Murray-Holley historian. “It’s an important piece of our history.”

The bell was made by the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, and cast on Oct. 31, 1894.

Now museum members want to mount the bell outside the railroad depot on Geddes Street Extension, where the local history collection is kept. It will take donations to set up the bell securely, DeFillipps said.

To help with the project, call DeFillipps at 638-8188 or Mawn at 465-3723.