IN HOWARD COUNTY
This photo and
information was submitted by Teri Bell Hopper. Thank
My Grandfather was George
Lawrence Bell. His wife, Effie Lou Ellen Leveretts.
After George Lawrence Bell moved his family to Big Spring
with the railroad, he met up with William Derling.
He and William went into several business ventures together.
One of the ventures was the opening of the first mercantile
store in Big Spring. It was located on North Second
Street. As seen in the photo, George is the man
behind the gate on the right
"The Name of the store
was "The Emporium". General stock included
some grocery items, fresh vegetables, dairy product,
household items, tack, building materials and tools,
sewing items for the ladies including the best material
money could buy, furniture and upon occasion, fresh
meat. They also stocked feed for animals and hay
and seed. They sold general mercantile at first,
adding the sale of water soon after. They delivered
water to homes and business' with large water wagons.
Beer and ice was soon added to the inventory at the
store and it was the first store in the county to sell
these items. Ice cream soon followed as another
one of the adventures for George and William was to
open an ice house behind the mercantile store.
Later, they would open a Gin and Power Plant.
First ice makers seem to
have been importers of ice. The first ice makers
in Big Spring were William and George.
They also installed
electrical power generator. This led to the courts
granting William a franchise to prospect for water anywhere
in the Coahoma area and to have use of roads for pipeline
right of ways. While on this project he and George
built the first gin in Coahoma. Part of the gin
project in Big Spring was diverted to the establishment
of the power plant. George and William erected
the first arc light on the courthouse square.
When the arc lights were erected on the square of the
courthouse one of them was put up for free. The
other light was erected for $15.00 a month. This
eventually led to the beginning of The Big Spring Power
and Light Company. George also helped others in
Big Spring erect The Big Spring Opera House Company.
Programs at the Opera House included concerts, lyceum
groups, road companies, lectures, theatrical productions
and all other sorts of entertainment, including dances.
The facility became the community center, and various
lodges and unions booked it for special parties as well
as for home talent and minstrel shows." (Taken
from the book Gettin Started by Joe
They made their residence
at the City Park, then called The Water Works, now named
The Comanche Trail Park. George was the
first official caretaker of the park. He was instrumental
in digging the first water well at the park, which is
still used frequently by the residents of Big Spring.
George also helped build
the first sub-station in Colorado City, Texas and worked
for a time as a lineman for the telephone company.
He helped erect the telephone poles in Big Spring and
on the road to Colorado City. Ettie worked for the telephone
switch board in her home. Her telephone number
was number 1. to Big Spring with the Railroad.
Bell also owned one of the first Model N Fords in Howard
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This page was last updated on -01/01/2013