Nebraska man has an appealing collection | TheFencePost.com

Nebraska man has an appealing collection

Barbara Ann Dush
Fullerton, Neb.

Hollyhocks grace three of Emil Dubas's bells in his collection. The 40-inch bell (at left) from the Loup City Methodist Church is the largest. In the middle is the bell from the North Star Church and at the far end is the bell from the North Star School. Behind the school bell is another ringer from the 20-plus collection.

Emil Dubas’s bell collection started with one he bought 45 years ago at a sale. “From there it sort of grows on you,” he grinned.

To date, he has collected 20-plus bells that are on display in the yard of his farm home where Emil and his wife, Kathy, live west of Fullerton, Neb., in the North Star community.

“I bought the first one from a school house south of Fullerton. It only cost $40, had a lot of them then,” Emil recalled. “They’re higher than that now. I’ve got every size from 18-inches to 40-inches. I lack one, that’s a 38-inch.”

The bells are secured on individual stationary supports, an idea he gained from two bells he bought at a sale in Hastings fastened in that manner.

Many of the bells have dates on them. One dates back to 1890 and some are from the early 1900s.

Most are from schools and churches and were bought at sales. The farthest bell purchased in Nebraska is from Loup City, and is the largest in his collection – 40-inches. It once hung in the bell tower of the Loup City Methodist Church.

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Then there are Emil’s most highly prized bells: the 36-inch bell from the North Star Church and the 34-inch bell from the North Star School.

“When they sold the North Star schoolhouse, I watched Uncle Walter (Dubas) buy it for $40. I didn’t want to bid against him. Then when they had his sale, one of his granddaughters from Omaha wanted it. I had to give $700.”

Emil never attended the North Star School, which was located about a half-mile east from where he currently lives, but “the North Star School is where I took my 8th grade exam,” he recalled. “A lot of guys wanted that school bell, but I wouldn’t part with it.

“The bell from the North Star Church went for the same thing. When some people moved into the church I told them if they ever want to sell that bell I want it. It took a year or two, but one day he wanted the money so I got it before he changed his mind. I wanted that baby pretty bad,” he laughed. “I don’t know how they ever got it up in the bell tower back then, as heavy as it is.”

The bell in Emil’s collection that traveled the farthest to its North Star home is a smaller one purchased at an antique shop below the Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota. “I wasn’t going to buy it but Kathy wanted it,” Emil said. “She didn’t used to care for antiques but anymore she’s about as bad as I am.

“There just hardly aren’t any bells left at a sale to buy,” he added. “There’s a friend of mine from Neligh who has over 100 bells. If there’s a bell for sale he’s there, but they’re hard to find and high priced.”

Emil’s thirst for antique collecting doesn’t stop with bells. His machine shed also houses a large tractor collection, including a W-4 McCormick, a Farmall H and John Deeres. If you ask him just how many he has, you’ll likely get an “I don’t know” for an answer because it’s hard to keep count.

He also has an eye for signs – tall signs – two of which he has displayed with an old Farmall F20 near his driveway.

“I had my eye on the Phillips 66 one for quite a while. It was in Grand Island at an antique dealer. He wanted $1,200, but I got it at his sale for $400. As for the Co-op sign, Louie (Dubas) used to work in the station (in Fullerton) and he gave that to me. I have two of them, they’re pretty different.

“I bought the old tractor 30 years ago at Hank Santin’s sale. It did run at the time, but I parked it in the trees for about 15 years and the manifold rusted out and the motor stuck.” Emil also has an old threshing machine displayed along Highway 22 on the west side of his place.

Of the many items in Emil’s varied collections, the bells still remain a favorite. “The grandkids get them going once in a while,” he said of their loud gongs and chimes.

He’s also adamant about two of the bells – the North Star School bell and the North Star Church bell – never leaving the North Star community.

‘”Someday I want (grandson) Clint to have these two because he’s got the North Star blacksmith shop, so these two will never sell,” he assured.

Emil Dubas’s bell collection started with one he bought 45 years ago at a sale. “From there it sort of grows on you,” he grinned.

To date, he has collected 20-plus bells that are on display in the yard of his farm home where Emil and his wife, Kathy, live west of Fullerton, Neb., in the North Star community.

“I bought the first one from a school house south of Fullerton. It only cost $40, had a lot of them then,” Emil recalled. “They’re higher than that now. I’ve got every size from 18-inches to 40-inches. I lack one, that’s a 38-inch.”

The bells are secured on individual stationary supports, an idea he gained from two bells he bought at a sale in Hastings fastened in that manner.

Many of the bells have dates on them. One dates back to 1890 and some are from the early 1900s.

Most are from schools and churches and were bought at sales. The farthest bell purchased in Nebraska is from Loup City, and is the largest in his collection – 40-inches. It once hung in the bell tower of the Loup City Methodist Church.

Then there are Emil’s most highly prized bells: the 36-inch bell from the North Star Church and the 34-inch bell from the North Star School.

“When they sold the North Star schoolhouse, I watched Uncle Walter (Dubas) buy it for $40. I didn’t want to bid against him. Then when they had his sale, one of his granddaughters from Omaha wanted it. I had to give $700.”

Emil never attended the North Star School, which was located about a half-mile east from where he currently lives, but “the North Star School is where I took my 8th grade exam,” he recalled. “A lot of guys wanted that school bell, but I wouldn’t part with it.

“The bell from the North Star Church went for the same thing. When some people moved into the church I told them if they ever want to sell that bell I want it. It took a year or two, but one day he wanted the money so I got it before he changed his mind. I wanted that baby pretty bad,” he laughed. “I don’t know how they ever got it up in the bell tower back then, as heavy as it is.”

The bell in Emil’s collection that traveled the farthest to its North Star home is a smaller one purchased at an antique shop below the Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota. “I wasn’t going to buy it but Kathy wanted it,” Emil said. “She didn’t used to care for antiques but anymore she’s about as bad as I am.

“There just hardly aren’t any bells left at a sale to buy,” he added. “There’s a friend of mine from Neligh who has over 100 bells. If there’s a bell for sale he’s there, but they’re hard to find and high priced.”

Emil’s thirst for antique collecting doesn’t stop with bells. His machine shed also houses a large tractor collection, including a W-4 McCormick, a Farmall H and John Deeres. If you ask him just how many he has, you’ll likely get an “I don’t know” for an answer because it’s hard to keep count.

He also has an eye for signs – tall signs – two of which he has displayed with an old Farmall F20 near his driveway.

“I had my eye on the Phillips 66 one for quite a while. It was in Grand Island at an antique dealer. He wanted $1,200, but I got it at his sale for $400. As for the Co-op sign, Louie (Dubas) used to work in the station (in Fullerton) and he gave that to me. I have two of them, they’re pretty different.

“I bought the old tractor 30 years ago at Hank Santin’s sale. It did run at the time, but I parked it in the trees for about 15 years and the manifold rusted out and the motor stuck.” Emil also has an old threshing machine displayed along Highway 22 on the west side of his place.

Of the many items in Emil’s varied collections, the bells still remain a favorite. “The grandkids get them going once in a while,” he said of their loud gongs and chimes.

He’s also adamant about two of the bells – the North Star School bell and the North Star Church bell – never leaving the North Star community.

‘”Someday I want (grandson) Clint to have these two because he’s got the North Star blacksmith shop, so these two will never sell,” he assured.

Emil Dubas’s bell collection started with one he bought 45 years ago at a sale. “From there it sort of grows on you,” he grinned.

To date, he has collected 20-plus bells that are on display in the yard of his farm home where Emil and his wife, Kathy, live west of Fullerton, Neb., in the North Star community.

“I bought the first one from a school house south of Fullerton. It only cost $40, had a lot of them then,” Emil recalled. “They’re higher than that now. I’ve got every size from 18-inches to 40-inches. I lack one, that’s a 38-inch.”

The bells are secured on individual stationary supports, an idea he gained from two bells he bought at a sale in Hastings fastened in that manner.

Many of the bells have dates on them. One dates back to 1890 and some are from the early 1900s.

Most are from schools and churches and were bought at sales. The farthest bell purchased in Nebraska is from Loup City, and is the largest in his collection – 40-inches. It once hung in the bell tower of the Loup City Methodist Church.

Then there are Emil’s most highly prized bells: the 36-inch bell from the North Star Church and the 34-inch bell from the North Star School.

“When they sold the North Star schoolhouse, I watched Uncle Walter (Dubas) buy it for $40. I didn’t want to bid against him. Then when they had his sale, one of his granddaughters from Omaha wanted it. I had to give $700.”

Emil never attended the North Star School, which was located about a half-mile east from where he currently lives, but “the North Star School is where I took my 8th grade exam,” he recalled. “A lot of guys wanted that school bell, but I wouldn’t part with it.

“The bell from the North Star Church went for the same thing. When some people moved into the church I told them if they ever want to sell that bell I want it. It took a year or two, but one day he wanted the money so I got it before he changed his mind. I wanted that baby pretty bad,” he laughed. “I don’t know how they ever got it up in the bell tower back then, as heavy as it is.”

The bell in Emil’s collection that traveled the farthest to its North Star home is a smaller one purchased at an antique shop below the Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota. “I wasn’t going to buy it but Kathy wanted it,” Emil said. “She didn’t used to care for antiques but anymore she’s about as bad as I am.

“There just hardly aren’t any bells left at a sale to buy,” he added. “There’s a friend of mine from Neligh who has over 100 bells. If there’s a bell for sale he’s there, but they’re hard to find and high priced.”

Emil’s thirst for antique collecting doesn’t stop with bells. His machine shed also houses a large tractor collection, including a W-4 McCormick, a Farmall H and John Deeres. If you ask him just how many he has, you’ll likely get an “I don’t know” for an answer because it’s hard to keep count.

He also has an eye for signs – tall signs – two of which he has displayed with an old Farmall F20 near his driveway.

“I had my eye on the Phillips 66 one for quite a while. It was in Grand Island at an antique dealer. He wanted $1,200, but I got it at his sale for $400. As for the Co-op sign, Louie (Dubas) used to work in the station (in Fullerton) and he gave that to me. I have two of them, they’re pretty different.

“I bought the old tractor 30 years ago at Hank Santin’s sale. It did run at the time, but I parked it in the trees for about 15 years and the manifold rusted out and the motor stuck.” Emil also has an old threshing machine displayed along Highway 22 on the west side of his place.

Of the many items in Emil’s varied collections, the bells still remain a favorite. “The grandkids get them going once in a while,” he said of their loud gongs and chimes.

He’s also adamant about two of the bells – the North Star School bell and the North Star Church bell – never leaving the North Star community.

‘”Someday I want (grandson) Clint to have these two because he’s got the North Star blacksmith shop, so these two will never sell,” he assured.