Nation's Last Bell Maker Vows To Rebuild After Devastating Fire

With his company's production facility a pile of rubble as a result of a recent fire, the owner of the last remaining U.S. bell manufacturer vows to rebuild, much to the delight of all angels who earned their wings to the ringing of the Connecticut-based Bevin Brothers' bells featured prominently in the American Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life." 


From the moment he heard the devastating news in an early morning last Sunday, Matt Bevin has had only one question weighing on his mind -- to rebuild or not to rebuild his family's centuries-old bell factory that employed 20 in East Hampton, which at one point was home to more than 30 bell foundries earning it the nickname Bellville, USA.


"I see people's tears and I cry with them, and I have people I know and people I don't know crying on my shoulder, and you realize that this is more than just a little metal stamping operation," he told the Hartford Courant recently.


With his family's legacy merely a mound of debris, Bevin just couldn't imagine giving up. "I'm a Bevin and I'm on this spot and I'm going to make some bells .... You start over. This is America," he said. 


It won't be easy. Insurance only covers liability and some lost business -- not replacement of the ancient 180-year-old complex. Still, it's good to see Bevin hasn't given up -- much like wayward angel-in-training Clarence didn't give up on George Bailey in Frank Capra's classic American tale. 


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