Bellville, History & Tourism

Landmarks of Richland: The Bellville Bandstand

6 Jun , 2019  

How historically important is the Bellville Bandstand?

Consider the fact the it is featured in “Source Book of American Architecture: 500 Notable Buildings from the 10th Century to the Present” by G.E. Kidder Smith and published by Princeton Architectural Press.

How iconic is the Bellville Bandstand?

Not only have hundreds of concerts, speeches, weddings, and other events took place under its roof since it was opened in September, 1879, and in 1975 the City of Medina actually placed a copy of the bandstand in the middle of their town square.

According to the Village of Bellville website, “The historic ornate Bellville Village Bandstand has been decorating the center of the Village of Bellville since 1879. Mr. Knodle was the first to suggest a bandstand. According to an article published in the Richland Star, September 11, 1879, Mr. Knodle had just moved to Bellville in January, from Illinois, to be the new Bellville Band Director.”

That Mr. Knodle was the one and only Eldridge G. Knodle, who returned to Illinois by 1900 and is buried there.

The structure was designed by a man known alternatively as Abraham Lash, William Lash, and Daniel Lash, who is listed as a Bellville carpenter in the 1880 Federal census (as Abraham). His design, it is said, was influenced “by the gazebos in the back yards of the wealthy industrialist living on Millionaire’s Row, which is Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. It was said that his “Italianate” composite, that is with us today, was unequaled in detail and craftsmanship.” Village of Bellville website.

The octagonal frame bandstand is about 12 feet in diameter and the peak of the roof is 20 feet high.

The scene on its local debut must have been astonishing. The following is an excerpt from the September 20, 1879 Richland Shield & Banner:

“The dedication of the Band stand at Bellville on Friday evening of last week was a grand affair, fully three thousand people were present and the finest of music from several organizations served to enliven the occasion. The exercises consisted of a well-arranged program in which speeches, music, etc. were the features. Hon. Andrew Stevenson (member of the Ohio House of Representatives) delivered an eloquent dedication address.”

The Bellville Bandstand was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 26, 1973.

Other entries in our Landmarks of Richland series can be found here.

Photo: OHWiki – Own work, CC0

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