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Martins Creek Bell Tower Project

Jim Palmeri and Joe Pilyar both hail from Martins Creek which, to some, is also known as the Center of the Universe. The duo combined on a presentation about a new community-based endeavor. The roots of the project stem to 1864 when a cornerstone was laid for a small rural church outside the village of Martins Creek. The area is known today as Three Church Hill. The Scotch-Irish cemetery, located adjacent to the church, contains the graves of 24 Revolutionary soldiers buried in this cemetery. Another building on the property was a one room schoolhouse, built in 1803, and is now the home of the Hunter-Martin Settlement Museum which is packed with historic items.

By early 2023 the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church was struggling to keep its doors open and the possibility of the church being sold or possibly brought down caused two residents to offer an alternative. Joe Pilyar and his wife Elvira Woodruff presented a plan to save the building and preserve the integrity of the church.


The Three Church Hill Arts & Historical Society was created in May of 2023, as a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving local history while creating a community space for music, art and education that will serve communities throughout Northampton County. The former Church has been deconsecrated and is now known as the Bell Tower Cultural Center. The five cultural pathways on which the Center’s programs will focus are Music, Art, Education, Films/Theater, and History. The volunteers have taken charge. Local talent has been showcased in art and music events. Educational workshops have been selling out. Attendees might learn how to make lasagna, use cell phones, or take better photographs. The La-Tea- Da teas and talks program will feature Four Feisty ladies talking about what inspired them in their successful careers. Many challenges lie ahead. Projects include clean water, sanitation, electrical upgrades, plumbing, and a proper kitchen.


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