MENTONE — As the Indiana Bicentennial approaches, the history that surrounds the county becomes more and more relevant. For the next few weeks, “A Summer For History” will produce a story a week concerning a different museum located in Kosciusko County.
The Bell Aircraft Museum, located at 210 South Oak Street, Mentone, is a museum centered around a man by the name of Lawrence D. Bell. Bell was an aircraft industrialist who helped supply the United States military with bombers and other aircraft. His efforts resulted in the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight.
“We’ve got a lot of projects in the works,” said Linda Cochran, the museum secretary as she turned on the lights in the hangar, revealing three helicopters and a collection of exhibits sitting around them.
The museum itself has been open since 1972, though it was only dedicated in 1982. “I’ve been here since the building was dedicated.. I enjoy what I do,” Cochran continued.
The Bell Aircraft Museum is open from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays, from June through September, and by appointment throughout the week. To schedule an appointment call Linda Cochran at (574) 353-7113. The tours are free, but the museum accepts donations in order to keep itself running. “We’re a non-profit museum and any time we need to do something we have to get a grant, or donations.”