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 Mentone Museum concerns itself with history of the small town of Mentone, as well as the few famous people that called the town home. The museum shares a building with the Bell Aircraft Museum, and both of them are be located at 210 South Oak Street, Mentone.
The museum has an exhibit dedicated to Bob Herendeen, a famous stunt pilot who won two trophies as the US National Aerobatic Champion in 1966. He demonstrated his skill and ability with aircraft when he was 16, when he included a loop and a roll in his first solo flight and amazed audiences with his aerobatic skills up until 1994 when he died while flying his Christen Eagle aircraft.
Another important person in the history of Mentone was Lawrence Bell, the founder of the Bell Aircraft Corporation, which played a very important part in war plane production during WW II, but it is mostly famous for the creation of the Bell X-1 the first aircraft to break the sound barrier. The company also produced the Bell 47, a helicopter which is one of the most recognizable aircraft in history.
Aside from these exhibits, the museum has a collection of artifacts from the town’s history, from the flag of the local chapter of Mothers Of World War 2 to an unused coffin which sits in the corner of the room.
“We’re always doing something different … our museum doesn’t sit still; it changes,” said Linda Cochran, the secretary and tour guide of the museum.
The Mentone 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.”