about us

The History of "The Bell" & What We're All About!

The Burlington Community Fund is a group of committed community leaders in Burlington working to create an endowment fund that will benefit all the residents of Burlington

The Burlington Bell is a symbol not only of the Burlington Community Fund but also its founder the late Bob Merriman. The bell was cast in bronze in Cincinnati in 1885. Once used on a Louisiana rice and sugarcane plantation, the bell was sitting on the front porch of a sharecropper’s cabin when Bob bought it for $300 in 1941, he brought it home after the war. His father mounted it on the roof of their 1812 home at the top of Black Walnut Lane in Burlington. It was with the Merriman family for 70 years and now resides in a display case at Town Hall.

We celebrate Bob's life not simply because he was a long time resident, but because of his commitment to public giving and our community.


Bob established the Merriman Tree Farm in Burlington in 1950.

He founded the Development Office of St. Joseph College in 1967.

He founded the Coordinating Council for Foundations in Hartford in 1969.

He was one of the original founders of the Main Street Community Foundation in 1995.

He was one of the original founders of The Friends of Sessions Woods in 1997.

He had had a long tenure on the Friends of the Burlington Public Library board and was instrumental in helping the Burlington Land Trust with grants.

He is also the founder and inspiration behind the Burlington Community Fund.


The Burlington Community Fund is the legacy for a man who devoted much of his time and energy to our community. It is our hope this fund captures the essence of that energy and continues to inspire the citizens of our community to carry on his work.You may not have known Bob Merriman, but you surely have been touched by his life.