Saturday, August 15, 2015

Martell Elementary School is named for Charles B. Martell (5/10/1892– 2/3/1972), who served on the Troy Board of Education from 1948 to 1952. Charles was one of six children born to Herbert C. Martell (8/13/1852– 4/17/1936) and his wife Eva (11/2/1855– 12/27/1917.) In the Troy Historic Village archive is a lovely account about Grandpa Herbert written by Lila Martell, Charles’ daughter. The 365 Stories for yesterday and today are excerpts from her “Memories of Herbert C. Martell.”

Grandpa had quite a library of books about gardening, raising fruit trees, etc. He was a voracious reader. (He) had a spacious downstairs bedroom that he furnished like a living room, with an inconspicuous single bed to one side. The room had an extension of a bay of four or five windows that provided him with a full view of his orchards and vineyards to the north, east to Donaldson Street, and to the south. In this bay he had a library table with shelves that held some of his books and where he sat and wrote letters. On one wall was a beautiful mantle that he had made and above it a picture of a large sailing ship. There was a furnace register on that wall and his easy chair was angled in front of it, which gave the effect of sitting in front of a fireplace on a cold day. I can remember sitting on a footstool beside him and reading to him. . .

Grandpa was a great storyteller, and I loved to go in his room and listen to him tell me continued stories of the saga of “Bunny.” Bunny was a little rabbit that had great adventures, and I never tired of listening to Grandpa spin those stories.

We are all influenced by special people in our lives. Our parents, grandparents, favorite aunts, uncles, teachers, ministers, and mentors leave their fingerprints on our hearts and lives. Who has influenced you? If you were to pen a memory as Lila did, what would it say?

To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at

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