Glen William Bell Jr.|
September 3, 1923
Lynwood, California, U.S.
January 16, 2010 (aged 86)|
Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Rancho Santa Fe, California|
|Known for||Founder of Taco Bell restaurants|
|Children||Kathleen Bell, Gary Bell and Rex Bell|
Born in Lynwood, California, Glen Bell attended and graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1941. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Bell left the military in 1946 and started his first hot dog stand, called Bell's Drive-In, in San Bernardino in 1948. In 1952, he sold the hot dog stand and built a second stand that sold hot dogs and hamburgers. Shortly thereafter, he started selling tacos at a taco stand named Taco-Tia at the price of 19 cents each from a side window. Between 1954 and 1955, he opened three Taco Tias in the San Bernardino area, eventually selling those restaurants and opening four El Tacos with a partner in the Long Beach area.
In 1962, he decided to go solo and sold the El Tacos to his partner and opened his first Taco Bell. Bell franchised his restaurant in 1964. His company grew rapidly, and the 868-restaurant chain was later sold to PepsiCo in 1978 for $125 million in stock.
In the late 1970s, Bell opened a tourist railroad at Tuolumne, California. He was a life-long railway enthusiast. This gauge railroad used the lower section of the track and several steam locomotives of the West Side Lumber Company railway. The operation also offered boat rides on the old mill pond and RV parking. It closed in the early 1980s after failing to attract enough visitors.
Bell died from a heart attack on January 16, 2010, at age 86 in Rancho Santa Fe, California. He was survived by his wife Martha, four sons, a daughter, four grandchildren, and three sisters.
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