Glen Bell

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Glen Bell
Glen Bell.jpg
BornGlen William Bell Jr.
(1923-09-03)September 3, 1923
Lynwood, California, U.S.
DiedJanuary 16, 2010(2010-01-16) (aged 86)
Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S.
Resting placeRancho Santa Fe, California
Years active1948–2010
Known forFounder of Taco Bell restaurants
Spouse(s)Martha Bell
ChildrenKathleen Bell, Gary Bell and Rex Bell[1]

Glen William Bell Jr. (September 3, 1923 – January 16, 2010)[1][2] was an American entrepreneur who founded the Taco Bell chain of restaurants.

Born in Lynwood, California, Glen Bell attended and graduated from San Bernardino High School in 1941.[3] 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.[4] 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.[citation needed]

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.[4] His company grew rapidly, and the 868-restaurant chain was later sold to PepsiCo in 1978 for $125 million in stock.[5]

West Side and Cherry Valley Railroad[edit]

In the late 1970s, Bell opened a tourist railroad at Tuolumne, California. He was a life-long railway enthusiast.[5] This 3 ft (914 mm) 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.[6]


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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Hevesi, Dennis (January 18, 2010). "Glen W. Bell Jr., Founder of Taco Bell, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "Taco Bell".
  3. ^ "San Bernardino City Schools - Official Website - Distinguished Cardinal Citizens". 1936-12-07. Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  4. ^ a b "Taco Bell founder dies at age 86". MSNBC. 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  5. ^ a b Cook, Walt (19 January 2010). "Taco Bell founder remembered". The Union Democrat.
  6. ^ Rowland, Marijke (3 September 2015). "Strawberry Music Festival returns to Tuolumne". Modesto Bee.