Kerr Museum
Kerr Museum
CLEARFIELD COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
CLEARFIELD COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

President's Reports...

President's Report, By David Wulderk - Spring 2021 .....

President’s Report

Our Clearfield County Historical Society’s Board of Directors is anxiously awaiting springtime.  We sincerely hope to see the Covid-19 virus pandemic be drastically diminished and put under control. It has upended the Society and our nation.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have suffered the virus’ effects and to those who have lost friends or loved ones. The times remind me of Vera Lynn’s World War II song, When The Lights Go On Again All Over the World. Keep up hope!

Our shuttered Kerr House Museum and Alexander Research Center have remained mostly closed for a year. The board of directors agreed to open the Kerr House Museum to visitors on the regular hours of 1:30 to 4:30; Sundays and Thursdays; beginning on Sunday, May 2.  It will be closed on summer holiday weekends. We are requesting that visitors wear a mask or a nose and mouth face covering while inside the building.  We also ask that visitors not touch displays or casings. These rules are vital for the safety of all inside the building; visitors, volunteers and board members.

Sadly, the Alexander Research Center will have to remain closed due to the lack of space needed for proper social distancing. No one knows more than the CCHS board what a loss this is to researchers.  We hope to open the center later in the summer, if conditions allow.  The board is taking a “wait and see” approach; month by month.

Closure does not mean inactivity!  The CCHS board and its friendly volunteers are an active and productive bunch! Accomplishments include:

  • Jim Moore, our website wizard, has begun adding oral stories and interviews that were taped and broadcast over WCPA radio, sixty years ago, to an audio listening tab on the clearfieldcountyhistoricalsociety.net site.  The old reel to reel tapes were put on to CDs a few years ago.  We’ve brought the tapes back to life and are now offering them for both entertainment and a great learning experience.
  • Likewise, the Society’s Facebook site continues its visual presentations and welcomes more submissions.
  • Book sales and sales of the Sam King map series continue to pace ahead in these stay at home times.
  • The Genealogy Committee is still answering quite a lot of mailed in research inquiries.
  • Our membership drive is working well.  We stand at 652 members.
  • The Display Committee has overseen the painting and rearranging of the Sports/Music/ Local Political Memorabilia Room of the Kerr House. The Committee has also turned a small space, adjacent to the Master Bedroom, into a Victorian Era Mourning Room! The display is meant to show a 19th century approach to death itself and some of the funeral traditions of the time.
  • All buildings will undergo Spring cleaning.
  • The board has granted permission to a Penn State film class to use the interior of the Bloody Knox Cabin to shoot scenes for the student produced film, The Silence.
  • The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN TV) has approached the board about adding the Kerr House to the It’s History series.
  • The newly purchased Scan Pro microfilm reader and wireless printer are working well.
  • The Finance Committee has submitted an application to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in order to secure annual grant funding.
  • The CCHS has participated in the One Lens: Sharing Our Views online presentation, sponsored by PA First Lady Frances Wolf.  A photo and accompanying narrative article of board member Paula Miller’s commemorative display regarding the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic’s impact on Clearfield County is featured.  Cathie Hughes’ poster creation of vintage portraits of John and Bessie Fox’s 1908 wedding party in Curwensville wearing modern colored masks is also part of the site. The site received over 900 entries from 58 of the 67 Pennsylvania counties. It can be reached at www.pa.gov/one-lens .
  • Pennsylvania Magazine has featured Clearfield County in its current March/April issue.  The photos are outstanding!

All that the CCHS accomplishes is because of its dedicated board, volunteers, friends and overall membership. I appreciate each and everyone involved and I look forward to a return to the BC (Before Covid) era.  Many thanks!! 


                                              David Wulderk, President CCHS

                                                      ******

This President's Report, by David Wulderk, along with lots of current activities, appearing in our

      Spring 2021 Bullertin.

Members have already received their copy of this informative publication.

   We invite Non-Members to join and receive their included copy!

   A $5 copy is available when you visit our Kerr Museum.

 

STORY FEATURES....with Photos

1. President's Report

2. Tom Mix feature story

3. Daniel Turner, Early Surveys

4. Rockton Boy Lost...

 

PLUS....

Acquisitions, Donations, Genealogy, Memorials, Memberships, Preservation Award

                                                      ******

President's Report, By David Wulderk - Fall 2020 .....


Like so many organizations in the time of the Covid virus, the Clearfield County Historical Society has had to adjust to the new normal of not having large group gatherings. It has been a drastic change from the times we’ve all known.
Our popular sponsored events such as the county fair parade participation, the Night At The Museum event, the Apple Cider Festival at the Bloody Knox Cabin and our Annual Dinner have been forfeited this year for safety’s sake. It was sad for all of us, as members of the CCHS Board of Directors, to decide to keep the Alexander Research Center closed for the year, but it was the right decision as social distancing there could not be maintained. We are hopeful that better days are ahead.
Nevertheless, board members have been busy! The Genealogy Committee has answered scores of inquiries and letters that request research. More and more people are relying on the internet and regular mail to fulfill their requests, and the committee has stepped up with outstanding success.  
The Publications Committee has been just as busy. Denny Shaffner has taken many orders for books and maps from the Society’s inventory and has promptly sent them to buyers. We are still receiving local historical items to be added as acquisitions to our many faceted collections. The Acquisitions Committee sends its gratitude to all who have donated. Likewise, the board sends its profound thanks and appreciation to all who have made financial donations to the CCHS.
The board began to have monthly phone conference and Zoom meetings in April. As the days became warmer and longer, it was nice to spend pleasant evenings meeting on the Kerr House lawn. We set up our chairs six feet apart, wore masks and got a lot of business accomplished!
Board member Paula Miller’s timely display of photos and Progress coverage of the local impact of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic can be seen in the front window of the Kerr House Museum. It is a great work of visual history (see more information in this issue).
On three Sunday afternoons in August, September and October CCHS members and volunteers sponsored book sales outdoors on the large front porch of the Kerr House Museum. They were indeed a success! People came to buy a large number of books and also maps from the Sam King series. Limited tours of the museum, with mask requirements, were given and everyone attending seemed to be glad to get out for browsing and buying. We’ve made the best of a tough year!
New railings matching the museum’s décor have been installed on the sides of the front steps and curbside to the sidewalk.
Our sincere appreciation is extended to our entire community of supporters.  Commonwealth funding through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, has again added needed funding that will be used to keep the CCHS's operations afloat. The Clearfield County Board of Commissioners has once again seen fit to include grant funding to the CCHS. Chubby's Cleaners of Clearfield did us a great service by cleaning the historic fire company uniforms free of charge. They are displayed in the Fireman's display room of our Carriage House. It is good to live in a county where public concern and individual acts of kindness are so often a way of life. 
Please visit our website at clearfieldcountyhistoricalsociety.net. Our valuable supporter, Jim Moore, who maintains the site, has added a series of county historical postcards and photos. Added submissions by members and the public are welcome.
Our Facebook page features historical presentations and book reviews by board members. They’ve drawn a lot of praise, and it is our way of virtually reaching the interested public. The Society’s Instagram site also shows a nice cross section of local photos.
Like everyone, our Society and board look forward to a return to a ‘normal’ world, without the Covid-19 virus.  In the meantime, be assured that the CCHS will keep on keeping on doing its best work to preserve and bring to life the great history of Clearfield County.

       Have a Blessed Holiday and winter season.    Stay safe!
                                              David Wulderk, President CCHS

President's Report, By David Wulderk - Spring 2020         

____________

None of us, as we entered 2020, would have thought that our lives would have been so disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is the worst health crisis since the 1918 Influenza Epidemic that took hundreds of lives in Clearfield County alone.  Let us hope and pray that we will never see such a tragedy ever repeated. 

The Clearfield County Historical Society, like any other organization in the US, has too been affected.  We will not be able to open our Kerr House Museum and the Alexander Research Center on May 3; as was planned.  We will not open until Governor Wolf, working with commonwealth health experts, deems it safe to do so.  Unfortunately, our Mothers Day Tea, planned for May 10, is cancelled for this year.    We will have to see what June and the summer months bring us.

Our board of directors held a monthly meeting by means of a phone conference call.   This is a part of the new and, hopefully, temporary normal. We are, though, making progress.  Our heating system at the research center has been replaced and upgraded.  The board has purchased a Scan Pro 2200 microfilm reader and a laser jet printer to vastly improve the efficiency of researching our county microfilmed data holdings.

The board has also republished the 1922 James Mitchell Lumbering and Rafting book and will add it to our publications inventory for sale.  It is an excellent book that has been skillfully reviewed in this bulletin issue by board member Bob Eshelman.

 Our Christmas Holiday annual book sale in December was an outstanding success!  Many of the books purchased were used for gifts, including the new Public Spirit book of genealogy and township anecdotes, compiled by Diane and Jim Yarger.  Over 200 of the 300 printed copies of our Back In the Day cookbook, which is a collection of submitted family recipes, were sold in the month of December alone! Julie Houston, of our board, was the driving force behind the cookbook’s creation.

On a sad note; the CCHS mourns the passing of former board member, Sgt. Major Morton Shea Landy of Mahaffey.  He passed away in November at the age of 91.  He was a decent man, a dedicated and career US Marine, and a good friend and board member.  Mort asked that his dress blue uniform be donated to the CCHS Museum’s military display room.  We will be proud to feature it.  Board member, Denny Shaffner, has written a moving tribute to Mort that appears in this issue of our bulletin.

In spite of these troubled times; the CCHS still looks forward.  We hope to have a Suffern’ Suffrage program, for the public, to be held in late June to mark the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th US constitutional amendment, that granted women’s voting rights, everywhere in the nation. The Clearfield County Fair is always an attraction and the CCHS plans to again be a part of the fair parade and sponsor the Derby Hat Day at the Grandstand racing track. We are making and tweaking plans to hold our vastly popular Night At The Museum event in August.  The Apple Cider Festival at the historic Bloody Knox Cabin in Kellytown is still on for October.

We are a historical society, so we also look to the past.  In July, the Frenchville Picnic will mark its 150th outing at the St. Mary’s RC Church grounds.  Board member, Mary Kay Royer, has been instrumental in coordinating this time honored and well loved event.  Likewise, in late July, the Houtzdale Days Committee is expanding its celebration to mark the 150th anniversary of the borough’s founding.  1870 was a significant year for Clearfield County!

Please visit our website at clearfieldcountyhistoricalsociety.net review samples of our ever growing collection of county historical postcard and photo scenes.  They represent a wide selection of life and scenes in Clearfield County that have since passed into county history.  Our website manager, Jim Moore, has created and added this great visual section and invites site visitors to submit their post cards by emailing them to Here’s My Postcard. These confining times have seen more and more interest in our website, as well as our Facebook and Instagram  sites.

We are proud to have all of you as part of our CCHS!  When this virus passes; remember to renew and reignite your interest in the rich history of Clearfield County.  When we all able to move about freely; bring your family and friends to visit our museum and research center.  Make it a family tradition to attend our historical events.  We warmly welcome you!  Remember, history often begins at home! 

                               David Wulderk, President CCHS

President’s Report - Fall 2019

As usual, the summer has gone by rapidly and the crisp autumn air and diminishing daylight are once again upon us. Also, as usual, the Clearfield County Historical Society is firmly dedicated to the service of preserving and retelling Clearfield County’s fascinating, and often times personal historical stories, that can move us all.

Our society and board members have reached out to include a sizeable network of reliable and generous friends and donors.  Our events, now annual landmarks as a society, would not be possible without the efforts of so many kind  locals who are glad to pitch in and help.

Our Mothers Day Tea and participation in the Clearfield County Fair Parade were great successes!  Our first of its kind “Hat Derby”, mimicking the Kentucky Derby event, was a hit at the county fair harness races, as women (and a few men) donned most fancy and unique hats they could find or make.  The pageant culminated in the judging of the best hat of the day and was won by Monica McMahon, of Janesville.  It was a good time worth repeating next year!

 The Night At The Museum event, after only two years, has become a showpiece.  It began, on August 14, with a disheartening rain, which stopped after 45 minutes.  And then the crowds came pouring in! At last count, 534 people attended to hear and see nearly two dozen volunteers dress and take the part of significant Clearfield County folks whose life stories stood out as worthy of portraying.  Our message is that ordinary people can find themselves in situations, achievements and jobs that make them stand out as extraordinary.  The event is family friendly and free of charge. This year, we observed more parents and grandparents who brought their kids and teens.

Likewise, our October Apple Cider Festival, at the Bloody Knox Cabin, in Kellytown again this year, displayed slices of life and technology that are gone or fading fast.  The Society has used this festival to turn a tragic Civil War shootout into a family oriented local history day; complete with pumpkins and an egg toss game!

We have kept up with building maintained by replacing the Carriage House garage doors and replacing the heating system in the Alexander Research Center. The county theater display, in the Kerr House Museum is fascinating to visitors and we will have an amateur radio display in place shortly.  1892 crank wall phones have been installed and are popular with kid’s tours.

The 1897 Public Spirit History of Clearfield County has been researched and reedited by Diane Stodart Yarger, formerly of Madera and her husband Jim, formerly of Sanborn.  Their thousands of hours of work have produced an outstanding book that details genealogies and an incredible amount of short and often amusing anecdotes.  The stories sometimes sound like the old Believe It Or Not series that once ran on The Progress’ comic page.  Mrs. Yarger was the guest speaker at our dinner; detailing how she went about resurrecting the unique county history from obscurity to an educational and entertaining level.  CCHS board members and friends read select excerpts from the many anecdotes as part of the dinner’s speaking program.  The crowd loved it!  The CCHS has published the book and added it to our sale inventory list.

I would be remiss if I did not thank two Clearfield County news publications for their kind support the CCHS’s goal of bringing county history to life.  Each week, Jessica Shirey, of Gant Daily, an online source, presents a Throwback Thursday section to show an old county photo, accompanied by an explaining article.  They have run everything from an 1890’s trained bear act in Wallaceton to 1919 tornado damage in Glen Richey to teens doing the Limbo Rock at an early 60’s YMCA dance in Clearfield!  We are grateful.

Our profound thanks and appreciation go out to The Progress for donating over a century’s worth of the newspaper’s microfilm reels to the CCHS.  This acquisition is a historical treasure, if there ever was one!  Our microfilm library now has the foremost county news source of the 20th century and beyond. The reels cover the time from the newspaper’s beginnings in 1913 until 2016. Everything from business ads to obituaries, to area happenings are chronicled for visiting researchers, genealogists and historians to use.  Our gratitude is deep and we thank publisher Pat Patterson and editor, Julie Benemati-Noal, for their kind efforts at coming through for us! We will now concentrate at upgrading our microfilm reading and printing machine technology.

So please visit our museum and research center.  You are most welcome to attend our events.  Pennsylvania’s rural county historical museums are more valuable than many people would imagine.  We invite you to see ours. 

                                                  

                                         David Wulderk, President

 

President's Report - Fall 2018

This President's Report, along with lots of current activities, appears in our Fall 2018 'BULLETIN'.

   Members have already received their copy of this informative publication.

   We invite Non-Members to join and receive their included copy!

   A $5 copy is available when you visit our Museums or Research Center.

 

STORY FEATURES....with Photos

  • 1918  Flu Epidemic, Historic sacrifice of Nurse Elizabeth Clees. 
  • First World War's End, Aftermath in Clearfield County.
  • List, County soldiers killed, WW1.
  • County Home Cemetery
  • Donations and Memorials
  • Genealogy
  • Acquisitions

President’s Report

My first year as president of the Clearfield County Historical Society has gone by quickly.  That is probably because it has been so busy!  Our Kerr House Museum and Alexander Research Center have hosted plenty of visitors and researchers. We have received a good deal of worthwhile acquisitions and have opened our doors and sponsored events to a great cross section of the public.  Clearfield County has a richly storied past.  It is easy to begin by looking for a few facts and then end up with surprising events and stories.

The first Mothers Day Tea was held in the dining room of the Kerr House in May.  It was well attended and worth having again.

In August, the Society hosted a Night At The Museum program. Both directors and friends of the Society dressed and acted he parts pertinent county historical figures; some famous and some obscure.  The format mimicked the movie of the same title.  WTAJ-TV featured us on their Central PA Live program. The whole evening was a smashing success!  Perhaps 350 visitors passed through the rooms of the Kerr House to see and hear characters portrayed as if they had come alive.  The heat and humidity were oppressive and the rain may have kept some away, but the evening backed up the old “learning can be fun” maxim. Refreshments were offered. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all involved with the evening!  We hope to do it all again next summer with some of the same and some added characters!

The Apple Cider Festival at Kellytown’s Bloody Knox Cabin was a fine time had by all!  For fourteen years, we have been blessed by good weather (or at least not rained out) so that we can make 19th and early 20th century county history and craftsmanship come alive.  We aim to please and target this day as a family friendly event to be enjoyed by those of all ages.  Our Society’s public programs are, as always, free of charge. Our heartfelt thanks go out to Northwest Bank for again sponsoring the festival.

This year, The Progress office relocated to its new quarters on Market Street, in Clearfield. Before leaving the old Locust Street site, the management donated thousands of negatives of local news photos; some going back sixty or more years.  It may take that long to sort them all out, but we are indeed grateful. Special thanks go to director Dave Mayersky for using his work crew and equipment to move the many boxes and keeping them in safe storage until they can be examined.

The volunteer group who cleared and restored the Old County Home Cemetery has finished most of its work.  This group did the hard and dirty physical labor to give a presentable upgrade to the final resting place of hundreds of the county’s indigent and often disposed citizens.  Look forward, next year, to the dedication of a sign marking the cemetery and the commemorating the restoration.

Our 64th Annual CCHS Dinner was held on Thursday, October 25, at St. Timothy’s Church Hall in Curwensville.   We are grateful to CBT/Riverview Bank and Bee Kind Winery for their generous sponsorship. Rebecca Inlow, of Osceola Mills, gave a superb presentation regarding her new book, The Rowland Story From Ashes To Beauty . The book portrays a fascinating biography of Charles Rowland of Houtzdale, and later Philipsburg, as well as the history of Philipsburg’s Rowland Theater.  Rowland served two terms in the US House of Representatives and was a founding corporate officer and investor in the legendary Alley Popper Railroad; that provided passenger and coal hauling service to southeastern Clearfield County, from Philipsburg to Fernwood. One of Rowland’s Successful business efforts was the theater that bears his name; opened in 1917. It is today operated by a community volunteer group of which Mrs. Inlow is dedicated and vital member.

The annual Christmas program and local historical book and map sale is scheduled for Saturday, December 8, from 1:00 to 4:00, at the Kerr House museum.

Our volunteer host program continues to serve us well. Jim Moore does a splendid job at maintaining our very comprehensive website at clearfieldcountyhistoricalsociety.org

So, it has been a whirlwind year; but a productive one.  It would not be possible without the hard working and dedicated board of directors and such good friends and volunteers. If one wants to see the good in this world; he/she need only to look around Clearfield County.

Have a health, safe and blessed Holiday Season and New Year!

 

                                                          David Wulderk, President, CCHS

President's Report - Spring 2018

This President's Report, along with lots of current activities, appears in our Spring 2018 'BULLETIN'.

   Members have already received their copy of this informative publication.

   We invite Non-Members to join and receive their included copy!

   A $5 copy is available when you visit our Museums or Research Center.

 

OTHER FEATURES....with Photos

  • 283rd Field Artillery Battalion
  • A Soldier's firsthand Account - My Lai Massacre
  • The Great War Changes Clearfield County (Second of a Series)
  • St. Paul's Lutheran German Church - Winburne, PA
  • Tours & Open Houses
  • Donations and Memorials
  • Genealogy
  • Acquisitions

President's Report - Fall 2017

This President's Report, along with lots of current activities, appears in our Fall 2017 'BULLETIN'.

   Members have already received their copy of this informative publication.

   We invite Non-Members to join and receive their included copy!

   A $5 copy is available when you visit our Museums or Research Center.

 

OTHER FEATURES....with Photos

  • 283rd Field Artillery Battalion
  • A Soldier's firsthand Account - My Lai Massacre
  • The Great War Changes Clearfield County (Second of a Series)
  • St. Paul's Lutheran German Church - Winburne, PA
  • Tours & Open Houses
  • Donations and Memorials
  • Genealogy
  • Acquisitions

PRESIDENT'S REPORT - SPRING 2017

(Click any image for a 'blow-up view)

Masks & distancing prevail!

The Kerr House Museum will open Sundays & Thursdays

1:30 to 4:30pm, starting

May 2, 2021.

________

...excepting days,

May 30, July 4

& Sept. 5th .

****

NOTE: Our Research Center will not open at this time.

CONNECT THRU.....

AND

Write us at...Clearfield County Historical Society

   511 Van Valzah Ave.
   Clearfield, PA 16830

Phone: 814-768-7318 for a brief recording... 

or

click for best

Contact Method

COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUMS

1. 'KERR HOUSE' MUSEUM

 104 E. Pine St,

Clearfield, Pa  16830

(Corner Front & E Locust Sts.)

             __________

2. 'WILLIAM B. ALEXANDER V' GENELOGICAL RESEARCH CENTER:

  511 Van Valzah Ave.

  Clearfield, PA  16830

      (official business address)

________

3. 'BLOODY KNOX' Cabin Museum:

6246 Curwensville - Tyrone Hwy.

Olanta, PA  16863

(Village of Kellytown)

____________

Courtesy guided group tours of our 'Kerr House' Museum can be arranged year round by calling

814-378-5748.

__________________

Stay current by visiting this web site and our facebook for updated information.

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