'Throwback Thursday' publications,
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June 1, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday', 1884
Brisbin High School
Brisbin was once known as North Houtzdale, but later took its name from the early coal land developer, George M. Brisbin, when it became incorporated as a borough in 1883. The small community has
always had a rich mining, religious and small business heritage.
It suffered a devastating village wide fire in May of 1884 that has become a part of local history and folklore.
It has to be said that even the smallest, and usually poorer communities in Clearfield County, were anxious to build schools to educate their children.
It may have taken generations, but early Brisbin residents inherently knew that education would give their children a better and more fulfilling life.
Ten years after the original schools were lost in the 1884 fire; Brisbin High School was built and opened in 1894. Actually, it also housed elementary students and offered a curriculum to include grades 1 to 10. Grades 11 and 12 were offered later.
The school building stood along Swoope Street (PA Route 153), next to the Brisbin First Church of God. The site is today the church’s parking lot.
The building was, typical for the times; one with a belfry, large windows and high-ceilinged rooms, in order to allow as much light as possible into the classrooms.
The photo shows a decorative flue, which was needed to handle the large coal-fired furnace. Five young students are shown in front of the school, near the then dirt street.
Sadly, the school building caught fire and burned on Jan. 11, 1944. Mrs. Larue (Pope) Cotter remembered that a teacher, Miss Velma Lobb, was teaching her eighth-grade Math class, and noticed burnt debris falling by her classroom window.
She sent student Don Lobb outside to investigate. He saw smoke billowing from the eaves. Miss Lobb quietly pulled the fire alarm and all grades quickly exited the building. Those three witnesses are now deceased.
Houtzdale’s Dr. Eugene Ronan was giving physical exams to primary age kids and, being annoyed, called out, “This is a hell of a time for a fire drill”! He immediately helped clear the building. Thankfully, no one was injured.
The school was a total loss. Only the flue remained at the end to the day. The Houtzdale Fire Company saved the adjacent Church of God, which suffered only paint blistering and broken glass.
Brisbin students moved into temporary quarters and were sent into Houtzdale’s school rooms in September of 1944. They were morphed into the old HWB (Houtzdale, Woodward and Brisbin) school system, which was itself later merged into the present Moshannon Valley School District.
May 25 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday', 1881
DECORATION DAY IN CLEARFIELD, 1881
COL. JOHN W. FORNEY MAKES THE SPEECH
May 18, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1911
The DUBOIS BREWING CO. FARM
The DuBois Brewing Company FARM
was located off Route 322 east in Luthersburg.
In the early 1900s, this rural farm was a tourist sight.
During the weekends dozens of area visitors toured the farm by horse and buggy to see the operations. The R. W. Moore estate sold the farm to DuBois Brewing Company in July 1911.
Frank Hahne Sr. (1856-1932), owner of DuBois Brewery bred horses and cattle on the farm and had a splendid orchard.
Mr. Hahne was a native of Germany immigrating to America in 1875.
After moving to various locations in the Midwest he eventually settled in DuBois in 1896 with hopes of establishing a brewery. DuBois attracted Hahne due to the area’s clean water.
In 1932, Frank Hahne Sr. passed away leaving his operations to two of his children to manage, Frank Jr. and Marie. In 1946 the farm was sold to the Milton Hartzfeld family and then eventually to Crescent Brick Company.
Today the buildings are all gone, and the land has been strip-mined.
The field now flourishes with central Pennsylvania wildlife.
May 11, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1922
The LIBERTY THEATER in MADERA
Madera’s Liberty Theater
The Liberty Theater was built in 1922 by brothers Frederick and Michael Scrano on Main Street in Madera. The men were born in Italy and were listed as stone masons on several census reports. They built the theater at that time for the astronomical price tag of $200,000. It was large for its day, as it could seat close to 2,000 people.
During the construction of the Liberty Theater, tragedy struck when the Clearfield Progress published the following article on November 19, 1921:
INJURY RECEIVED IN FALL FATAL TO PLASTERER
Oscar Lawhead Falls To Death From Scaffold On New Theatre Building At Madera
SCAFFOLD CHAIN LINK GIVES WAY
Dies despite Attempt of Physicians To Save His Life - Brother Workman Also Hurt
Oscar Lawhead, aged 34 years, and son of Milton Lawhead of Hyde City, formerly of Clearfield, died in the Cottage State Hospital at Philipsburg at 1:55 o'clock Wednesday afternoon as the result of injuries received in a fall from a scaffold at the new Liberty Theatre building in Madera.
Chain Gives Way
The deceased, who was a plasterer by trade, in company with his nephew, John Lawhead, was working from a swinging scaffold plastering the ceiling of the theatre building. A link in the chain supporting one end of the scaffold gave way and when the end dropped down the men were dropped to the concrete floor below, a distance of about forty feet.
The Scrano brothers operated the Liberty until the World War II era. This theater continued to show movies into the late 1950s. As early as July 3, 1952 the Madera Girl Scout Troop was holding a bake sale in the Novelty Shop at the theater building and likewise by 1961 surplus food was being distributed from the premises. After the Liberty closed as a theatre, it was then made into apartments. The building was razed in 2000 after many years of neglect and disrepair.
The first movies shown were silent films – “7th Heaven” and “The Big Parade”. The Liberty would feature cowboy movies on Saturdays. Many of the moviegoers would dress up in their cowboy clothes. Tom Mix (DuBois native) movies were a favorite. Memories were noted of the life-like wax figures of Jesse James and the Dalton Gang that were displayed in the lobby of the theater back in the early days of the doors opening.
May 4, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1905
Stoneville - Community Quilt
A COMMUNITY QUILT THAT WAS STITCHED WITH LOVE
This Sunday, May 7th the doors of the Kerr House Museum
located at 104 N. Pine Street will be open for the 2023 season.
One of the notable pieces on display this year
is a hand-stitched quilt from the community of
Stoneville located in Boggs Township, Clearfield County.
The area of Stoneville is situated on one of the states most traveled areas in past history, the Old Erie Turnpike. At one time Stoneville was known as Marysville, though history fails to say why. It was written in Joseph A. Daugue, Jr’s 'An Historical Sketch of the Old Erie Turnpike' that Alexander Stone came to this country from England and purchased a tract of land where he built the first hotel in Boggs Township called Stoneville Tavern.
Since the conditions of the area proved to be favorable and the Clearfield Creek flowed near the Erie Pike, Mr. Stone laid out the village
In the early 1900s Stoneville was thriving with the railroad and the Old Erie Pike as transportation routes for goods and services. The community was close knit.
So much so that in 1905-1906 a Signature Quilt was embroidered with the names of the residents of Stoneville. Signature quilts gained popularity in the mid to late 1800s as a way to remember people. Although the purpose of the Stoneville community quilt has been lost to time, we do know that each quilt block has the name of someone who called this place home.
This could have been hand-stitched by a group of women in a quilting bee as a gift for someone or possibly made as a fundraising quilt. This also could be a quilt made with church member’s names. Whatever the occasion was the list of surnames are still familiar today in the Clearfield County area.
The names lovingly embroidered on the red and white
hand stitched quilt are as follows:
Mrs. Blanche Pearce
Mrs. James Gallaher
Mr. & Mrs. John Wisor
Mrs. Annie Holes
Mrs. Kate Davis
Mrs. Lewis Turner
Mrs. Gertrude Wisor
Mrs. Anna Davis
Mrs. George Shugarts
Mrs. Clara Shimmel
April 27, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1847
Burnside - 'Lee Hollow' - New Washington
Lee Hollow in Clearfield County
In 1822, Jacob Lee (1770-1847), along with his wife and children came from the Milesburg area of Centre County to settle in a hollow which is located in both Burnside Township and New Washington Borough of Clearfield County. Jacob and Isaac Lee built one of the first stone houses in Bellefonte in 1795. The two are believed to have been brothers.
Jacob Lee purchased 220 acres in 1839 in Burnside Township. Jacob’s home was used as an early meeting house for Methodists. According to a history of the New Washington Methodist Church complied by E.V. Mitchell in 1962, services were held under a large hemlock tree and afterward in a nearby log house belonging to Crawford Gallaher.
The Lee family began businesses with farming and timbering that built up the little community of Lee Hollow. In 1870, the mining business developed and carried on for the Lee family until they sold it in 1890. It was recorded in R.D. Swoope’s 1911 book Twentieth Century History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania and Representative Citizens the Lee Hollow Mine was an “E” vein with a thickness of three feet. It had a daily capacity of 1,000 tons.
The small community of Lee Hollow once had both single and double houses for the miners. There was a company store and large home for “boss” along with roads. Today all these structures are but a memory.
April 20, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1918
Gearhartville - Pvt. Alfred Johnston
1918 - Gearhartville Soldier Writes to Parents from France
Alfred Johnston, was the son of Moses and Mary Ellen (Lamb) Johnston.
He was raised in Gearhartville, Decatur Township.
Alfred was born in Philipsburg in 1895.
By 1918 he was stationed “somewhere in France” as he wrote a letter home to his parents not disclosing his exact location.
Alfred was a Private in the US Army Battery E. 7th Field Artillery.
"The letter reads...."
A few lines to let you know that I am well and hope this letter find you all the same way.
First I want to let you know just how small this world is. I am on the military police force here and was at the station last night when the train came in. A gentleman came up to me and asked where he could find a good place to sleep, so I took a good look at him and who do you suppose it was --- well I will tell you. It was Bishop Israel, the bishop who confirmed me. I told him who I was, and he was sure glad to meet me. He wanted to know if there was anything he could do for me, but I told him there wasn’t, for I am very well fixed. He told me to send his best to all, especially Miss Julia Hale. I have also met “Nibs” Cartwright in this country.
I took out a Liberty Bond and had it put in your name. I would have taken more but couldn’t do it on account of making the allotment.
All the boys from my town are getting along finely. Lou Jenkins had a sore hand but it is getting better now.
I will soon join my battery again, as I have been on detached service for over two months.
Send me lots of mail for I sure like to receive it. Well I must close for this time, hoping to hear from you soon. Your loving son, Alfred Johnston, E. 7.A. Amer. Ex. Force, France via New York.
Alfred wrote about several people from the area where he grew up; “Nibs” Cartwright, Bishop Israel, Julia Hale and Lou Jenkins.
On July 22nd of 1918 Louis Jenkins was killed in action during the war in France. He is buried there, but does have a cenotaph at the Philipsburg Cemetery.
The Philipsburg VFW Post 3450 is named for Louis Jenkins.
Private Jenkins died at the age of 22 years old.
Alfred Johnston made it home from France
and went onto marry Gladys Eboch. They made their home in Philipsburg.
According to the 1950 census,
Mr. Johnston is listed as being a juke box mechanic.
Alfred passed away in 1964 in Philipsburg.
April 13, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1936
Grampian... Charles Waln Schoenfeld
THE LIFE OF A GRAMPIAN BOY IN 1936...
( excerpts of personal diary text )
In 1936 Charles Waln Schoenfeld was 13 years old. Charles was born in New York City but by the age of 13 he was living in Grampian with his mother (referred to as Dear in his diary), Emma Waln Shoenfeld and sister, Barbara.
Charles began his diary on January 1st of this year. The inscription on the inside cover reads, “Charles Schoenfeld – From Grandpaw 1936”.
On Wednesday, January 1st the diary opens with this description of the day: I had a very happy new year. I went sled riding. We had the day off from school.
Saturday, January 11 - I went out coasting. Stayed out all day except for lunch. Good crust, not very cold.
Wednesday, January 22 - Weather getting colder. Went to school. Rudolph Schrot is our teacher.
Thursday, January 23 – “Blizzardy” 15 degrees below zero. We did not go to school – too cold.
Saturday, January 25 – Warmer, but still below zero. Shoveled our car out as far as Rolly Farewell’s. Bud Smith helped.
Monday, January 27 – Went to school. I am in 7th grade and like rural school and our teacher. Dear is reading to us – 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.
Wednesday, January 29 – It wasn’t very cold. We went to Curwensville to see the fire. It was mostly ice. (Refer to published Throwback Thursday on GANT for January 25, 2023 for fire details)
Saturday, February 8 – Played around all morning. Went to Clearfield in the afternoon. Went to the show and saw “Tale of Two Cities”.
Tuesday, February 11 – Went to school. Very cold. Dear is reading Four in one Western, Don Quick Shot of the Rio Grande.
Tuesday, February 18 – It was colder. Stopped at John Zipf’s for groceries.
Thursday, February 20 – Went to school. It was still pretty cold. Played basketball. Mr. Schrot finished the The Greene Murder Mystery.
Tuesday, March 3 – Went to school. Today is my birthday. I got a pen and pencil in white tone color, a sweater, a watch, a radio game.
Tuesday, March 17 – Didn’t go to school. It poured all day. Floods rising. Clearfield 4 ft. under water.
Wednesday, March 18 – Went to school. Great floods. Johnstown 15 to 16 ft under water. Pittsburgh 18 feet under. The greatest floods in history.
Thursday, March 19 – Went to school. Still flooded. Little old cat had kittens.
Saturday, March 21 – It rained all day. Played with my erector set.
Sunday, March 29 – Grandpaw and I took a walk up the nob. I carved my initials in the tower. Stopped at Clair Wriglesworth’s for a drink of water.
Friday, April 24 – Went to school. Didn’t have any lessons. We had our picnic and have our vacation until September.
Saturday, April 25 – Went to Clearfield. We saw The County Doctor at the movies.
Tuesday, May 5 – We made gardens most all day. Went to Spencer’s. Planted corn and beans.
Friday, May 8 – Played at Spencer’s. Dear went to Grange. I went to the show and saw Trooper’s Three at Grampian.
The last entry in the diary for 1936 was made on May 11th.
Charles Schoenfeld must have went on that summer to continue to live the life of a country boy in Grampian playing with his friends and helping his sister Barbara and his mother.
Charles graduated in 1941 from Clearfield High School. He married and settled in Connecticut. An interesting fact about Charles is that Nora Waln, the famous writer from Grampian was his Aunt.<link Emma Waln Schoenfeld, Charles’ mother, was Nora’s sister.
Charles died in 2003 in Connecticut.
April 6, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1969
St. Francis Convent Nuns...
...with a car !
The Driving Nuns
During the month of April, 1969 people in Clearfield County looked twice as they saw a brand new 1969 Plymouth station wagon gliding down the streets filled with nuns. The Sisters of St. Joseph, at St. Francis Covent, 207 S. 2nd St., Clearfield were gifted this 1969 nine passenger station wagon.
Three parishes raised money through their parishioners to gift the nuns with a vehicle for transportation to aid in the charitable work they were doing. The parishes that helped the Sisters get their new wheels were St. Francis Church of Clearfield, St. Timothy Church of Curwensville and St. Bonaventure Church in Grampian.
In the photo you will see Sister Mary Pascal accepting the keys from Edmund J. Zitzelberger, Knights of Columbus district deputy. On the far left is Charles N. Natoli, Knights of Columbus Council 409 grand knight and Edward J. Master, local Chrysler-Plymouth dealer.
March 30, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1900
Old, WATERING THOUGH IN WINBURNE, PA
The Triangular Landmark in Winburne, PA
Back in the early 1900s before the automobile was gliding down the roads people used horses for their transportation. During that era most visitors to the town of Winburne, Cooper Township, arrived by train, trolley or horse.
Located in the center of the once bustling town was a large triangular watering trough that was built by Peale, Peacock and Kerr and the Pennsylvania Coal and Coke Company in about 1904 when the Winburne water lines were installed. There was a water line that filled the trough for the horses, cattle and other living creatures that would need refreshed. This was built at the bottom of the “Winburne – Lanse Hill” and still is there to this day.
According to Garman Lutz in an article that appeared in The Progress in 1976, he said, “You didn’t see many places back then that didn’t have a horse and cow in the backyard. Salesmen would come into town by train, rent a horse and buggy, and do business with the Winburne Bottling Co. which bottled root beer and other such sodas; the ice cream plant, or the meat market.”
As time marched on and the sound of horse hoofs was lost to the sound of car horns, the watering trough was no longer needed. Around the time of the WWII the pipe distributing water was sealed up.
As many other towns removed their local watering hole, Winburne’s has remained.
In 1976, for the celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States, Mr. Emil Isaacson owned the property where the watering trough was located. He planted it with red, white and blue petunias to mark the birth of our nation.
Other community interests.....
March 23, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1858
The Wallace House
THE WALLACE HOUSE – GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Clearfield County’s first state registered landmark placed on the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission was known as the Wallace House. Senator William A. Wallace built the 30 room house that stood prominently on the corner of East Locust and North Second Streets in 1858. This house was owned and occupied by members of the Wallace family for approximately 100 years. The house was also the home of two Clearfield County judges; Allison O. Smith, the senator’s son-in-law and W. Wallace Smith, his grandson.
The structure had a Tuscan Villa design, a type of Victorian architecture that was quite rare at the time in Pennsylvania. The home contained many exquisite details; marble fireplaces, stained glass windows, Minton tiles, carved cherry banister and railings. The house also featured inlaid parquet floors, window seats, carved walnut chair railings and ceiling high built-in book shelves and china cupboards. One of the original features of the home was a piece of glass paneling in the door of the parlor that was etched with the likeness of William Wallace’s wife, Margaret (Shaw) Wallace. Above the third floor was a cupola which served as an excellent spot to view the entire town.
The yard and grounds were no exception to the extravagant home of the Senator. Tennis courts were located where The Progress office building was once located. The property also had a carriage house and stable in the same area. A building that housed the caretaker stood on the site as well. The yard was surrounded by an iron fence and tall evergreen trees. In the area of the former County National Bank Drive-In (now a paved parking lot) was the formal garden complete with a fountain.
In 1956 the building was sold and it became a rental property with apartments and business offices occupying the once grand estate. The building became the subject of much controversy in 1972 when it was sold to a developer and was ultimately demolished to make way for a Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Letters to the editor in The Progress newspaper appeared frequently with some of the community in favor of progress and others pleading for saving history.
Before the building was razed, hundreds of people were welcomed to tour the 114 year old house one last time. The house took on a festive appearance for the last duty of its long life. Due to lack of electricity, candles and oil lamps were lit for the last look of this iconic Clearfield structure. Community efforts to save this home resulted in the founding of the Clearfield Heritage Foundation.
...after 114 years, 'The Wallace Walls Came Tumbling Down...'
March 16, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1923
2023 Marks, 100th Anniversary of the FARMALL TRACTOR
International engineers worked from the time of WW I
to make a truly universal tractor.
It would be able to have front, mid or rear-mounted implements and a pioneering tricycle front end for steering.
Farmall was innovative in tractor design in many ways.
Model MD, in the early 1940s, was the first commercial tractor to start on gas and run on diesel.
In the 1950s, they produced the first tractors with torque amplifiers and the first 2-wheel drive tractor to exceed 100 horsepower.
In the early 1950s they produced their 1 millionth tractor,
a model M, and reached 5 million in 1974.
Some early models were gray, but in 1937 all models changed to the red that continues to be used today.
The change to red was for appearance and safety, since it improved visibility while they were being driven on roads to the fields.
The model H was widely used in Clearfield County.
There were 390,000 units produced nationwide during the 14-year production life from 1939 to 1954.
Photo #1 - Early Farmall Tractor.
Photo #2 - Farmall tractor on
Meckley Bros. Farm in LaJose, 1951.
Photo #3- Farmall 'M' tractor on
Harry Gearhart’s farm.
Photo #4 - Farmall 'H' tractor bailing at
Blair Porter’s, July 1944.
Photo #5 - Farmall 'H' tractor cutting corn silage at
Paul Forcey’s, September 1947.
Photo #6 - Farmall 'H' tractor cutting grain on
W. V. Carr Farm, July 1944.
March 9, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1923
DuBois Maple Avenue Hospital -
Pheobe Reed Tyler Memorial Nurses' Home
Celebrating Women’s History Month ...
Phebe Reed Tyler (1843-1931)
The Maple Avenue Hospital in DuBois was granted a charter by the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County on May 6, 1912. The land and $10,000 were donated by John E. DuBois for the development of the hospital. The doors to Maple Avenue Hospital were opened on October 8, 1918.
The Articles of Incorporation included “The educating and instructing of persons in the art of nursing.” Phebe Tyler, being a woman of broad education, pledged $15,000 to be used for the Phebe Reed Tyler Memorial Nurses’ Home. When the initial donation was found to be insufficient, Phebe contributed more money and managed the project until it was completed even though she was mainly confined to her bed. The Phoebe Reed Tyler Memorial Nurses’ Home was opened in July 1923.
At the time it opened, the building contained rooms for two students with running water in every room, baths, both shower and bathtubs. There were private rooms for the supervisors, a large living room with fireplace, library and music room along with a comfortable porch. The nursing school was affiliated with the Western Pennsylvania and Allegheny General Hospitals of Pittsburgh and by the Presbyterian Hospital of Philadelphia.
Phebe Tyler was born April 10, 1843, the daughter of David and Isabell (Mahaffey) Tyler. The village of Tyler was named for her father, one of the pioneer
families that settled in Huston Township in 1848. David Tyler, realizing that his family should have a good education, employed a governess for his daughters, and Miss Phebe learned speak French and
German with fluency.
Miss Tyler also contributed greatly to welfare and charity. She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church of Penfield and in her own community. No one ever went by her home who was in need that was not helped.
In the speech she delivered at the dedication for the Nurses’ Home, it was reported in The DuBois Express Miss Tyler said, “This building I have built, not for show, glory or advertisement, but for a nurses’ home. For of all people who deserve a bed to sleep in and a place to rest, it is a nurse.”
The building operated as a nurses’ school until 1932 when state regulations became too complicated.
The building then served as doctors’ offices for many years.
In 2018 the building was demolished for the expansion of the
Penn Highland DuBois East Campus Behavioral Health Hospital.
March 2, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1972
GRAMPIAN and MAPLE SYRUP
TIME TO MAKE THE SYRUP – A SPRING TRADITION THAT LIVES ON
Maple syrup season is upon us in Clearfield County. While driving along you may spot a maple tree with a spout and bucket. The tapping of maple trees in the spring is a tradition that has been around for centuries.
Back in the spring of 1972 Andy McKeown of Grampian explained his technique in an interview to The Progress. Mr. McKeown gave a tour of his “sugar house” which was nestled in a grove of red maple trees. He made his own unique two bucket shoulder yoke for carrying the tree nectar from the 50 some trees he tapped to his sugar house. He talked about how he would strain the sap and then boil it for perhaps days at a time. Andy said, “A lot of people don’t know we do this around here.” He added, “The finished product tastes like…..well, it tastes like gold.”
The tradition lives on throughout the backwoods of Clearfield County. This year a Clearfield County resident took first place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show with his maple syrup. Scott Kolesar, of Spring Valley, produces his own syrup from a grove of sugar maples on his property in his “sugar shack”. The next time you pour maple syrup over your stack of pancakes, you’ll definitely appreciate all the hard work.
February 23, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1972
RAMEY, Ukraniam Church
If Ramey’s Saint Mary’s Annunciation Ukrainian Catholic Church’s Bell Tower Could Talk...
One of the most beautiful structures you will see in Clearfield County is St. Mary’s Annunciation Ukrainian Catholic Church located in Ramey.
In July of 1911, Father Peter Luchetchko with his committee consisting of Dmytro Bungo, Joseph Yaleczko and Michael Haman, contracted Gaetano Tiracordia, an Italian stonemason and contractor from Madera, PA to build the church.
The stone was quarried in Madera and transported to Ramey via mules and wagons. Over 200 pound cut stones (each) were lifted into place for the three story high church. The structure was completed in 1914.
It was Sunday, May 7th, 1972, when the Ukrainian Church was just about to begin 11 am mass smoke and flames began filling the church. Only seconds after the church had been completely evacuated by the 175 parishioners, the smoke blocked the front vestibule. Father Walter Wysochansky, pastor, said in The Progress interview, “It was a miracle!
Thank God, that everyone got out.” The church suffered extensive damage. Fr. Wysochansky took on the enormous task of rebuilding the burnt portions of the church. The church was reroofed, reinsulated and plastered. The interior was gutted and replaced.
The bell tower was near completion in July of 1973, just a little over a year after the disastrous fire.
St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church still stands as a beacon of light in Ramey with a firm foundation and the beautiful high bell tower that has weathered many storms.
February 16, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1968
YMCA Canoe Race
Canoe Racing on the Susquehanna River Draws Crowd
Twenty-five teams of paddlers gathered on Sunday, May 12th, 1968 to enter the water of the Susquehanna River to compete for trophies in five divisions of the First Shawnee Canoe Race. The race was sponsored by the Clearfield YMCA to benefit Camp Shawnee.
Large crowds lined both sides of the Susquehanna River in downtown Clearfield to witness the 50 lively paddlers. It was written in the May 13, 1968 edition of The Progress that contestants raced against the clock. The race started at 3 pm with each canoe leaving the starting point in one minute intervals. The race route stretched over 3 miles beginning at R.L. Zimmerman Concrete Company, now Swisher Concrete Products, two and a half miles west of Clearfield on Route 322 and the Nichols Street Bridge which was the finishing point.
Safety precautions were taken with The Clearfield CB Radio Club and the Clearfield Boating Club on hand for rescue and communication services. Officials at the starting line were Bill Brion, E.E. Sankey, Ash Cowder, Elmer Fulesday and Art Weiss. Judges at the finish line were Stanley Crum,
Harry Lawson, Tom Morgan and Rev. Vernon Miller.
The results were as follows:
1. Terry Holt and Randy Butler, 25:40
2. Santo Ricotta and Rick Ricotta, 26:19
3. Alex Vezza and Chris Rowles, 26:32
4. James Moore and Don Beauseigneur, 26:35
5. (Tie) Fred Wisor and Robert Maines
and James Stevens and G.R. Gobel, 27:10
6. Don Cassler and George Duckett, 27:16
7. Tom Leitzinger and Mike Reese, 27:48
8. James Armstrong and Bill Armstrong, 28:16
9. Gilbert Hevenor and Michael Hevenor, 29:13
1. Kenny Barnes and Terry McTavish, 26:48
2. George Riley and Joe Breth, 27:13
3. Paul Bowers and Jack Tylwalk, 27:18
4. Jerry Wood and Jerry Bush, 27:32
5. Lee Sunderland and Allen Sunderland, 28:01
6. John Burns and Alan Cowfer, 28:57
7. Henry Silberblatt and Werne Ziegler, 29:59
8. Jack Yingling and Steve VonGunden, 31:33
9. Rick Gray and Ken Thomas, 32:32
10. Robert Houser and Jim Owens, upset near finish line
Junior and Senior Combination Division:
1. Doug Rabe and Darlene Jury, 27:24
2. Sam Livingston and Debbie Read, 28:18
3. Sue Beard and Martha Beard, 28:54
4. Joe Santinoceto and Cindy Mann, 32:16
5. Amy Greenwood and Ken Greenwood, 33:45
Special Division – Civic Club Race-
1. Rotary Club – James Brouse and Robert Witford
2. Kiwanis’s Club – Barry Lee and Paul Yoder
3. Clearfield Legion – Dominic Loddo and Charles Krey
4. Clearfield Area Jaycees – Dave McCracken and Carl Spicer
5. The Eagles Club
6. The Lions Club
Special Division –Disc Jockey Race:
1. WCPA (Clearfield) – Stu Chamberlain and Bob E. Day
2. WVAM (Altoona) – John Benedick and Bill Robins
Trophies below, presented at Lower Witmer Park.
click photos for blow-ups...
February 9, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' - Wallaceton
Deep Musical Roots Spring from the Wallaceton Band
The Progress, June 19, 1940
“Strange as it may seem the 32 piece Wallaceton Band, which has been newly-uniformed to make its appearance here on July 4th is pretty much a family affair. Statistics show 26 members of the 32 piece band are related in one way or another. In the band the name WILLIAMS appears 13 times, GOOD appears three times and KNEPP appears seven times. The SHAW name appears twice. The WILLIAMS, GOOD and KNEPP and a member by the name of HAMER are also related. The band was organized in 1922”. However, there was a Wallaceton Band in 1900 and two members, Mitchell KNEPP and Harvey KNEPP, were still members of the band in the 1940s when the band was disbanded.
Wallaceton was incorporated in 1873, upon petition of Robert WALLACE and others, but Henry FOULK was the first settler within the lines of present day Wallaceton in 1814-15. Wallaceton consists of 426 acres with 224 acres from the James H. TURNER farm and the 202 acres owned by James B. GRAHAM and William A. WALLACE. GRAHAM and WALLACE laid out streets and lots in one area in 1868 and began selling lots. The expansion of the railroad would be important to Wallaceton and the timber industry.
The Tyrone and Clearfield Railroad Company completed rail connections between Philipsburg and Clearfield in 1869. The Beech Creek, Clearfield and Southwestern Railroad line was constructed in 1884. Both railroads had stations in Wallaceton. The railroad was a boom to the lumber industry. Wallaceton had a steam powered sawmill from 1869-1882. “There is a large steam powered sawmill here and its trade in lumber is quite large.” (Caldwell’s 1878 Atlas)
The Wallaceton Fire Brick Company was the first manufacturing industry of the borough incorporated in 1881, with William WALLACE as president. They used clay from local mines on the SHIMMEL and SMEAL properties. In 1902, Harbison-Walker Refractories Company purchased Wallaceton Fire Brick Company and manufactured bricks there until 1954. Other Wallaceton businesses included the Harbison-Walker Company Store, The Vulcan Trading Company, Stevens General Store, E.K. Turner’s Gristmill, Edward Milligan’s Gas Station, Hamer’s Restaurant and Hummel’s Grocery Store among others.
February 2, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1851 - 1940
Sara Schofield -- Union Township
Sara Schofield was one of 10 children born to Joseph Schofield and Elizabeth Aikins Schofield. Sara’s father Joseph worked in the woolen factory on Anderson Creek, Lower Rockton. The
family lived on a farm located nearby on Spruce Hill, along the Snow Shoe/Packerville Turnpike.
Sara lived on the farm and, at the age of 25, taught at the Spruce Hill School in 1876. On June 5th, 1876, Sara opened school with eleven scholars. Her diary states that the air was cold, and she kept a fire during the school day which opened with Scripture reading.
On July 4th of that year Sara accompanied her family to the Clearfield Fairgrounds for Independence Day celebrations. She walked downtown to view the “new” jail built by George Thorn in 1870-73. Later at the fairgrounds she listened to a speech by Mr. Murray (the first president of the Clearfield County Historical Society), enjoyed music during their picnic dinner, heard the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and danced with a crowd of 80 people.
In September she rode the train from Clearfield to Philadelphia to attend the Centennial Exhibition. She watched the Odd Fellows Parade and attended many of the exhibitions. Her diary entry is detailed with many grand experiences, which were fascinating to this girl who lived life on a first-generation farm in rural Clearfield County.
Sara went on to teach at other schools such as the Hubert School (near Rumbarger Cemetery in DuBois), Home Camp, and Winterburne. She never married. She passed away on Dec. 31, 1940 and is buried next to her brothers Joseph and Arthur in the Rockton Cemetery.
You can read more about her in the Bulletin of the Clearfield County Historical Society or read the transcript of her diary (above) at the Society’s Alexander Research Center.
January 26, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1936!
Click for blow-up
DISASTEROUS FIRES SWEEPS CURWENSVILLE BUSINESS SECTION
Disaster struck on a bitterly cold Friday night, January 25, 1936, with temperatures hovering around zero or below.
A Kerosene heater, used to heat water, exploded in the Gilbert Norris barber shop and quickly spread to the adjoining Herald newspaper office and spread in both directions. Norris’ was located on the west side of the alley between Thompson and Walnut streets and on the north side of State Street.
Intense cold temperatures hampered the firefighters and caused hoses and other equipment to freeze up. Water flowing down the street froze into a solid mass. It was reported the lows were minus 18 degrees.
Curwensville Fire Dept. was assisted by Clearfield and DuBois. The firemen kept on the job all the next day, the 26th, pouring water onto the smoking and ice incrusted ruins.
Curwensville Fire Chief Benner chartered a bus to take the Clearfield firemen home so they would not have to ride on the open pieces of apparatus.
At least 10 businesses and four homes were lost. And smoke hung over the ruins for several days afterwards.
January 19, 2023 - 'Throwback Thursday' to 1907!
Brown's Boot Shops
...founded in DuBois and expanded in 47 years
to 24 stores in the area.
Original store opened in 1907, then
Bellefonte, Bradford, Brookville, Clarion
Clearfield, DuBois, Emporium, Franklin
Greenville, New Bethlehem, Oil City
St. Marys, Warren, Washington,
Olean & Salamanca, NY
Frederick Joseph Brown
founded Brown Boot Shops. He also served as president of Union Banking and Trust Co. for 25 years and was president of Vulcan Soot Blower Corp. He was a former director of Triangle Spring Co. of DuBois and County National Bank in Clearfield.
Mr. Brown also raised purchred Hereford cattle at Browncrest Farms, an 1,100-acre tract in Lawrence Township. He was born on the farm in 1886, son of Lewis and Annie (Read) Brown. He attended school in Clearfield and in boyhood worked in mercantile establishments until he was 21.
In 1907 he came to DuBois to open and take charge of the Conn-Allen Shoe Store.
A year later he went into the retail show business on his own at DuBois, met with success and began acquiring and opening stores in other towns.
January 12, 2023 - 'Throwback' to 1908 !
Throw Back Thursday:
'Woodland’s Iron Man'
Boxing was one of the most popular sports in the Clearfield County region, ranking right up there with baseball, prior to the World War II era. In the 1930s one of the most well-known boxers in the state was Jesse Duke, known as “the Pride of Woodland” and also “Woodland’s Iron Man.”
Jesse was born in Woodland to his parents Ashley Woolridge Duke and Nettie (Jury) Duke in 1908. He was raised in Woodland and had an interest in boxing while growing up. Charley, Jesse’s younger brother, also took a liking to the sport.
The fighting weight for Jesse was 127 to 130 pounds. He was well known for his left-hander. Throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s it was written in local newspapers that Jesse competed in many promoted matches. Some of his fellow boxing mates from Clearfield County at the time included, Bill Flannigan, Dick McClure, Dick and George Duckett, Art Hockman, Blair Mann, Jake Kanter, Al Pyle, Teddy Misko, Monk Fox, Bobby Barrett, Dick Houston, Barney Nevling and his brother Charley Duke.
In July of 1930 Duke had won his last six fights with four of them as knock-outs. An article describing a fight at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona was published in the September 27, 1927 edition of the Altoona Tribune “Jesse Duke of Clearfield and Billy Palm of Johnstown put up the best bout of the night. Five times Duke had his foe on the floor only to see him rise for further punishment.” “It was by far the best bout of the night with Duke the winner by a wide margin.” On this same night at the Mishler Barney Nevling of Coalport was in the ring with Red Cuzzolino battling to a six round draw.
Jesse Duke went on to marry and raise two sons. Jesse worked for Harbison-Walker. He and his wife Celia (Martell) both died in 1978.
Home Camp Church on the Backroads of Union Township reproduced January 5, 2022
The Home Camp Methodist Church has served this little community in Union Township since 1894. Early pioneer families from the area, instrumental in its establishment were the Harley family from Spruce Hill, the Dresslers, Browns, Werty’s, Shaffer’s, and Baileys. Prior to the church being built the little congregation met in the nearby school-house which housed eight grades. The school-house bell is installed next to the church along with a war memorial.
The contract for the church was given on Oct. 21, 1984, and the cornerstone was laid on Nov. 2nd of that year. The stone foundation was laid by Samuel Hoover who lived in the
community. George Campbell drew the plans and was the head carpenter. Construction took place as the money was available.
Over the years, some changes have been made, each time to help modernize the building for use by the parishioners. Originally heated with two pot-bellied stoves which the attendees sat around in winter months the congregation decided to excavate under the church to add a coal furnace. In 1954 a remodel inside the church was done to add four classrooms, and in 1988 the whole church was raised for a proper basement which added a fellowship room, kitchen, and bathrooms. The original windows of the church were plain glass windows eventually being replaced by colored glass.
Should you be out for a drive in the country, stop and notice the “modern” stained glass windows. Built by William Rensel in memory of his father Bernard, and installed by Paul Orcutt in 1979. The windows tell the story of the Bible starting with Creation, Garden of Eden, Flood, Birth, Death, Jesus’ Resurrection, Communion and Christ as our Anchor. Two front windows depict crosses for the saved and unsaved. The large front inside window, installed in 1949 is of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. You might enjoy your picnic lunch in the attached pavilion at the rear of the church while you enjoy the peaceful setting. Remember to leave the area neat and tidy like you find it while you contemplate nearly 200 years of area history.
'Throwback Thursday': Shoot-Out in Clearfield Town - reproduced December 29, 2022
During the Civil War, deputy provost marshals were charged with seeing that all of those who should go off to war did so.
A special deputation from a military unit stationed at Brookville arrived at daybreak one Sunday morning at the Clearfield County home of a Joseph Lansberry (Lounsberry) to arrest him for having failed to report for the draft.
In the early morning darkness, the men – four of them – forced their way into the home and in an exchange of gunfire one of the arresting officers, Sgt. Cyrus Butler, was killed. Lansberry was wounded in the arm. The affair rocked Clearfield.
Lansberry, who was known as an outspoken objector to the war, was placed in the county jail but as had happened before in similar although not quite as serious circumstances, the door was not locked too securely and he didn’t stay there long.
The next day, two of the arresting party had an encounter with a friend and two relatives of the accused man and shot it out in the middle of Clearfield Town, one of them using the barroom of the Mansion Hotel for a fort.
“Our community is quite unused to such scenes,” reported The Clearfield Republican.
This is a photo of the Mansion Hotel (now the location of the Dimeling Hotel) after the flood in June of 1889.
Throwback Thursday: A Bloody Day at Knox to Never Be Forgotten - reproduced Dec. 8, 2022
The log cabin pictured is the scene where 158 years ago the “Shootout at Bloody Knox” occurred.
On December 13th, 1864, Union Soldiers of the 16th Veteran Reserve Corp (VRC) surrounded the cabin and demanded the surrender of deserter Thomas Adams.
Adams shot and killed Union Soldier Edgar L. Reed and he was also shot and killed while attempting to escape.
The “Bloody Knox” name came about because the cabin is located Knox Township, near the present day Kellytown.
The Adams cabin was built on property owned by John Chase. Adams was recruited by Chase initially to cut timber and later to join the 149TH Pennsylvania Bucktails.
Civil War veteran Daniel Barnett purchased the cabin in 1867 and lived there with his family as a farmer until 1885. Seven of his eleven children were born in the cabin.
...same cabin 158 years later...!
'Throwback Thursday' - Camp Glen Bonarr
Lumber City’s Camp Glen Bonarr
– An Old Time Destination
Camp Glen Bonarr was a popular local vacation spot in the early 1900s. It was on the banks of the Susquehanna River just a few miles above what was Lumber City. The land was situated on the Watts property and was operated by Samuel Watts (1857-1924) where his farm was located.
There was a magnificent view at Camp Glen Bonarr from the hill looking southeast toward Lumber City. People would travel to gather and picnic. One article written in The Monitor of Clearfield, a weekly newspaper established in 1892, stated that when a party of visitors arrived at the river they found an excellent bridge designed and constructed by Eli Hile (1845-1926).
It was also written that there was a huge cavernous pile of rocks that formed the most unique freak of nature in that part of the world. Camp Glen Bonarr was a favorite place for family reunions, picnics and conventions. Memories of hayrides were also penned and noted.
Samuel Watts discontinued the Camp Glen Bonarr in 1913. The land was later used by the state to build the Curwensville Dam.
This piece of poetry is archived at the Clearfield County Historical Society. The information regarding the author is “Jerusha”.
Where the lovely Susquehanna leaps in beauty mongst the hills;
Where the sunshine glows in splendor and birds’ sweetest music thrills,
There lies a fair, green valley which know both near and far:
This vale that lies by the river’s side, Is the beautiful “Glen Bonarr”
Hemmed in the rugged mountains and the river singing loud,
‘Tis a calm retreat for weary man far from the maddening crowd.
As though we’re worn out pilgrims, we viewed the land afar,
There is this spot we pitched our tents and call it “Camp Bonarr”.
All care to the winds was flung, the winds wept down to the sea
And the hills re-echoed again and again with the sounds of merry glee.
Around the bon fire gathered on many a star-lit night,
With laugh and song and merry jest, we formed a welcome sight.
And oft sweet memory softly rolled the thread of thought along,
Recalling dimly to each mind a half forgotten song.
Then floated the strains of “Twilight” or “Home Sweet Home” on the air;
Till in fancy we stood in childhood’s fields surrounded by sunlight fair.
Or, gathered in the “Drawing Room” when the night grew late and dark;
When the bon fire sank to embers and it grew too cold to spark.
Then John – Oh! “Watts” his name? You know him well enough –
Enjoyed with all the others a game of Blind Man’s Bluff.
And how we laughed at the John – to whose length there was no lack,
As he stood blindfolded in our midst, crying quack, quack, quack.
And ne’er shall be forgotten Pap’s sermon to children dear
As grouped around that barrel, we listened with dread and fear.
To his advice to Nancy – It seemed to bare her gate,
Be sure when you goes fishin’ be sure you has good bait;
And if you haven’t got none don’t sit you down and bawl,
But “Steele” it from your neighbor, Is my advice to “Hall”.
With jest and song the evening passed then to our bunks we’d go,
While “Amos Quito” sang to us his little tale of woe.
When wrapped in slumber’s softest robes, the camp grew dark and still,
And naught was heard but the river’s voice and the cry of the whip-poor-will.
Or a softly rustling sound about us here and there
As if to say their evening prayer.
So very still was nature upon river’s shore and hill,
That one could almost fancy the slopes with their red men still.
Each morning brought its pleasures in games of strength and grace
Croquet and quoits and town ball and the lively “prisoners” Base,
Dominoes, checkers, reading for the quiet ones you see,
But for the noisy youngsters the “Hindmost One of Three”.
Best of all was the “Straw Ride” to the homestead on the hill
Three cheers for Sam and John, boys let us give them with a will.
And thanks to the kindly brother whose arms were open wide
To receive the same “Straw Party” on that same eventful ride.
Judge Watt’s Court of Justice in its punishments did dole,
While the jury drank full deeply and the tipstaff climbed his pole:
While “Caudle” fought for freedom from “Mrs. Caudle “ dear,
And the bashful girl watched quietly with many a furtive tear.
The “Deestrict Skule” for learning was famous far and wide;
In the primary class “Little Leslie”, “Jerushy” by his side,
And little Willie Thompson always sat long side the wall.
While Kate, the baseball “Striker “ liked to linger in the hall.
When “Little Ada” said her speech in a meek and timid voice,
We other scholars always knew she was the teacher’s choice.
Our taffy pull one rainy day was heaps and heaps of fun.
We only wish we had the time to show you how ‘twas done.
We’d like to tell the other things too great for mortal pen-
But you know I know children, these bones shall rise again.
So let me just remind you of the things you’d like to know;
Of the table filled with good things and the benches bending low.
Of the “Hammock Parlor” shady and wading parties fair,
And the men who went a giggling and the girls hugged by the “Bair”,
The day we raised the flag, raided our patriotism too,
So let us not forget the “Monk” or that day we’ll surely “Rue”.
Let me remind you of the “Boxer” who gave no loving pats;
But – I’ll swat you in de gob and I’ll punch you in de slats.
Shall we e’er forget our “mammy”, our “mammy” fond and dear,
Who tucked us gently in our bunks and told us not to fear.
Our “Barrs” of happiness were few on the dear old camping ground,
And our hearts turn back in longing as the days go round and round.
Back to the busy, hustling world our humble place to fill,
While “Glen Bonarr” is silent, guarded by river and hill.
Through it should be our lot to wander long and far.
We’ll ne’er forget the friends we knew at dear old “Camp Bonarr”.
We’ll cherish all things beautiful which memory can recall,
While our hearts go out in praise to Him, the Giver of all.
The Kerr House Museum and Genealogy Research Center are open for visitors
Sunday & Thursday
1:30 to 4:30 PM
Write us at...Clearfield County Historical Society
511 Van Valzah Ave.
Clearfield, PA 16830
Phone: 814-768-7318 for a brief recording...
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
3. 'BLOODY KNOX' Cabin Museum:
6246 Curwensville - Tyrone Hwy.
Olanta, PA 16863
Stay current by visiting this web site and our facebook for updated information.
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