ABC Guide to the Indiana County Historical Society Part 1

Are you thinking about visiting the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County?  Here is a short little guide to help you if you decide to visit:
Armory building is headquarters for the Historical Society, located at 621 Wayne Avenue.  The building was built in 1922 and served as the National Guard Armory until the new one was built, at which time it was purchased by the Historical Society. As visitors walk inside they get a glimpse of the past; on the floor are the remnants of a basketball court, and many visitors reminisce about basketball games held here.
Old Armory, Historical Society headquarters
Basement, which is only opened to volunteers and staff, but many artifacts, documents, and supplies are housed here.  We are fortunate to have such a vast storage area for our many items.

Clark House, the main attraction, stepping inside is like going back in time. There are two restored parlors with furniture from the time period along with a working pump organ, which can be heard at Christmas time pouring out Christmas Carols.  The only downside to this historic building is only the first floor is open to visitors, but maybe one day with large donations the second floor could be restored.  The third floor is dark and cramped; this would have been the servants’ quarters – it is amazing to realize that people lived in these conditions.  The most interesting portion of the home is the cupola, which is just a small square room with windows on all sides, overlooking Indiana.

Clark House

Donations, donations, donations!  The most important part of running and operating a historical society are donations. These can be monetary, artifact donations, family trees, or time.  Donations are a major source of income besides memberships, these are what enables us to give education programs and remain open.

Educate, is one of the points of the Historical Society’s mission statement: to preserve, collect and education the public about the history of Indiana County.
Funding? People get confused on how we are funded, we are funded mostly by memberships and donations.  The money we receive from county and state government grants are a very small fraction of our income.  We need your help to remain open.
Ghosts, are they here? Maybe, maybe not.  If you want to find out I suggest you watch our Facebook, Twitter, and the blog for the answer, there is a possibility of doing paranormal investigations of our property later this year or if you would rather come to a reception in October to hear what was found.  The question of whether or not there are ghosts is up to you to decide!
Help! We are always looking for volunteers to help with various tasks around the Society, this ranges from cataloging objects, to giving tours, to cleaning.
Indiana is a small town in Western Pennsylvania. Yes a town, not the state.  We’re the hometown of Jimmy Stewart, the actor.  John F. Kennedy visited here in 1960; he gave a speech in front of the Old Courthouse.  Bet some of you had no idea we had a famous visitor.  Then there’s IUP, or as it was originally know the Indiana Normal School or the State Teachers’ College; no matter what you know it as there is a lot of history on the campus.

John F. Kennedy in Indiana on a campaign stop in 1960
Junk.  Many people wonder if their old things are worth something or if it is just junk.  It depends, every object has a story, and you never know where the objects could turn up.  We have ledgers and journals from the 1800’s and lots of other neat artifacts to see our wide array of artifacts you will need to come visit us.
Keys.  Not only do keys unlock doors, but every one of us holds the keys to unlocking the past.  We can better tell the story of the community by compiling everyone’s story and making history come alive and prosper for future generations.
Library. The Society has an extensive library, including family histories, books about Indiana County and the surrounding area.  If you are looking for family obituaries or information about historic locations in the County be sure to look at our subject and surname files which have newspaper clippings many from the early 1900s.
Next door is Memorial Park, well a park that doubles as a cemetery.  I know, what a crazy thought.  This is Indiana County’s smallest park.  Most of the graves that were located here have been moved, but some are left, many of whom are veterans some from the Revolutionary War.   While in Memorial Park look up to view the doughboy statue placed there in memory of the veterans who have and who are serving.  If you are ever in Indiana during the summer months be sure to visit the Concert in Parks on Sundays.

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Through a broad range of activities, The Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County seeks to promote a greater appreciation of the Indiana community's rich heritage and a better understanding of life today.

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