Our October Halloween themed events went incredibly well. We ended up either selling out or having a full house for many of the events. There was plenty of collaboration between multiple organizations to make all things possible. The month was a fun one between the investigations, School Spirits, and the Specters Reveal. Needless to say October was an incredibly active month at the HGSIC.
The School Spirits event was a collaboration between the Historical Society and The Young Professionals of Indiana County (YPO). The lecture presented the evidence of the paranormal that has been collected at the now demolished Keith and Leonard Halls on IUP’s campus. The YPO spearheaded the creation of the event and donated a sizeable portion of the proceeds to the Society. We are grateful for their generous donation and look forward to working with them in the future. Special thanks to Crisp Entertainment for providing a superb video and audio setup. The quality equipment made the evidence that much more chilling. Due to the success of this event, the Society already has future programs in the works with the YPO. It is great to see a group take interest in the preservation and presentation of history in Indiana County. Stay tuned for more to come!
The Society was also thrilled to work once again with the Paranormal Society of IUP (PSIUP) and Ghost Researchers in Pennsylvania (GRiP). Both groups contributed the content, equipment, and personnel for the paranormal investigations that took place, as well as the reveal on October 28th. Participants were able to investigate both of the Society’s historic structures while utilizing proper ghost hunting equipment. At the conclusion of the investigations, Dr. Laurel Black from IUP provided multiple lectures for both the School Spirits and Specters Reveal. We are grateful for her contribution and are thrilled at her willingness to work with the Society. With October now over, the ghosts will need to wait another year for investigators to once again make their ways through the Society’s halls.
The happenings this month were all enjoyable, however, the Society also believes in supporting other community organizations. With that in mind, a portion of the ticket sales from the investigations and the reveal will be donated to the women’s imaging center located at IRMC as in previous years. It was great to work with other community organizations and we look forward to collaboration on future events. With that being said, the spirits of the Society can rest for another year, until the chill of October once again brings visitors back to explore the spookier side Indiana has to offer.
The Society is able to accomplish many of its goals thanks to the dedication and hard work of its volunteers. Each year at our annual meeting we take the time to honor their work and recognize those who have gone above and beyond the everyday calling. This year after reviewing the credentials of numerous candidates, the nomination committee had chosen to bestow Andy See with the volunteer of the year award.
Andy graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a degree in history. Shortly after graduation, he began to volunteer at the Historical Society. Between that time and now he has used the skills he gained during his education to aid the Society in the maintenance and organization of its records. Andy also displays a high level of competence when it comes to computers, which made him the perfect candidate for the current project he is working on.
Stationed at a desk where the surname files are kept, Andy can be seen most days of the week chipping away at the massive pile of records. The contents of each folder are methodically scanned page by page. Like clockwork Andy knows precisely how many pages he can scan within a given time period and often will not stop until he reaches the goal he set for himself that day.
In this year alone Andy has logged over 200 hours of service for the Society. To put this in perspective, there are 26,000 surname files for Andy to scan. At this point he is about one-quarter of the way through. Andy will most likely clock an additional 50 hours before the year’s end. When the project is completed the records will be searchable and more secure than they were before, ensuring that future generations will be able to access the information.
The digitization is a feat within itself. However, Andy is not only diligent in his scanning, but he is also a fantastic writer and has contributed multiple articles to the Clark House News. A series of Andy’s articles spotlighted prominent individuals from Indiana County and brought to light the diverse talent the region has produced over the past century.
Andy treats his volunteer work like a full-time job and has exhibited a high level of dedication. He is also incredibly friendly with the staff and other volunteers and is not shy to strike up a conversation. We are incredibly grateful for Andy’s service to the Society and are thankful that he has chosen our organization to donate his time and efforts to. It is great to see a young individual concerned with the preservation of the past and the improvement of their community.
At the end of last month business was settled for the year at the Society’s 2017 Annual Membership Meeting. During this time the general membership and the board convene to reflect on the progress made over the past year and make the necessary plans to succeed in the next. This meeting marked the 79th time that business of the Society was carried out since its founding. A number of individuals were recognized and of course there was a program highlighting one of the many historical topics of the county.
The night began with a salute to the flag lead by Gene Decker and the invocation provided by Reverend Dick Cassel. The president’s report was then issued, which covered the numerous accomplishments of the Society over the past year and touched upon the many individuals that have made our success possible. It is amazing how much can happen in a matter of twelve months. Looking back, it really is the small accomplishments and the daily efforts that have the most impact. With that we thank those who made that success possible.
Following the President’s report, the Treasurer issued a report on the financial status of the Society, which I am pleased to report is in good standing. The Nominating Committee then presented their selections for new board members and it appears we will have some fine new additions come January. It is important to note that a good deal of work goes into the nomination process. Keep an eye out for future posts introducing each new Board member early next year. With the election of new board members we also took the time to thank those who are stepping down from their current positions. We are grateful for their service and wish them the best in the future.
President JoAnne McQuilking giving her report
To conclude the business meeting, the Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Andy See for his exemplary work digitizing records. Keep an eye out for a future post highlighting his accomplishments, since they are too numerous to list here. In short, Andy has been diligent in his attendance and is a fine example of how small daily tasks can make a big difference. We thank Andy for his work and look forward to his continued service to the Society.
After business concluded for the evening, guests made their way to the Clark House to close out the evening with some light refreshments and a program exploring the fascinating history behind Silas Clark and his house. The presentation included old photographs and maps of the structure the Society has called home for so many years. Many fantastic questions were asked and the unanswered ones will surely lead to more research and a more complete picture of the home’s history.
With the meeting now over and business in good standing, we have our sights set on the goals for the year to come. Now it is up to us to face the challenges ahead in 2018! Thank you to all that attended and we look forward to working with you to improve the Society in the coming months.
Veterans Day is the day that is set aside to remember all American veterans who have served. The history of the holiday traces back to 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, of when an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. The holiday became a federal holiday in 1938, and after the Korean War Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day.
Veterans Day is an important day for all of us to remember those who have lost our lives and thank those who are serving the country today. The day is marked by parades and commemorative ceremonies, the laying of the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier is one of those ceremonies that will take place. We have our memorial to the veterans here in Indiana County, located behind the Historical Society in Memorial Park. In the center of the park stands a doughboy statue that was dedicated on Memorial Day 1925.
The doughboy in Memorial Park was made possible thanks to many community members including: Alex Stewart (Jimmy Stewart’s father), Steele Ober, A.F. Blessing, Samuel Wolfe, Harry Campbell, George K. Clark, Edgar Walker and Richard Watson. The column upon which the statue sits was originally part of the old Farmers’ Bank building on Philadelphia Street. Interestingly, it took a lot for the citizens of Indiana to put the statue up at the current site.
The land was owned, acquired by a gift, by the Lutheran church on which they began to construct a church, but ran short of funds and then planned to sell the trees and part of land to finance building on another part. A group of local veterans opposed selling the land and mounted a campaign to erect a memorial on the property. Part of the group, led by Alex Stewart, began digging a hole for the pedestal’s foundation. Later that night the church group, filled in the hole; and once again the group dug the hole and the church group filled it in again. However, this time the group erected a fence and placed a no trespassing sign at the site. Eventually Indiana bought the land and the Doughboy statute was placed where Stewart and the group wanted it to be placed.
This Veterans Day enjoy the parade, and if you have time visit the Historical Society Museum where we have a wonderful display on the second floor dedicated to all Indiana County Veterans. Remember those who have lost their lives and thank those that are currently serving and have served. From the staff and volunteers at the Historical Society we thank our veterans!
The year is almost over, however, the Society still has a few events taking place before the final days of 2017 run out. With the holidays now upon us it is time for family and friends. At this time of the year it is important to address closings since our schedule this year differs somewhat from that of last. Regardless it is going to be a busy conclusion to the year and we hope you can join us to be a part of that.
On November 16ththe Society will hold its final fundraiser of the year. We will be hosting a community night at Hoss’s. All you need to do to support the Society is you dine at the Hoss’s on Wayne Avenue on the above mentioned date and present a participation card which is available at the museum. At the conclusion of the day, the Society will get a portion of the total sales. This is a fantastic opportunity to support local history while also getting the chance to have some great food. Contact the Historical Society for additional cards or if you have any questions.
The Society looks to once again hold its annual Christmas Open House early next month on Friday December 8th. The Clark House will be beautifully decorated by the Evergreen Garden Club in the traditional Victorian style and the exterior will be aglow with seasonal lighting. There are two pieces of entertainment set up for that night. First, we have the Indiana Junior High School choir directed by Mrs. Ellen Werner at 7 p.m., and later on in the evening at 7:30 p.m. the Indiana Brass Band will perform traditional holiday tunes on historic brass instruments. As always there will be refreshments available and the museum will be open to tour. There is no admission cost and all are welcome for this wonderful holiday celebration.
Clark House Decorated for Christmas 2016
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching it is important to note museum hours surrounding the holiday. The Society will be closed the week of the 19th and will reopen its doors on Tuesday the 28th. This time off will allow staff and volunteers to spend time with their family and come back refreshed for the remainder of the year.
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the Society wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday. We have much to be thankful for here at the Society: the dedicated volunteers, our fantastic Board, two wonderful historic buildings, the contributions of those that came before us, and let’s not forget our membership which enables the Society to continue to serve the community and preserve the past.