Indiana Glass

What is now Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s (IUP) Miller Stadium and parking lot, was one the location of a prominent business in Indiana, the Indiana Glass Company. Beginning in 1892 and continuing until 1931, there were a total of five different companies that manufactured glass.

The first of these glass companies was the Indiana Glass Company, which was in operation from 1892-1896. On January 1, 1892, a group of community leaders met with Mr. Nevill, a visiting glass expert, who had a proposal to build a glass factory that would be for manufacturing glass. $35,000 in stock was raised and the Indiana Glass Company was formed. Harry White, W.B. Marshall, Griffith Ellis, Thomas Sutton, John S. Hastings, H.W. Wilson, and Delos A. Hetric were named as directors and Harry was elected president and authorized the raising of capital stock to $50,000. The total cost for building and equipping the factory was $29,000. Sadly, the Indiana Glass Company was not successful financially and it was sold in October 1895 at a Sheriff’s sale.

workers
Company glass workers taking a break, possibly at the Pan American Exhibition.

Following was the Northwood Glass Company, in operation from 1896-1899. Harry C. Northwood, an English immigrant, was the founder of the Northwood Glass Company. Harry leased the Indiana glass plant in February 1896 and glass production resumed once again in Indiana that March. Harry’s father, John Northwood, was an innovator in acid etching of glass and invented a template machine for decorating.  Harry Northwood went on to establish many other glass factories. Mr. Northwood employed his cousin, Thomas E. Dugan, as plant foreman. Harry considered moving his glassworks to Blairsville, but thankfuly in 1898 an agreement was reached with Indiana Borough Council, so that Thomas Dugan, and Harry and Clara Northwood could purchase the factory.

In 1899, the Northwood Glass Company was sold to the National Glass Company of Pittsburgh. However, Thomas Dugan remained in control of the Indiana factory and operated it from 1900-1904.

A unique piece made by the glass company for the 1901 Pan American Exhibition in Buffalo, NY was a full-sized gown made of spun glass. AlAccording to Alfred Dugan’s wife Mayme, the dress would have “made them famous if it wasn’t for the assassination of President McKinley.” Alfred was one of the managers of the company at the time.

dress
The mannequin wearing a full-sized gown of spun glass.

In 1904, the plant again changed hands, when Thomas E.A. Dugan and several other investors purchased the factor creating the Dugan Glass Company, which remained in operation until 1913.  The Dugan Glass Company was best known for its production of carnival glass and introduced many different designs. On February 5, 1912, tragedy struck when a fire swept through the factory’s mold shop and destroyed many expensive glass patterns, causing $20,000 worth of damage. In 1913, the company again changed names, as Thomas Dugan sold the factory to Diamond Glassware Company.

The Diamond Glasware Company also produced carnival glass using many of the molds and patterns originally created by Thomas E.A. Dugan. They also introduced many new patterns as well. Miraculously the company continued producing through World War I and into the Great Depression, but disaster struck on June 27, 1931.  A fire destroyed most of the factory, this included the stockroom and $30,000 of finished glass. When all was said and done, the total loss was $100,000, and the factory closed permanently, thus ending almost 4 decades of glass production in Indiana, PA.

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The Eloquent J.P. Carter Home

Many people are familiar with the point in Indiana, the intersection of School Street, Sixth Street, and Wayne Avenue, as there are so many historic homes in this area. Two of the main homes are the Silas M. Clark House and the J.P. Carter Home (known as the Heritage Inn Suites). The history behind the J.P. Carter Mansion is an interesting one, and his story intertwines with our very own Silas Clark. The home was built in 1870, at the same time as Mr. Clark built his home. Carter had the single-family dwelling built at a cost of $30,000 (a little over $500,000 today). The house was built on a tract of 3 and a half acres of what was considered at the time as “the most desirable location in Indiana.” Mr. Clark began construction on his home, at the point, in 1869 and completed in 1870; Mr. Clark had obtained the architect whom Carter had desired, so he deliberately built a larger home than his neighbor. Not only was it larger in size, but it was also taller at the time.

Clark House
Silas M. Clark House

There is not much information regarding J.P. Carter, except that he married Nancy Ralston and he was involved in banking. The Indiana Progress reported on August 4, 1870 that the “large and costly residence of Mr. James P. Carter” was just about finished and would be ready for occupancy that coming winter.  The paper called the home “one of the finest private residences in the Western part of the state.”  By 1872, both Silas Clark and James Carter had pavements laid around their elegant homes. In 1874, it was sadly reported in the Indiana Messenger that the home would be put up for sale as Mr. Carter fell on hard times financially and his health was declining. Following is the description that was reported:

The cellar is nine feet high in the clear and divided into five compartments. The first floor consists of five rooms, parlor, library, bed chamber, large dining room, with kitchen, and wash house attached, one and a half stories high, with large cellar under the whole of it. Elegant range in the kitchen, and bake-oven in the wash house. The main hall is wide and spacious, the side hall on the north side is also wide, and in it is the main stair way. There is also a hall entering from the south side; also store room and china closet adjoining the kitchen and dining room. There is also bath room and water closets. Nearly the whole of the first floor is finished in walnut, the entire stairway, railing and steps are walnut. The second floor is component of five large bed chambers, bath rooms and water closet, hot and cold water, gas and every other convenience. The third story constructed with a mansard roof, forms five bed chambers on which also the water tank is located. [. . .] The mantles in the house are all of the finest marble, with marble stationary wash stands, hot and cold water in every room.”

James P. Carter died on August 5, 1874 after a battle with consumption. It was reported that Mr. Carter was an “energetic, reliable and industrious business man” and was held in high esteem.

J.P. Carter Home
J.P. Carter Home (now Heritage House Suites)

The next owner of this marvelous home in Indiana was Thomas Sutton, who purchased the house in 1879, and moved in with his new wife Ella Hildebrand. He was the son of John Sutton, one of the founders of the Indiana Normal School (now IUP). Sutton was a lawyer and went to Princeton at the age of 16, and was a prominent businessman and community leader. Thomas was also involved with the Indiana Foundry and the Strawboard Company (later known as the Indiana Paper Mill Company). He also served as Treasurer and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Indiana Normal School, and was President of the Board for 39. Thomas Sutton had such a profound impact that when an addition was built on to John Sutton Hall it was known as Thomas Sutton Hall.

After Thomas Sutton died in 1942, the home was sold to Mr. Musser, who divided it into apartments. The home now features suites that can be rented, and the history of the home comes alive on warm summer days when going past you notice that there is a wedding ceremony occurring. This is one of the most unique and grandeur homes in Indiana. Although today, you will notice one prominent piece of the home missing and that is the tower above the third floor; it was removed sometime in the 1970s due to disrepair. As you stroll down Sixth Street, you will have a better understanding of one of the unique homes located on this historic street.

There’s a Spring Under the IUP HUB

Covered over by the construction of the HUB building on the IUP Campus is an interesting piece of Indiana County history, that being what became known as “Shaver’s Spring.”

The earliest mention of the spring goes as far back as 1733. The exact location was documented in a warrantee survey dated July 9, 1773. The spring was on a pathway traveled by the Indians for centuries, that trail being the Kittanning Trail, which ran east to west on what is now Washington Avenue. Running north was the Catawba Trail, which crossed over the Kittanning Trail close to the location of the spring. The spring has had many names throughout its history: Shaver’s Spring, McElhaney Spring, Armstrong Spring, and Shaver’s Sleeping Place.

Shaver's Spring

The namesake comes from a Native American trader named Peter Shaver. Shaver was operating in the area in the early to mid-1700s. He was known by many as an outlaw who was charged with trading alcohol with the local Native American tribes, which was illegal at the time. The Native Americans actually suggested to the colonial government that he be “called away from these parts,” because he did not bring to them what they needed. His activities resulted in his death and his remains were found missing his head.

In 1756, another name came to the spring, when three hundred men led by Lt. Col. John Armstrong marched along the Kittanning Trail. They were traveling west from Fort Shirley (now Huntingdon County) with the purpose of destroying the Indian village at Kittanning. In order to avoid warning of their approach, the men walked single file and spoke in whispers, and sent scouts out ahead. They spent one night on the banks of Cush Cushion Creek, near the future site of Cherry Tree. The following night they reached the vicinity of the spring and camped nearby. The trail gained the name of the Armstrong-Kittanning Trail and the spring became known as “Armstrong’s Spring.”

The spring was again noted in the 1871 Atlas of Indiana County. By the 1880s, the spring was located along College Avenue behind the residence of William G. McElhaney, and then became known as “McElhaney’s Spring.” The last of the family to live at the residence was Miss Jean R. McElhaney, longtime instructor and chairman of the art department at what is now IUP.

In 1959, the property was purchased by the University’s Student Cooperative Association, with plans for the Student Union Building. The spring was stood beside the new building, encased in brick. The local James LeTort Chapter, Daughters of the American Colonists presented an appropriate plaque that was attached to the brick encasement in 1963. Frances Strong Helman, founder of the Historical Society, was among those who supervised the installation and dedication of the plaque.

Two years after this, there was an proposal to expand the Student Union and the fate of the spring was once again in jeopardy. Fortunately, it was decided to incorporate the landmark into the building.  The spring stood in a coffee shop and enclosed in a modernistic metal fountain. Thankfully the spring had been preserved, its flow was diminished and city water was piped in to accommodate the fountain.

Another renovation of the Student Union Building, proved fatal to the spring, covering over the site of the spring. The location became part of the Co-op Store, where the plaque was hung on the wall, hidden from view by merchandise. This fascinating piece of Indiana County history has been lost through time.

Source: Indiana Evening Gazette 2 July 1963; 8 Aug 1966; 12 Oct 1974; Stephenson’s “175th Anniversary History,” Vol. 1