October 2017 Society Happenings

Fall is in the air, Halloween is approaching which means times for ghouls, ghosts, and goblins. It is also a busy time for everyone at the Historical Society and we have a lot of events planned that may be of interest to the public. 


With the coming of fall also means the beginning of the Society’s annual membership campaign. We encourage you to become a part of this fantastic organization. We are constantly planning new events and programs; it is your membership helps the Society remain open to the public to provide these programs to inform the community about the history and culture of Indiana County.
Membership comes with many benefits which include:
·        Receipt of the month newsletter “The Clark House News”
·        Invites to special members only events
·        Discounts to event tickets
·        Notice of events
·        Free use of the library for research
We would ask you to consider becoming a member at any of the following levels:
Annual Membership:
·        Individual – $25
·        Family – $30
·        Sustaining – $60
·        Small Business/Professional – $60
·        Corporate – $125
One-Time Gifts:
·        Life Membership (Individual) – $500
·        Life Membership (Couple) – $750
·        Society Benefactor – $1000


Looking to start genealogy research, but unsure where to start or have already started but don’t know where to turn to next?  Join Gary Clawson and Vince Beatty, Historical Society board members and long-time genealogy researchers, for a genealogy workshop.

This 3 part genealogy class will benefit both beginners and serious researchers alike, focusing on resources that have just become available to the public in recent months along with resources that have been available for some time. Each class will take the form of a lecture, followed by a help session where attendees can receive assistance in their family research. The classes are free to Society members and $5 per session ($15 total) for non-members. Each class will last approximately one hour and will take place in the Helman Library. The classes will take place on October 12, 19, and 26 at 10am.

A reservation is required for all workshops and attendance is limited to 16 people, please call the society to reserve your seat or for more information.


Ever wonder what the inside of a museum looks like at night? Ever want to be a part of a paranormal investigation?  Now is your chance!! Join the Historical Society and the IUP Paranormal Society as they investigate the Clark House on October 7 at 6 and 8 pm. Space is limited, so reservations are necessary. Tickets are $15 and are available by calling the Historical Society at 724-463-9600 or by email at ichistoricalsociety@gmail.com.

Did you miss the paranormal investigations or were you a part of the investigations and want to find out what was found in other investigations? Join us on October 28 at 5 p.m. to learn about what was found during the Paranormal investigations held at both the Armory and Clark House. The cost to attend is $5 and free for those who participated in the investigations. Tickets will be available at the door. As always refreshments will be provided. It is sure to be a “haunting” good time.

We hope you will join us at the museum this month whether it is to join us for the various events, coming in to renew or join as members, or coming to tour the museum. We look forward to seeing you and assisting you in all your needs related to the history of Indiana County!!

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.