Our Kerr Museum and Research Center are open for the remainder of the
2018 season on
Sundays and Thursdays from 1:30pm to 4:30pm through Sunday, October 28th!
Better visit before this season ends!
RECENT NEWS FEATURES ......
October 1, 2018
Clearfield County Historical Society with assistance from the Clearfield County Commissioners and other volunteers recently erected a new sign at the County Home Cemetery after spending years restoring it. Pictured from left are Vegetation Manager Jim Davis, Clearfield County Historical Society booard members Denny Shaffner, Bob Eshelman, Scott Kolesar and Chris Watson, volunteer Milk Miller, Clearfield County Commissioner John Sobel, and Clearfield County Historical Society board member Cathie Hughes.
One of the ongoing projects of the Clearfield County Historical Society board members and volunteers is documenting abandoned and forgotten burial grounds.
In 2010, the society investigated the location of the old County Home Cemetery in Lawrence Township located across the railroad tracks about 1,600 feet behind the former county home.
What the society found was an approximately one-acre piece of ground completely overgrown with brush and small trees with remnants of locust fence posts and barbed wire along one side. Although there are hundreds of graves, the society found only four tombstones.
The County Home opened in December 1895 and housed as many as 140 people in 1917, and 131 resided there in 1925. Burials started soon after opening, and the last burial was in 1951. According to one newspaper article published in 1901, there were 108 burials to-date.
And from a Clearfield Progress article in 1926, “All graves filled in and the entire 360 graves fixed up, and for the first time the name and date of death on each person buried therein appears on a tile and slate marker at the head of each grave.”
The society found no tile markers in the cemetery. However, piles of tiles were found at the edge of the area. The name and dates must have been painted on them as they contained no information. They were probably removed at some point to make it easier to mow. These tiles could have possibly come from neighboring Robinson Clay Works, c1915-1965.
CCHS, with support from the Clearfield County Commissioners, began a many-years project of restoring the cemetery.
Brush and trees were defoliated and cut. This was done with the assistance of board members, many community volunteers and Jim Davis of Vegetation Managers.
Although there is no public access to the site, the society was granted access for the project from the Clearfield Waste Water Treatment Plant.
After extensive research using decades of aerial maps, newspaper articles, courthouse records and researching books and files at the Alexander Research Center, the society has determined this small area contains almost 500 graves.
Only five of the graves are marked with tombstones.
Four of the stones were found during the initial investigation in 2010, and one was found in 2018 during the restoration.
While there are hundreds laid to rest here, the society has only 171 names of known persons.
A permanent sign has been installed, using posts from the County Home, with the name of the cemetery on one side and a list of the 171 people on the other.
Historical Society Meets To Plan Festival and Annual Dinner
The Clearfield County Historical Society met on Tuesday, September 18 to discuss plans for the Annual Apple Cider Festival which is scheduled for Sunday, October, 14, from 1:00 to 4:00 at the historic Bloody Knox Cabin in Kellytown. Board members were urged to be on hand to participate in the planned activities and supervise the displays. The festival is open free to the general public. Nineteenth century crafts and workmanship samples will be presented. A lecture on the historical significance of the site is scheduled for 1:30 and an egg toss contest will be held at 2:00. Free pumpkins will be given to children under the age of 12.
The board also reviewed plans for its Annual Dinner,scheduled for Thursday, October 25, at 6:00, at St. Timothy’s Church Hall in Curwensville. Rebecca Inlow, of Osceola Mills, author of The Roland Theater, From Ashes To Beauty will be the featured speaker.
Mrs. Inlow has written an impressive history of the premier theater of Philipsburg. Her book calls attention to Charles Rowland, originally of Houtzdale, who was a prime mover and financer of the theater in 1917. Rowland’s role in founding and serving as a corporate office of the Alley Popper Railroad, that once offered passenger and coal hauling service to the Moshannon Valley is also an integral part of the book. The book’s narrative traces the demise of the physical condition of the theater in the 1970’s to its magnificent restoration by community volunteers. Presently, the theater is operated by a volunteer board and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In other business, the board accepted the recommendations from its nominating committee to add Sharon Aaron, of Curwensville and Paula Miller, of Clearfield, as members of the Society’s board of directors.
The board also made plans for a photo opportunity, in conjunction with the Clearfield County Commissioners, to dedicate the new commemorative sign to be placed at the old Clearfield County Home Cemetery. A volunteer group has recently cleared the cemetery grounds in order to honor its historical presence in the county.
August 21, 2018
Clearfield County Historical Society Expresses Thanks
The Clearfield County Historical Society’s board of directors met on Tuesday, August 21, at the Alexander Research Center in Clearfield.
The board express its deep gratitude and appreciation for all who participated in and attended the August 16 Night At The Museum. The program was an outstanding success; that saw an estimated 350 people attend to see and hear volunteers portray a group of twenty individuals who played a role in Clearfield County’s rich historic past. The board agreed to repeat the same program format next summer; using some of same characters and adding others to the roster.
In other matters; the board discussed plans for the Annual Cider Festival at the historic Bloody Knox Cabin, in Kellytown; scheduled for Sunday, October 14, as well as its Annual Dinner which will be held at St. Timothy’s Church Hall in Curwensville on Thursday, October 25.
The board also reminded the public that the Kerr House Museum is open for tours and visitation on Thursdays and Sundays from 1:30 until 4:30, until the end of October. The adjacent Alexander Research Center will be open for genealogical and other research on the same days and hours.
July 17, 2018
The Clearfield County Historical met Tuesday, July 17th, and finalized its plans to participate in the Clearfield County Fireman’s Parade on Monday, July 30. The Society’s entry will center upon its Night At The Museum event which is planned for Thursday August 16, at 6:00, at the Kerr House Museum, at 104 East Pine Street, in Clearfield.
Society directors and friends will take the part of local Clearfield County historical characters, by each giving a first person description of their portrayed characters; from the 18th to the 20th century. The reenactors will dress in period clothing and take questions from those attending. The format will reflect the plot of the movie; Night At The Museum.
Snacks and refreshments will be available. An outdoor film; showing original footage of the 1938 Last Raft will be shown on the museum lawn. The event is entirely free of charge and is geared to be family friendly for young and old alike.
In other business;
Ø The board made plans to feature its museum and genealogy center on WTAJ-TV’s Central PA Live program on Monday, August 6 at 4:00 pm.
Ø Expressed its thanks and appreciation to the Clearfield Boro police officers for their routine night time checks of both the museum and research center.
Ø Society membership stands at 677.
June 19, 2018
Clearfield County Historical Society Plans 'Night At The Museum' Event
The Clearfield County Historical Society’s Board of Directors met on Tuesday, June 19 at the Alexander Research Center in Clearfield. The board expressed thanks to its members who planted flowers on the grounds of the Kerr House Museum.
The Society will again sponsor its historically themed entry in the Clearfield County Fair Parade on Monday, July 30.
The Board made plans to sponsor a Night At the Museum program at the Kerr House Museum on Thursday, August 16 at 6:00PM. Volunteers will dress the part of historical county figures and present a recounting of the lives and times of those whom they portray. Afterwards, after dark, original 1938 film footage of the famous and ill fated last raft on the Susquehanna River will be shown on the museum lawn by board member Jack Woolridge. The public is welcome attend and both events will be presented free of charge. Those attending are requested to bring a lawn chair.
The board also:
Ø Commended Rodney Bowers, of Clearfield, upon the publication of his book, This I Remember; which is a compiling of his periodic personal and historic memories that routinely appears in The Progress.
Ø Commended Ralph Seeley, of Bellefonte, for his new book, Indian Paths of Central Pennsylvania. Detailed information about Native American paths in Clearfield County is presented in the book.
Ø Thanked all who placed 13 star US flags on the graves of over two dozen Revolutionary War veterans who are buried in Clearfield County. Many photos of the graves and flags are available on the Society’s website at clearfieldcountyhistoricalsociety.org.
Ø Thanked and praised the board members and volunteers who have recently cleared and mowed the old Clearfield County Home cemetery. A sign will be erected listing the names of those buried there. The board also extended thanks to the Clearfield County Commissioners for their support of the project.
Ø Reminded the public that museum tours for individuals and groups are available on Thursdays and Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 or by calling 378-5748. It also noted that the adjacent Alexander Research Center is open for genealogical and other research during the same hours. Trained volunteers will be available to offer help. The public is welcome!
Clearfield County Historical Society readying for the opening of its Kerr House Museum and Alexander Research Center on Sunday, May 6th, 2018.
The society’s 21-person, all-volunteer board encourages the public to visit both adjacent buildings to tour the displays and to explore their family history. “Clearfield County has a very rich history. (The museum) portrays a slice of life that’s gone forever,” President of the board of directors Dave Wulderk said. “It’s not just a big house with overstuffed furniture.” Admission and tours at both buildings are free of charge. Volunteers are posted at both to help researchers.
The society is attempting to reach a new audience this year with new events and displays. One notable happening is “Take Your Mother To The Museum Day” which will be on Mother’s Day, May 13. The museum will be open to honor mothers and their families. Tours will be offered, as well as cookies and refreshments. The public is welcome to this special event.
Wulderk reminds residents that the museum is not just for “notable families,” but “everyday, ordinary people.”
Because of the microfilm technology and courthouse records, The museum has become a popular attraction for those seeking to learn about their family history through genealogies. “We have a lot of resources that you just don’t find online,” The museum and the research center are frequented by school field trips, family reunions, and individuals of all ages eager to learn.
From DuBois to Osceola Mills, and everywhere in between, Wulderk said all parts of the county are represented and residents from all across the county are invited. “I have not found anyone, old or young, who walk away without learning something.”
The Kerr House Museum is located at 104 Pine St. and the Alexander Research Center is located at 511 Van Valzah St. Both are open on Sundays and Thursdays, 1:30pm to 4:30pm, from May 6 through the end of October.
Mother’s Day Event Planned By Historical Society
The Clearfield County Historical Society met on April 17, 2018 to make plans for the opening of the Kerr House Museum and the Alexander Research Center on Sunday, May 6. The board encouraged the public to visit both adjacent buildings and to tour the displays and probe their family genealogies. Admission and tours are free of charge. The board emphasized that its research center contains many local genealogy sources that are not found online. Volunteers will be posted to help researchers.
On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13, the Society will sponsor a “Take Your Mother To The Museum Day”, from 1:30 until 4:30. The museum will be open to honor mothers and their families. Tours will be offered as well as cookies and refreshments. The public is welcome.
In other matters, the Board
· Reviewed its inventory of local historical books, maps and prints for sale
· Noted that the semi-annual Spring bulletin will be mailed soon to Society members
· Made plans to participate in the annual Logs To Lumber Day on Friday, May 18 at Curwensville Area High School. Samples of locally made maple syrup will be available for tasting samples.
· Scheduled house cleaning and display changes for the Kerr House Museum
· Received 13 star US flags to mark the graves of Revolutionary War veterans who are buried in Clearfield County in recognition of Memorial Day
· Examined the newly revised museum brochure
· Noted that the Frenchville Picnic will be held on July 21 and 22
· Noted that Society membership stands at 669.
Clearfield County Historical Society Board Meets
The Board of Directors of the Clearfield County Historical Society met, Tuesday, March 27 at the Alexander Research Center in Clearfield. Plans were made for the opening of both the museum and research center on Sunday, May 6. Both are located adjacent to each other and will be open to the public on Thursdays and Sundays, from 1:30 to 4:30, until the end of October.
The following items were undertaken:
Ø Thirteen star US flags were ordered, to be put on the grave sites of the county’s approximately thirty Revolutionary War veterans on Memorial Day.
Ø A work day was planned for Sunday, April 8, at 1:00, to ready the museum for its opening in May. The board extended a welcome to all interested in Clearfield County history to attend and help.
Ø The board expressed thanks to all of the visitors who attended Clearfield’s Downtown Sportsmen’s Day activities and then visited the museum to view the elk head display.
Ø The annual Logs To Lumber program, highlighting the county’s lumber industry and heritage, is scheduled for Friday, May 18 at Curwensville Area High School. The society will again offer its maple syrup display and tasting.
Ø The board heard from Terry O’Connor, of Clearfield; representing the North Fork Archaeological Group of the Pennsylvania Archaeology Society. The group will meet in Brookville on April 6 to 8.
Ø Plans were finalized to replace the main window in the Alexander Research Center.
Ø The board heard financial reports and a listing of recent acquisitions.
Ø The society now as 668 members.
Ø The public is reminded to visit the Society’s website at clearfieldcountyhistoriccalsociety.net and that museum tours for families, groups, etc. can be arranged by calling 378-5748.
March 15, 2018
*Scroll down this page for additional information referenced in April 2017.
February 25, 2018
October 19, 2017
Historical Society To Hold Annual Dinner
The Clearfield County Historical Society will hold its 62nd annual dinner on Thursday, October 19, at St. Timothy’s Church Social Hall in Curwensville. Social hour will begin at 6:00 with dinner following at 6:45. Dinner will be catered by Luigi’s Ristorante of Dubois.
This year’s dinner sponsors are CBT Bank and Bee Kind Winery.
Following dinner, the society officers will present annual awards to honor the volunteers who help to staff the museum during visitation hours, participate in local historical research and work projects.
This year’s guest speaker will be Clearfield County Wildlife Conservation Officer, Mark Gritzer, who will present The Night The Lights Went Out In Karthaus. Officer Gritzer will tell of the 2014 poaching of the trophy elk; the largest in Pennsylvania. (see article dated April below) He assisted with the apprehension and conviction of the responsible actors. The elk head and antlers are permanently mounted in the Society’s museum for public display. It has become a local tourist attraction.
The dinner cost is $25 per person. Invitations have been sent to society members. Others wishing to make a reservation are welcome to so by calling the society’s Alexander Research Center voice mail at 768-7318.
Reservations must be made by Wednesday, October 11.
September 12, 2017
Clearfield County Historical Society plans their 13th Annual Apple Cider Outing and Open House at the society’s Bloody Knox Civil War Log Cabin. Event will be held Sunday, October 8th from 1 to 4. Egg toss at 2:00. Come help make cider, rope, butter and corn meal. Watch demonstrations spinning yarn, making corn brooms, blacksmithing and see Civil War Medical Display. Kids games and free samples. This year’s event is sponsored by Northwest Bank. Presenting check is C. Eric Johnson of Northwest Bank to CCHS board members Scott Kolesar and Bob Eshelman.
August 17, 2017
River eel trap artwork donated to Historical Society....
Casen Zitzelberger, center, local artist and member of the Susquehanna River Art Center of Clearfield, along with SRACC board memberJacqueline Amor-Zitzelberger, right, presented artwork of a river eel trap to Denny Shaffner, president of the Clearfield County Historical Society. The artwork will be included in a new historical marker being placed alomng the Riverwalk at the Society's Kerr museum which remembers the shad and eel migration that once occurred on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, and was a vital part of the economy for early settlers along the West Branch.
The 'Society' steps back 100 years, gaining a sense of the World War One period !
click photos to enlarge.......
Clearfield Co. Historical Society Board Holds Meeting
Trophy Elk for Display
Left, to right, WCOs Dan Murray,
Dave Stewart and Mark Gritzer, and Northcentral Region Law Enforcement Supervisor Rick Macklem pose with the antlers seized in the poaching investigation that has led to charges against three Centre
The 10- by 9-point rack at right initially was measured at 432 7/8 inches, based on standards set forth by the Boone & Crockett big-game scoring program. Only two bulls legally harvested in Pennsylvania have scored higher. The rack from the 5-by-7 bull is at left, and the sawed-off antlers from the 4-by-5 can be seen in front of it.
(GANT News File photo)
Click images for blow-up photo and greater detail !
Both, Kerr Museum
and Research Center
are open to members and visitors
Sunday and Thursday afternoons,
1:30PM to 4:30PM
...but, only until Sunday, October 28th, 2018.
Then we will remain closed until Spring of 2019 !
We are a 21 member volunteer organization.
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 E. Pine & E. Locust Sts.)
2. 'WILLIAM B. ALEXANDER V' GENELOGICAL RESEARCH CENTER:
511 Van Valzah Ave.
Clearfield, PA 16830
3. 'Bloody Knox' Cabin MUSEUM
State Route #453,
Village of Kellytown
Madera, PA 16661
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