CCHS Board Hears Update on Research Center

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Historical Society Board of Directors met this week at the Kerr House Museum.

President Denny Shaffner reported on the progress being made on the Alexander Research Center.  The board voted to award the bid to remodel the new facility to Lawrence A. Graham Jr., and it was noted that construction is to begin next month.

The work on the center will be finished and enable the society’s extensive records collection to be moved and organized this fall. Fred Ralston, campaign treasurer, reported on the Capital Campaign.  He reported that progress is being made, but the board is still seeking funds from the membership and the general public.  Tax-deductible gifts for the campaign drive may be mailed to the society at 104 E. Pine St., Clearfield.

Shaffner informed the board of the research that was done concerning four antique weapons that were given to the society by the Clearfield Borough police.  The weapons were in very poor condition and had been turned into the police by citizens who discovered them while swimming in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Clearfield.

Shaffner took the weapons to the Army Heritage Center in Carlisle, where they were examined by representatives from the War College and a military history curator from the state Historical and Museum Commission.

The specialists identified three of the weapons from the very late 17th or early 18th century and made from spare parts by European gunsmiths and exported to eastern gun markets in Turkey and the northern Mediterranean.  None were ever built for the western trans-Atlantic trade.  A fourth weapon was a Prussian cavalry musket that was also built for trade to Eastern Europe.

These sorts of weapons were typically brought to America in the early 20th century as part of collections from trophy hunters used for display purposes. It was hoped that they might be connections to early exploration of the West Branch, but that the specialists debunked theory. For now, the Acquisition Committee has cataloged them and placed them in the archives, not for display, as they are not positively connected with county history.

It was reported that the new blacksmith shed at Bloody Knox has been sided and doors are currently being built to finish the project.  Material is to be added to floor and eventually the building will house an arch for maple syrup-making, a blacksmith exhibit and provide a secure place to exhibit some of the antique tools at the site. Plans continue to be developed for a reenactment of the event this fall, since it is part of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Plans to publish three new Sam King maps were discussed.  The society is looking into the costs to print, “Ole Bull/Black Forest Kingdom,” “Penna. Grand Canyon,” and “Freestone Fishing.”  While these maps are not directly informative for Clearfield County, it was noted that they have been popular maps and they are currently out-of-print. They would be marketed for mass sales to stores and businesses in the Lycoming and Potter counties.

If printed, these additional maps would complement the current Sam King maps offered by the society.  The board also approved the printing of a new book on the history and families of the Frenchville area.   Mary Kay Royer has done much of the research on this book and the society is hoping it might be available early this summer.

Plans for attending the “Logs to Lumber” event at Curwensville with a maple syrup display were discussed.  Plans are being discussed for the annual dinner and a program on Civil War draft resistance.  It was noted that Sneath Fire Safety Equip. Inc. from LaJose, donated the service and upgrade to the museum fire extinguishers.

The public is encouraged to visit the museum during its open hours: Thursdays and Sundays from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Visitors can tour the museum for free and researchers are asked for a $5 donation.  The bookstore is always open and The All American Airways airmail display will continue all summer.

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