PHILIPSBURG – Faith Maguire of the Philipsburg Revitalization Corp. has announced a gift from the Rabe Giving Fund that will be used in Philipsburg’s downtown revitalization projects.
Ellen, Douglas and Eric Rabe, who were good friends of Walter Swoope Jr. and his sister, Beth, when they were in their teens and early 20’s, have given this major donation in Walter’s memory. They were moved by Walter’s long-term devotion to the renaissance of downtown Philipsburg.
“My brothers and I have so many memories of good times with Walter and Beth,” says Ellen Rabe, who grew up in Clearfield, where her father, David F. Rabe was an accountant.
“In those early days, we were a group of around a dozen young people whose parents were also good friends. We would join in socializing at each other’s homes, or would sometimes venture out on trips to such nearby locations as Black Moshannon State Park.
“A little farther away were attractions, such as the Swigart Auto Museum near Huntingdon, or the East Broad Top Railroad at Orbisonia.
“Walter and my brothers enjoyed seeing steam locomotives and old cars, and my brothers took advantage of Walter’s extensive knowledge in these areas.”
Some of this “beautiful, surprise” donation will help out with celebrations that are coming up on Front Street, according to Maguire.
“We’ve already had successful events for Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and we’re looking forward to Spring Fling, the Wine Walk, Philipsburg Heritage Days and the Halloween parade.
“It’s just wonderful that the Rabe family has taken an interest in our efforts.”
“Through talking with Walter, we kept in touch with Philipsburg’s revitalization efforts over the years,” says Ellen Rabe.
“Walter often spoke with us about his projects, beginning with his full restoration of the Loraine house on South Centre Street in the 1980’s.
“We were happy to discover, through Luther Gette of the Philipsburg Historical Foundation, that the new recreational park at Cold Stream Dam has been named in Walter’s honor and a tree planted in his memory at a quiet spot near the water.
“We also understand that planning is now under way for a walking trail between Cold Stream Dam and Black Moshannon State Park. We all love the outdoors, and look forward to seeing this plan come to fruition.”
Some of the Rabes’ generous gift was designated for the Philipsburg Historical Foundation as well as the PRC, explains Luther Gette. He says: “We’re very grateful for it, and will use some of it in planning for the walking trail.”
“We’re delighted to remember Walter Swoope by giving a donation in his honor, one that will further his vision for Philipsburg,” says Eric Rabe. “We feel certain that our gift will be put to good use.”