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Chestnuthill Township Historical Society views pictures from Pleasant Valley's first 50 years

  • Special to the TIMES NEWS The Merwinsburgh Hotel is a joint township-historical society restoration project. It is expected it will become a museum for the society.
    Special to the TIMES NEWS The Merwinsburgh Hotel is a joint township-historical society restoration project. It is expected it will become a museum for the society.
Published October 06. 2011 05:01PM

The Chestnuthill Township Historical Society met Sept. 21 in the park building. The theme of the evening's program was the 50th anniversary of Pleasant Valley School. Books of photographs of students and faculty from the 1961 Bruin yearbook were passed around for everyone to see.

Julie Kresge, a Monroe County Educator of the Year, presented a power point presentation that began with the first graduating class of Pleasant Valley in 1961 and ended with photographs from the anniversary celebration.

Before Pleasant Valley, there were two high schools, Chestnuthill and Polk. Society members had fun as they recognized a much younger version of many of their friends.

A sketch and a blueprint brought life to the desire for a new school.

A testimonial dinner was held for John C. Mills, a popular, longtime teacher and superintendent.

The Effort and Sunset diners were the places to go after a sports victory. By age 16 the students were interested in getting their driver's license.

Kresge drew some pictures including a bear and the 25th anniversary mug design that were included in the presentation. There were 48 students in that first graduating class.

In other business: President Norman Burger said Jim Wilson had a map from the 1870s. It showed 10 school districts. Most people earned their living by farming but the county has now become industrial.

Officers of the society are Nancy Gehr, vice president, Kathy Getz, secretary and Lee Hoffman, treasurer.

Books from the 175th anniversary of Monroe County are being sold at the Chestnuthill Municipal Building for $10 each.

Since the bylaws were adopted for incorporation in 2011, the next step is to apply for 501-c3 nonprofit status.

Work continues on the Merwinsburg Hotel which is owned by the township. The Society is helping with the restoration and hopes to one day have it as a museum.

Stones were found in the wall behind the plaster, but that is considered common for the period.

A heat register placed in the floor is uneven but is the best that can be done. A roofer started work on a porch roof and found some timbers had to be torn out and replaced.

Tin plates, old newspapers and wooden trunks were found in the attic and have been removed for their protection while restoration goes on.

Mold has to be cleaned before it is safe for people to work indoors.

The township road crew has worked on the swale and grass will stabilize the soil.

A $77,000 grant was received to pay for the work.

In 2013 the 250th anniversary of Chestnuthill Township will be celebrated. It was incorporated in September 1763, split off from Northampton County. Chestnuthill was split to form Ross Township in 1817. Ross and Chestnuthill were each split to create Polk and Eldred townships.

A book is being considered for the Chestnuthill anniversary. It will include all four townships because 250 years ago they were part of Chestnuthill.

"There is a growing common interest in the West End in recording history," said Burger.

Other organizations will be invited to participate.

Stuart Thody voiced concern about the deterioration of the Effort Diner.

He asked about the five massive trees across from the Hotel and wanted to know if they were to be cut. Burger said they have to be removed and since power lines are involved it was hoped the power company would remove them.

Shelley DePaul, a Lenape Indian, from the University of Pennsylvania, will be the Oct. 19 meeting speaker. She will bring her flute and artifacts. The Lenape museum has been moved from the university to Easton.

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