Historical Society to hold reopening
KATIE WARGO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Summit Hill Historical Society President Harry Miller, Jr. stands outside the exhibit windows on the front of the Summit Hill Historical Society Museum which will be hosting its grand reopening at 134 W. Ludlow Street in the site of the former McFadden's Store. The opening will be Sunday, August 19th and there will be door prizes given every hour.
As part of the Sunday Hootenanny in Ludlow Park, the Summit Hill Historical Society will be holding its grand reopening at its new location in the former McFadden's store on 134 W. Ludlow Street near the gazebo where the entertainment will be held from noon until 8 p.m. on August 19th.
"We are eagerly looking forward to our grand reopening," said President Harry Miller, Jr. "It's taken quite awhile to get everything ready so we are looking forward to celebrate." Miller said the museum will be giving away door prizes of museum sale items every hour during the Hootenanny as well as serving soft drinks and water for the event. Membership applications will also be available during the event.
Miller said the museum moved earlier this year due to the society's desire to take advantage of the vacancy in the storefront and because of the location's historical significance in the community.
"Mine superintendent Morgan Powell, whose death was involved in the decision to hang Alec Campbell and Thomas Fisher, two reputed Mollie Maguires who were believed to be Powell's killers, was shot outside this building after leaving it one night," said Miller. Powell, who was fatally wounded on December 2, 1871 died two days later on December 4, 1871 having never recovered from his gunshot wounds. Records indicate the police officers who were with him to get a statement helped him sign the confession indicting Campbell and Fisher leading to their deaths by hanging after being convicted of various crimes in the Panther Valley area.
"The Society owes a great deal to the leadership of our former president, Lee Mantz, who died this week after a fall while he was bicycling along the Lehigh Gorge State Park, who was not only instrumental in making the decision to move but spent countless hours of his time packing and transporting hundreds of exhibit items from our old museum up the street to here, unpacking it and setting it up," Miller said. He added that Mantz was devoted to the history and memorabilia of the town and worked tirelessly to get the museum ready which included other improvements to the space as well.
"We renovated the bathroom and parts of the room," said Miller. He was especially proud to show off the 24 foot long model of the Switchback Gravity Railroad that stood in the original museum before it was packed and stored by Mantz in his mily's garage until room could be made in the new museum. The model was originally built and donated by Harry Castle and Bill Frantz.
Miller said he hoped people will stop by and visit on Sunday to see their new home and enjoy the new location. "We will be open from 12 to 8 that day and we look forward to showing our new space," he said.
The museum currently is open by appointment only and Miller can be reached at (570) 645-5998 for more information about the weekend events or to join the society. The next meeting will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at the museum and the public is welcome to attend.