Large crowd attends museum's reopening
KATIE WARGO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Visitors view exhibits throughout the Summit Hill Historical Society Museum during the grand opening, which took place on Sunday during the Hootenanny. Door prizes were given away each hour to lucky visitors.
More than 400 people celebrated the grand reopening of the Summit Hill Historical Society's museum at 134 W. Ludlow Street at the site of the former McFadden's store by visiting the exhibits and learning about local history.
"We were very pleased with the crowd," said historian Carol Miller. "People seemed to enjoy themselves and many purchased copies of Lee's (Mantz) book about the history of Summit Hill."
The grand reopening which coincided with the Summit Hill Hootenanny saw a steady stream of patrons visit the museum. At times during the afternoon one could not get in because it was so full of visitors.
Society President Harry Miller said door prizes were given away every hour. Lucky winners were able to select from collectible school building models, cookbooks, license plates and the history book about Summit Hill.
"Most of the winners chose the history book," Miller said. The book, which could become a collector's item, was written by local historian Lee Mantz, who died in a tragic accident on Aug. 12.
Miller said several patrons made donations to the society in Mantz's memory, which was very touching to the members helping to act as hosts. The society is working with the Mantz family to decide how best to honor Mantz's memory with the donated memorials.
"I'm sure he is looking down on us and smiling," said Miller.
The museum moved during the winter to the new location, and while meetings began in April, the museum was not yet completed until a few weeks ago. One of the last exhibits returned to display status was the 24-foot long model of the Switchback Railroad constructed by the late Harry Castle and Bill Frantz.
The society sold soft drinks and baked goods to festivalgoers and did quite well throughout the day. Miller said besides merchandise sales, several people also purchased memberships in the organization. The first 250 people also received an imprinted bag clip.
By the time the day ended, an estimated 400-plus people had visited the museum.
"For every person we were able to sign in on our register, we estimate there were two or three others that visited and were not able to get to the guest register," Miller said.
Overall Miller and his wife felt the day was very successful and they were deeply grateful to everyone who stopped by to learn about local history and those who stayed to talk and reminisce.