Everything old is new again
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Dale Freudenberger, left, Tamaqua, and Bill Harleman, Hometown, set up the Tamaqua Historical Society display at the Schuylkill County History Fair held Saturday at Fairlane Village Mall, Norwegian Township.
For the tenth year, historical groups from all corners of Schuylkill County gathered to show off a small portion of their collections.
The 10th Annual Schuylkill County History Fair took place Saturday, February 10, at Fairlane Village Mall, Route 61, Norwegian Township. The event was held on the second day of winter storm Nemo, but the show went on as planned.
Representatives of twelve historical societies out of 16 registered drove over snow-covered roads in order to showcase some of their intriguing items. Four groups canceled due to the weather.
"We have different things here we've never shown before," explained Dale Freudenberger, president, Tamaqua Historical Society. Other groups said the same; they made sure to bring along items never before displayed.
That idea was a hit with visitors, proving that everything old is new again.
The Tamaqua exhibit featured old black-and-white glossy prints of trolley cars of the Tamaqua and Lansford Street Railway system. Also showcased was a tribute to Tamaqua High School football and music, early entertainment posters from Lakeside Park, Barnesville, and memorabilia celebrating Tamaqua's proud railroad heritage.
Freudenberger also brought along unique items from his personal collection.
One attraction was an early brass oil can used to service steam engines in Tamaqua.
"It is marked D.E. Springer, made for Amos Neifert, Sr., 1909, Tamaqua," explains Freudenberger. Many such oil cans were made of tin. The unusual brass version was discovered at a flea market in Lansdale.
Another unusual item was a 1934 cloth pennant from Tamaqua High that features an image of the school rendered in leather.
Volunteer Bill Harleman, Hometown, was on hand to support the work of two groups - his local historical repository and the No. 9 Mine and Museum. Harleman is president of the Lansford Historical Society and set up a display showcasing the rich history of Lansford and the No. 9. Harleman and Freudenberger helped each other with their respective displays and set up at tables side-by-side.
The Lansford display included original mining paraphernalia, photography, literature and a salute to the musical Dorseys.
A display from St. Clair Area Historical Society included yearbooks, "The Clarian," from 1937, 1941 and 1970.
"But 1962 isn't here. And that one was the best ... it was my year," said volunteer Tom Johnson, smiling.
The Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society presented a full gamut of antique military garments. The clothing included a 1940s uniform worn by Major Anne S. Krizanauskas of the Women's Army Corps, according to Valerie E. Macdonald, society president.
"All of these were donated to the society," explained Macdonald. "We have all of the armed services represented, including a medal of honor winner."
Collector Richard Nagle took part in the event for the fourth year in a row. Nagle is a native of Schuylkill Haven and has spent a lifetime searching out all things Haven.
"These are just items I've collected over the years," Nagle told the TIMES NEWS.
He displayed a bowling shirt which advertised the E.S. Ketner car dealership, which sold 1940s Kaiser-Frazer automobiles.
His display included about 500 items from his collection of 1,200 pieces.
The Orwigsburg Historical Society called attention to this year's 200th anniversary of the borough, founded by Peter Orwig in 1796 and incorporated on March 12, 1813. Orwigsburg was Schuylkill County's first county seat, before Pottsville.
Railway Restoration Project 113 also was on hand, a nonprofit devoted to the Minversville train depot.
Another popular exhibit was presented by the Minersville Area Historical Society, which provided a glimpse at Sanborn community maps of the late 19th and early 20th century.
All of those involved are community volunteers who've spent countless hours chronicling the heritage of their respective geographic areas.
The annual event provides history-oriented groups a chance to network and to tell the stories of the places they represent.
The fair is sponsored by the Schuylkill County Association of Historical Societies and Museums and private collectors.
Exhibitors expressed surprise at the number of visitors, noting that people arrived at the mall as early as 9 and 10 a.m. venturing out on snow-covered roads.