Notable Women

In 2020, the Forest County Historical Society (FCHS) will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.  FCHS knows women from Forest County were active in this cause, as the Museum has pictures from a 1915 parade in Tionesta showing women dressed in appropriate clothing and carrying a banner promoting their views.

FCHS would like to compile records and place on display information about some notable women from Forest County history.  They need some help with this project as women have been noticeably left out of the record books.  If anyone knows of women who are notable for their contributions to Forest County, please provide FCHS with as much information about them as possible.  Please email the information to forestcountypahistory@gmail.com.  We would love to recognize them! 

Name the Pigeon Contest

A coloring book is being created with a Passenger Pigeon character that will teach kids about different historical figures or exhibits at our museum, but he needs a name!  So, we are holding a contest for students in the Forest Area schools to name our pigeon.  Teachers will provide them with the ballot to use for submitting the name they think suits our pigeon best.  The student submitting the chosen name will win a $20.00 bill and be recognized in our coloring book.  If we chose a name that several people submitted, we will put the names of all those contestants in a bag and pull out one winner.

Entry forms are due by February 10th.  a cash prize.  Every student who participates in the contest will get a free ticket to the museum this summer to see all the things we have that explain the history of Forest County! 

Why a Passenger Pigeon?  There is a village in Forest County called Pigeon, near Marienville, because of the Passenger Pigeons that used to roost there in huge numbers before being hunted to extinction.

The Passenger Pigeon looks a little bit different than pigeons we see today.  It weighed about the same as a can of pop (12oz) and stood 16 inches tall.  It had a blueish gray neck and head and the upper mantle was described as bright bronze, violet or golden-green.  The tail feathers had white outer edges with blackish spots that were displayed in flight.  The wings were very long and pointed.  This bird used to be found all over North America, but mostly in the Eastern part around the Great Lakes.

The Passenger Pigeon migrated in enormous flocks, constantly searching for food, shelter and breeding grounds.  At one time there were at least 3 billion of these birds and may have been the most numerous bird on earth.  They flew very fast – up to 62 miles per hour – and the noise a flock of Passenger Pigeons made was deafening and could be heard from miles away.  When they landed, they often crowded so close together on a tree that they would break the branches.

This bird is believed to have played a significant ecological role in the composition of the forests of eastern North America.  For example, White Oaks grew so plentiful because their seeds geminated in the fall, so their seeds were not eaten by the pigeons.  However, Red Oaks produced acorns in the spring and the Passenger Pigeons ate the acorns.  Once the Passenger Pigeon population dwindled, the Red Oaks started to grow, so today we have a large number of Red Oaks in the eastern U.S. 

Passenger Pigeons were an important source of food for both Native Americans and then European settlers.  Among game birds they were second only to the turkey.  They were so easy to shoot, that many people did not consider them game birds.  Hunters usually waited until they passed over and then just shot their guns up and would bring down many pigeons.

By the mid 1800’s, railroads came along and people were able to ship masses of pigeons to restaurants in cities across the country.  Also, the telegraph could tell people where the flocks were.  So many pigeons were killed that they became extinct.  Scientists are now trying to use DNA to bring back the Passenger Pigeon, but we don’t know if it will work.

Tionesta Lights Up

The Forest County Historical Society has been active in our community celebrating the holidays in style.
We decorated a Christmas tree in the Market Village to help our town have a festive look as we drive through. We decorated our tree in preparation for the upcoming year when we plan to celebrate the passing of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. The tree has lights and kitchen utensils with a special topper of a coffee Percolator.
Then on Saturday December 7 we participated in “Tionesta Lights up”. We served a Chili or hot dog dinner to over 75 people. This was down from last year but everyone through the doors seem to enjoy some time together with community members, some dinner, and tours of the decorated Robinson House Museum. We even pulled out the Model T and the carriage that was manufactured here in Tionesta.
We were grateful for all the donations as we try to get a new roof on our building to protect our valuable Forest County Artifacts. Most of our finances have been acquired through individual memberships and donations. We do try for grants when we can. Our all volunteer Board tries to do all we can to be an asset to the community on a shoestring budget.
We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Veterans Day Thank You

The Forest County Historical Society honored all our local Veterans by inviting them and our community to come together. The History Museum opened on Monday November 11 from 2-4.

Many veterans and visitors, including Senator Scott Hutchinson and Eric Cepek, Veteran Affairs of Forest County checked out our Veterans Room, which is curated by the local AmVets organization. Everyone seemed impressed with the artifacts and information we have on display.

Punch and cookies were served and the highlight for many was the entertainment this year. We had Amanda Hetrick, Superintendent of Forest County Schools, Carl Olson, regionally known Jazz musician, Carole Hall and Elisha Pospisil on hand at 2:00 to play the piano and lead a sing-along of old-fashioned patriotic songs. The foursome brought the house down with their rendition of Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy.

A special thanks to all who put this celebration together and participated.

Tionesta Cub Scouts

The Forest County History Center recently hosted nine Tionesta Cub Scouts along with five adult leaders. The troop visited the museum as part of their regular meeting on Tuesday, October 1st. Three Board members and volunteer Jim Knauff worked the hour-long visit with the children.
The Scouts were greeted and given the history of the museum. They were then divided up with an adult leader and completed a scavenger hunt encompassing each of the three floors of the museum. After regrouping, they put on costumes of some of our Forest County characters from the past.
Everyone had a great time and we hope the children will return with their parents and be able to spend some more time learning about Forest County History.

Tree Planting In Tionesta

Through a grant from the TreeVitalize program, FCHS planted 10 decorative trees at Tionesta Park. After a training session conducted by Marah Fielden of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, along with other volunteers, planted the trees on Saturday, May 11th.

Tionesta Borough dug the holes prior to the day of planting.  SCI Forest’s Community Service Program finished digging the holes to the 3’ wide and 3’ deep size recommended to accommodate the 300-pound root ball on each tree. 

The idea for the grant originated with a dream of board member Burke Beach who wanted to return the elm trees to Elm Street.  The grant required trees to be planted on public property, but there wasn’t enough room on public land available along Elm Street.  Four elm trees were purchased by FCHS, with two planted at Riverside Cemetery and two in the front yard at the History Museum.  After the trees were planted, participants were treated to a picnic lunch. 

For the next two years, the Forest County 4-H group will weed and mulch the trees in June and the Tionesta Volunteer Fire Department will fill the water bladders attached to each tree as needed during the summer months.

Keeping Forest County beautiful takes a group effort.  We thank all of the individuals who are a part of this latest effort to be enjoyed by all for years to come.

Trick or Treat

The Forest County Historical Society Board and friends will once again pass out treats on Trick
or Treat night in the Borough of Tionesta. It will be held on October 31st from 5:30PM -7:30PM,
and we will be there dressed as characters from Forest County. Please come in the front porch
and door and exit the side door.

Annual Fall Dinner October 17th

We will have our annual fall dinner at St. Anthony’s Church Hall, Tionesta on October 17th with a
social half hour at 5:30 and meal served at 6:30. The menu this year is Roast Turkey and Stuffing,
Mashed Potatoes, mixed Vegetables, Coleslaw, Assorted pies, and coffee, tea, and Ice tea The
cost this year will be $15.00. This is an increase, but it is costing us more and so we must pass
that on to our attendees. We will not be making any money on this dinner. ALL reservations
must be completed on the website or turned into Toni Vrboncic, PO Box 367, Marienville Pa
16239 no Later than October 9th. We will also host a Chinese auction at the dinner. Plans for the
speaker will be updated as soon as they are confirmed.

Cookie Barn Celebrating 20 Years

Wisdom Wednesdays

The Forest County Historical Society is ramping-up its efforts to educate the public on topics relating to Forest County history.  In addition to the History Center’s many and varied exhibits, the organization is presenting a series of weekly lectures and demonstrations throughout the summer months called “Wisdom Wednesdays”.

June 5th – This series began with Jeff Scott, fourth generation lumberman, talking about the history of the Wheeler and Dusenbury Mill, Endeavor Lumber Company, and several other local lumber companies.

June 12th – Rodney Daum, recently retired manager of Tionesta Dam, giving a very interesting talk on the history of Tionesta Dam from its construction in 1939-1940 to present day.

June 19th – Holly Komonci, Executive Director of the Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania, presented on the lumbering industry in western Pennsylvania and Forest County’s part in that history.

June 26th – Amy Deitzer Wallace, Army Corp of Engineers employee retired from Tionesta Dam, talked about and demonstrated Pioneer Crafts, such as churning butter and the homemade toys pioneer children played with.

July 3rd – We celebrated the Fourth of July with a program by Amanda Hetrick, Superintendent of Forest Area Schools, and her parents Clarke and Carol Hall performing old fashioned patriotic songs and teaching us about the origins of those songs.

July 10th – Retired Penn State Extension Agent Bill Wallace spoke about the tornadoes of May 31, 1985 and how the local community responded to the tragedy.  The presentation included photos taken by fellow former Extension Agent Russell Smith and stories shared by residents in the audience of their memories of that memorable day.

July 17th – Rodney Daum returned with Cindy McCoy in costume to talk about Forest County’s 83rd Pennsylvania volunteer infantry regiment of the Union Army during the Civil War.  This regiment participated in every major battle in the East, including Seven Days Battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg and Appomattox Court House.

July 24th – Forest County Commissioner Basil Huffman shared his knowledge of the Forest County Courthouse, including the renovations to the building and hand painted murals found under paneling during the 2007 renovation of the courtroom.

July 31st – Summer Intern and local resident Aimee Haslet presented a program about the Haslet Funeral Home of Tionesta (started by her great grandfather) and the history of funeral homes in general.

August 7th – Julia McCray gave a presentation on the Kelly Mansion (now Kellygreen Bed & Breakfast) in Tionesta, including photos of this beautiful home and a history of the house and its owners.

Upcoming presentation topics include Nitroglycerin and Shooting Wells by Jeff Pierson of Warren, PA on August 14th, Leonard Nicklas with a topic to be determined on August 21st, and a history of West Forest Schools by Denny O’Toole on August 28th.

Each event begins at 7:00 pm with a 30-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A period until 8:00 pm.  The events are open to the public for a small donation at the door and free to FCHS members.

See the Forest County Historical Society Facebook page for announcements of upcoming programs and other events at the History Center.

Did you attend these events? Would you like to see us continue the series and have ideas for future topics? Contact us at fchs@zoominternet.net.