Society Happenings in September
The Board of Directors of the Society met on Wednesday evening September 13th. Many topics were discussed, especially the upcoming events. On Tuesday evening the Third Brigade Band will give a performance benefitting the Society to be held in the Majestic Theatre. Prior to the event the World War I Exhibit will be open to the public. While there is no admission charge, donations are strongly encouraged. Please be generous. Speaking of the World War I Exhibit, it was recently learned that the Schuylkill County Bar Association has made a commitment of $1,500 to sponsor of the Exhibit in honor of Robert Woodbury, Esq., who died fighting in France in 1918. Woodbury was the only Schuylkill County attorney to have died in combat; at one time, an American Legion Post was named after him. Thank your local attorney when you see him or her for honoring their esteemed colleague.
Board member Pat McKinney is hosting a “bus bash” on Saturday October 28th which will be from 9 to 4, featuring the Tamaqua area of the county. The cost is $19. per person. Pat has hosted well-received county trips in the past and no doubt this one will be another great one. For more details call the Society or the Schuylkill County Conservation District office. The autumn leaves should make this a delightful trip into the country – the source of the Schuylkill River should be of particular interest.
Anticipation is growing for John Walsh’s Haunted History walking tour of downtown Pottsville which has its premier launch on September 30th at 6 PM with additional tours on Saturdays during October. I understand the tour for October 14th is sold out by the way. John promises stories that cover both the macabre as well as some criminal and quirky history of the area, capped off with a “spirited” talk at the end inside the Society. The gift shop will also be open for those interested in purchasing some of the neat items for sale (sorry, no garlic cloves or wolfsbane available to ward off vampires or werewolves…the Giant Supermarket should still be open though). The tour will be a safe walk of less than a mile. So just don’t sit there, sign up for a walk! Directors Dawn Bicht and Diana Prosymchak are working on special event t-shirts and memorabilia to coincide with the Haunted History walking tour. The prototype looked great.
The Society was visited by Michael Hesser and his wife Anita who drove four hours to visit the World War I Exhibit and brought some artifacts of his late grandfather Carl Fey to the Museum. A write-up in the Schuylkill Republican Herald will be featured on his visit and the his fascinating story of Pvt. Fey. Al Frantz, Bill Weber and Deb Reed were there to review and make copies of his memorabilia. Colleen Hoptak, the premier local historian of southern Schuylkill County, who writes great weekly articles for the South Schuylkill News also visited the Museum and will be doing a feature story soon. Executive Director Tom Drogalis, back from some needed R&R had his regular radio show on WPPA. The publicity gathered through the various media outlets pays off in the noticeable increase in foot traffic and tours given; also in the increase in membership renewals. Maybe next will be WNEP or WBRE sending in a news crew.
Board Director/Secretary JoAnn Chuba is working on new displays to be incorporated into the World War I Exhibit on the Spanish Flu Epidemic which occurred in 1918. Suggestions and memorabilia related to that event are appreciated. Yours truly did his annual Baber Day walk in the cemetery making sure to give a large shout out to the Historical Society. The walk took in gravesites of General Sigfried, Christopher Loeser, Francis Wade Hughes, Amanda Silliman and several other prominent names from Schuylkill County’s interesting past. If you have not read my blog on Erasing History, then please do so, also the great newsletter.
I am trying to balance blogs between the goings on in the Society with more topical or historical subjects. We are not your grandmother’s old historical society. We are determined to make history relevant, exciting and fun.
“Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.”