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Tours by appointment. The museum will be open Saturdays (10 to 4) and Wednesdays (from 5 to 7 p.m.) through December. Admission is free.
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Annual dinner to focus on the Junction Canal
SAYRE – The Sayre Historical Society is hosting its annual dinner on Tuesday, March 10 at the Sayre High School with a program on the Junction Canal.
CAPTION: The Junction Canal turn-around basin, where coal was transferred from canal barges to Erie Railroad cars, was located in Chemung, NY. (Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen Kunst)
The dinner/program is open to the public and reservations can be made by calling Mary Sargent at (570) 888-6081 or Tom Collins at (570) 888-6821. The deadline for reservations is March 1. The cost is $20.
The dinner will be prepared by the Nutrition Group at Sayre Area High School. The menu will feature chicken in gravy over biscuits, Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, green beans, coleslaw and Cherry Crisp Ice Cream or Brownie Sundaes.
Doors open at 5:30 with dinner served at 6. The program will follow dinner.
The program will be presented by Sayre native Mary Ellen Kunst, historian for the Town of Chemung.
“The program will be a comprehensive look at the Junction Canal during the years 1858 to 1871,” said Kunst. The Junction Canal was “an integral link” between the North Branch of the Pennsylvania Canal at Athens and the Chemung Canal in Elmira, she added.
“The presentation will explore the Junction Canal’s history and development,” Kunst said. “The canal were crucial to the transportation revolution, improving the infrastructure and bringing prosperity to this area.”
The Sayre Historical Society Museum will reopen for the 2020 season on Saturday, April 4 with a new exhibit “Downtown: A History of the Sayre Business Community.” The exhibit will center on the variety of businesses that have existed in Sayre over the years including Bolich Brothers Hardware, Paluzzi’s Toggery, I.A. Samuels & Son Jewelery Store, Hicks & Collins Ice Cream, and Newberry’s Department Store, among many others.
The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit historic preservation organization staffed by volunteers and located in the Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station. The member-supported group receives funds from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency. Visit www.sayrehistoricalsociety.org or Facebook for more information.
Sayre museum receives preservation grant
SAYRE – The Sayre Historical Society has received a grant for $100 from the Potomac Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society for the preservation of a series of photographs and letters donated by the late Joseph J. Bottone of South Waverly.
CAPTION: A detail from a 1916 photograph donated by Joseph A. Bottone depicts the Pennsylvania Avenue crossing of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in South Waverly. (Joseph J. Bottone Collection)
The photographs depict street crossings of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in South Waverly from 1916 as well as a view of the LVRR station in Sayre and the Sayre railroad yards. The letters are addressed to former Lehigh Valley Railroad (LVRR) President Elisha P. Wilbur and date from the late 1880’s.
Mr. Bottone was a long-time resident of South Waverly, served in the U.S Army during World War II and was employed as a machinist by the Ingersoll-Rand in Athens until his retirement in 1984. He was a volunteer with the South Waverly Fire Department and South Waverly Ambulance Corps. “Joe” was an avid model railroader and photographer and he volunteered with the Valley Railroad Museum in Sayre. He passed away on December 31, 2004.
The D.L. & W. photographs and the LVRR letters were donated to the Sayre Historical Society by Mr. Bottone’s son, Joseph A. Bottone.
The Potomac chapter of the NRHS contacted the Sayre museum following an article that appeared in the October 2019 issue of Trains magazine called “Railfan Road.” The article, written by Orren B. Helbok, detailed an excursion on Route 220 highlighting various historic railroad attractions. The Sayre Historical Society was mentioned in the article along with a photograph of the Sayre railroad yards.
In a letter, Jay Creswell, treasurer, stated, “The Potomac Chapter, NRHS, annually makes small grants of a few $100’s to railway preservation organizations. The work your group has done at the Sayre station recently received favorable coverage in Trains magazine. Could you suggest a specific action that we might support?”
The preservation of the D.L. & W. photographs and the LVRR letters to President Wilbur was proposed and approved for the grant. A check arrived in January.
Mr. Bottone was an avid photographer and his son also donated a large collection of railroad negatives to the Sayre museum. The negatives depict a wide variety of railroad activities and scenes throughout the area. A workshop on establishing a “Digital Darkroom” at the Sayre museum was held Saturday with Robert Pastorkey of Binghamton. Pastorkey, who is a member of the Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the NRHS outlined the fundamentals of digitizing photographic negatives. A second workshop is planned.
The Sayre Historical Society is a recipient of funding from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
Sayre museum announces 2020 event schedule
SAYRE – The Sayre Historical Society has a full season of activities planned for 2020 including two new rotating exhibits and the return of several popular events.
CAPTION: A rotating exhibit on businesses in Sayre, including Stein’s Men’s Store on Desmond Street shown above in 1965, will be featured in 2020 at the Sayre Historical Society. Pictured from left are: Fred Baglini, Sam Stein and Bernard Pietro. (Ruth Schwartz collection)
For 2020, the museum will host its annual membership dinner on March 10 with a program planned on the North Branch Canal.
The museum will re-open for the new season on Saturday, April 4 with a display in the Rotating Exhibit Room on “Downtown: A History of Sayre’s Business Community.” The exhibit will feature an overview of some of the many businesses that have called Sayre home including Jump’s Pharmacy, Bolich Hardware, Paluzzi’s Toggery, the Market Basket and the Victorian Dandy Mini-Mart. The exhibit will run until September 2.
On Saturday, May 16, the museum will welcome back Antique Appraisal Day. Last year’s inaugural effort was well-received with Barbara Kotasek of the Owego Emporium providing unofficial appraisals and tips on preserving antiques.
In June, the museum will host Railroad Heritage Day on June 27. A guest speaker and special exhibits will be featured at this event.
On July 25, the museum will host a Genealogy Workshop and provide guests with expert advice on finding ancestors. Last year, Joyce Tice of Mansfield was the featured speaker.
History Under the Stars will return in August with a new date scheduled for August 15 and an evening of entertainment being planned.
On September 5, the museum will feature a new exhibit on “Looking Back: Sayre and World War II.” The exhibit will explore the many aspects of this momentous event and the effects it had on the Sayre and the surrounding community.
In October, the historical society will host the second History Trivia Event on Sunday, October 11.
Model Train Day returns on Saturday, November 28. This popular event centering on model trains this past year featured a Lionel train exhibit, railroadiana vendors and a special display of LEGO trains. A surprise visit by an Ithaca Central train delighted photographers and railfans on the Thanksgiving weekend signature event.
The museum will close for the 2020 season on Wednesday, December 23.
The Sayre Historical Society is a member-supported non-profit supported entirely by volunteers. It receives funding from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
Volunteer opportunities are available ranging from event preparation, groundskeeping, tours, research and collections. Contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sayre grad’s WW II exploits highlighted in Sayre Quarterly
SAYRE – The World War II experiences of 1938 Sayre High School graduate George Hammond are recounted in the Winter edition of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly history magazine. Hammond’s story, including a daring bombing run on the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, was provided by his son, Andrew Hammond, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy.
CAPTION: Captain George Hammond, a 1938 graduate of Sayre High School, was a World War II bombardier who is profiled in the Winter issue of the Sayre Quarterly history magazine. (Andrew Hammond Collection)
“Early on the morning of August 1st, 1943, one hundred and eighty-seven heavily-loaded B-24s made their take-off from the Libyan desert,” said Andrew Hammond of his father’s role in the oil field raid. “All got into the air but one which crashed a short distance from the base. Their runways were nothing more than flat places scraped in the desert, very dusty. To save valuable time and fuel, they took off three abreast like fighters to give time for the dust to settle before the next wave would be able to see the runway.”
Among the notable “flying partners” Hammond served with were actor Jimmy Stewart and musician Tennessee Ernie Ford, according to his son’s written account.
A 1908 photograph of the Keystone Park Band from the John R. Lynch Collection is the featured center-page of the issue. Band members including Charles Rockwell, Samuel Blair, Frank Kramm, Albert Flynn and Robert Daly, among others, are identified in the photograph.
The Sayre Canteen, pride of the community in both World Wars, is recognized for its patriotic contributions to the First World War in an article first published by the Scranton Republican newspaper in 1919. Two vintage views of the canteen structure are included from the collection of James R. Nobles.
Another featured story in the Quarterly is the Collins “Wheel Hub” factory that was located on S. Thomas Avenue. A rigorous competition in 1897 for the new factory was waged in various Pennsylvania communities including Allentown, Easton, Scranton, Bethlehem and Wilkes-Barre. A donation of land by the Sayre Land Company and a payment in lieu of taxes incentive for 10 years enticed the company to select Sayre. A scant seven years later, the factory was sold at a receiver’s sale. Later, the building housed the Sayre Brewery, the Paul Harris warehouse and then Label Processing and PAXAR. A fire in November 1950 damaged the two-story building and it was converted to one story.
The construction of a “new and improved” locomotive at the Sayre Shops of the Lehigh Valley Railroad was touted in an 1884 article from the Altoona Times. The Sayre-built steam locomotive was projected to pull a train at the speed of eighty miles per hour.
Finally, a photograph shows Valley Taxi driver Francis Lincoln on the job in Sayre in 1990.
The Quarterly is mailed to members of the Sayre Historical Society as part of their membership benefits. Individual copies are available from Carl’s Newsstand in Sayre. The Sayre museum is closed for the winter and will reopen on Saturday, April 4. Contact the museum at 570-882-8221 or by e-mail at email@example.com for membership information or volunteer opportunities.
The Sayre Historical Society is a member-supported, non-profit organization and a recipient of funding from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
Sayre museum hosting Model Train Day
SAYRE – Model trains of all shapes and sizes will be center-stage at the Annual Model Train Day on Saturday, November 30 at the Sayre Historical Society.
CAPTION: A Lionel steam locomotive donated to the Sayre Historical Society by Greg Lewis and Lorraine Gardner will be among several unique models on display at the Annual Model Train Day at the Sayre Historical Society on Saturday, November 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.
The all-day event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature a special display of Lionel trains, two operating HO-scale model train layouts, vendors offering railroad memorabilia and model train items, a special display of LEGO trains and railroad artist James Mann. Admission to the event is free.
Families, friends and rail fans are invited to attend this special event.
The Lionel train display will feature a variety of items from a recent donation by Greg Lewis and Lorraine Gardner including both pre-war and post-war Lionel locomotives, box cars and structures. The display will be located in the former baggage room of the historic Lehigh Valley Railroad Station. The room features one of two HO-scale model train layouts in the museum building. It was built by Charles Dixon and moved in two sections to the old baggage room, reassembled, rewired and now maintained with the technical help of John Reynolds and Aaron Dickson. A rugged coal mining operation and a small town typical of many communities along the route of the Lehigh Valley Railroad highlight this scenic layout.
The second layout includes a replica of the Sayre station, the Desmond Street Park, and buildings on Desmond Street from the 1940’s and 50’s. It was built by Don “Buckshot” Murray, a Navy veteran who worked for General Electric and passed away in 2008. His wife was the former Nancy Springer of Sayre. A special feature of the layout is the sound effects including the clank, clank, clank of passing trains, steam and diesel whistles and a conductor shouting, “All abo-o-o-o-o-o-ard!”
On the second floor of the museum, railroad memorabilia vendors will offer for sale a large variety of vintage railroad items. Bob Gongleski of Vestal, NY specializes in LVRR ephemera including postcards, slides, photographs and books. He also has over 800 LVRR postcards and other memorabilia for display.
Bob Pastorkey of Trackside Photo has a large selection of 8 x 10 black and white photographs he sells at various train shows. The photographs cover the Lehigh Valley, D.L. & W. and Erie-Lackawanna Railroads.
Watercolor painter and ink illustrator James Mann will also be present with a wide variety of prints and notecards depicting railroads including the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Mann created an original painting of the Sayre Historical Society’s Lehigh Valley Railroad Caboose #95011 for the 2016 Caboose Day. Prints and notecards will be available to purchase all day.
Sayre Historical Society founder James Nobles will also be offering postcards of Sayre and the Lehigh Valley Railroad, local history books and some items to give away.
The newest addition to Model Train Day is the LEGO duo of Megan Rothrock and Jim Foulds who have teamed up for Construct-a-Venture. Rothrock is a former product designer with The LEGO Group, designing LEGO sets. Foulds is a former publisher of Brickjournal, a LEGO-based journal, and a former community director for LEGO.
The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit organization staffed entirely by volunteers. The membership-supported museum receives funds from the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency and the Bradford County United Way.
Semi-pro football subject of cover story in Sayre Quarterly
SAYRE – Semi-pro football in Sayre in the 1940’s is profiled in the Fall issue of the Sayre Historical Society’s Quarterly history magazine. The story include a series of photographs donated by Guy Liguori that includes several of his father, Augie Liguori, who played on the Sayre Boosters.
CAPTION: An action picture from the 1940’s shows the Sayre Boosters, a semi-pro football team from Sayre. (Augie Liguori Collection)
A Sayre-built model engine and tender from 1939 called the General Sullivan is featured in the center section of the booklet which also includes stories on Sayre singer Johnny Arcesi, former Sayre coach Ray Welsh and the 45th reunion of the Sayre Class of 1940.
The Quarterly, published four times a year, is mailed to historical society members as part of their membership benefits. Individual copies are available at Carl’s News Stand in Sayre and the historical society museum located in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station in downtown Sayre. Museum hours are Saturdays from 10 to 4 and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Sayre Boosters was comprised on “former high school stars,” according to a November 21, 1941 issue of the Sayre Evening Times. One newspaper account highlights a hard-fought 12-7 win over a strong Cortland team that “lost only a single game in the past two seasons and is highly rated in Central New York semi-pro circles,” the newspaper stated.
Well-known names from the Valley sporting world included John Oliski, Augie Liguori, Sam Copie, Arnold Cochi, Nicholas Onofre, Dominic Pace, Vern Casselbury and more, according to the Times account.
In the late 1940’s, the team was called the Valley All-Stars and included many World War II veterans, according to the October 2, 1948 Evening Times. The roster of a competing team called the Elmira Gliders featured a former professional player and former college players from Cornell University and Ithaca College, stated the October 2, 1948 newspaper.
The story on Sayre singer Johnny Arcesi plots the rise of a young boy from the East Side who picked up extra change singing and even won a local talent contest held at the Sayre Theater.
Arcesi worked freelance for a number of bands including Joe Venuti’s Orchestra in the 1930’s. Venuti was known as one of the the world’s greatest swing violinist. A biographical account of Arcesi’s life by historian Autumn Lansing, documents the interesting ups and downs of the talented local singer.
Arcesi later performed under the name Don Darcy. He visited the Valley in 1939 after finding a measure of success in the entertainment world.
In one record company promotional effort, over seven thousand letters were received by Arcesi from Detroit area fans after his song “Prisoner of Love” was broadcast on the radio, according to Lansing.
In the story on Ray Welsh, the former Sayre coach from 1933 to 1942 is profiled by longtime Sayre sportswriter Paul Seibel. Welsh was also at one time a running coach and recruiter for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also wrote a book called Baseball on the Run: A Manual for Players, Coaches and Managers. A signed copy in the museum’s collection is written to the Times’ Siebel. Under Welsh’s coaching, Sayre won eight league titles in basketball and two District 4 PIAA track titles, according to an account by the Evening Times.
Several photographs from the 45th class reunion of the Class of 1940 are included from a recent donation of items by Kathleen Kunkler, daughter-in-law of Ed and Margaret (Castiglione) Kunkler.
An October 1, 1968 advertisement for Brotan’s on Desmond Street announces a “compete stock of Boy Scout uniforms, equipment and literature.” The ad was provided by Jim Nobles for the new exhibit at the museum on “A History of Scouting in Sayre.” The display will run through December 22.
The Sayre Historical Society will be hosting Model Train Day on Saturday, November 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Railroad memorabilia vendors, railroad artist James Mann and a special display on Lionel trains will be featured. Admission is free.
The Sayre Historical Society is a member-supported, non-profit organization and a recipient of funding from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
Historical Society Hosting Oktoberfest
SAYRE - The second floor of the Sayre Historical Society will be transformed into a Bavarian Beer Garden on Wednesday, October 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. when Oktoberfest will be celebrated with craft beer, tasty food and smooth jazz music.
CAPTION: Oktoberfest will be celebrated Wednesday, October 9 at the Sayre Historical Society will craft beer tastings, tasty food and live music.
The event will feature local beer tastings courtesy of Bluestone Brewery and Lane’s Beverage as well as delicious food from Blackburn 1897. Live music will be provided by Jesse Bennett, Brian Murphy and Dave Arenius. Admission is $10 and proceeds will benefit the Sayre Historical Society.
According to tradition, the original Oktoberfest was the occasion for a wedding celebration between Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. Multiple days of drinking were accompanied by feasting and horse races.
The historical society is also planning its first team trivia event on Sunday, October 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Sayre VFW on W. Lockhart Street.
Prizes will be $120 for first place, $75 for second place and $60 for third place. A variety of unique baskets donated by local businesses will also be raffled. Proceeds will benefit the Sayre Historical Society.
Admission will be $10 per person with a maximum of six players per team. Chris Davis will be handling the trivia host duties.
Food will be available courtesy of the historical society and the VFW will be open for a cash bar.
The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit historic preservation organization that receives funding from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
“Scouting in Sayre” opening September 7
SAYRE – A new exhibit that explores “A History of Scouting in Sayre” will open on Saturday, September 7 as part of History Fair at the Sayre Historical Society.
CAPTION: A group of Sayre scouts and an adult leader are pictured in this 1920’s-era photograph from a scrapbook owned by the late Kenneth Meade. “A History of Scouting in Sayre” will open Saturday, September 7 at the Sayre Historical Society. (Photograph courtesy of James Nobles)
One of the first references to the scouting movement in Sayre occurred on August 16, 1911 when it was announced that scouts from Sayre would be joining a group of Boy Scouts from Elmira for “a jolly outing” to Sullivan’s Monument. Equipped with woolen blankets for an overnight trip and “a supply of green corn” for a corn roast, the scouts were going to learn about the famous battle between General Sullivan’s Continental Army and the Native Americans and British east of Elmira. The Star-Gazette article noted that this outing might be the last opportunity to see the structure due to the precarious condition of the old stone monument. The original monument collapsed days later following a windstorm on August 29, 1911.
The Sayre exhibit covers both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and highlights interesting events in the history of the scouting movement. The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 and was based on a similar program begun in 1908 in England by Robert Baden-Powell. The Girl Scouts were founded in 1912 when Juliette Gordon-Low met Baden-Powell and started a movement in Savannah, Georgia. In 2017, the Boy Scouts announced that they would allow girls to join Cub Scouts and eventually be eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
The new Sayre exhibit will include early photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia such as scout books, canteens, backpacks, neckerchiefs, uniforms, badges and pennants. The historical society will continue to accept additional scout memorabilia to preserve and include in future displays.
Local names associated with the scouting movement include L.E. DeLaney, former teacher and superintendent of schools at Sayre, Dr. Donald Guthrie, Mrs. Cass Williams, Dr. Harry Fish, Albert Cryder, Edward Woodruff, Clair Daniels and more.
On July 30, 1948, sixteen-year-old Sidney Daniels of Sayre was awarded the Gold Medal for Life Saving Award from Boy Scouts for risking his life when another boy fell into the icy Packer Pond while ice-skating. He received the prestigious award in a ceremony in Howard Elmer Park.
Eagle Scout John Sargent of Troop 17 and Donald Mint performed an equally heroic act on January 25, 1967 when a seven-year-old Sayre boy fell into Island Pond and was rescued.
Other highlights include the opening of Brotan’s in Sayre as an outlet for scouting equipment in 1942. An advertisement in the Sayre Evening Times features an “official scouting hat” for 60 cents, a shirt for $2 and a knapsack for $2.35.
Longtime scouter Ed Woodruff was a member of Troop 6 in West Sayre when he received his Eagle Badge. Woodruff served 18 years as scoutmaster of Troop 18 in Sayre and later wrote a History of the General Sullivan Council and Camp Brule for his Wood Badge requirement. In a 1992 interview, Woodruff looked back over 60 years of scouting.
“A lot of things are hard to believe,” he said. “The first scout show we had was at the Sayre High School football field in about 1953, showing scouts working on merit badges. One of the boys was using a short wave radio, taking messages and building a radio set. My Lord, did we have a gathering of people to see that. It was beautiful. One of the best scout shows in the area.”
The exhibit will open on September 7 and run until December 22. Admission is free.
Upcoming events include History Under the Stars on Saturday, August 24 starting at 7 p.m. The event will feature music by Dr. Maria Sanphy and a history program on Howard Elmer Park by James Nobles. History Fair will be occurring on Saturday, September 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring history displays, re-enactors, live music and food. The Sayre Historical Society will also participate in an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the World War I Dough Boy Monument on Saturday, September 14.
The Sayre Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit historic preservation organization funded in part by the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.