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Schedule of Events for 2020 - New Books in the Gift Shop

Fall Quarterly explores origins of Sayre’s mascot

SAYRE – The unveiling of the Sayre High School mascot more than 70 years ago is highlighted in the Fall issue of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly. The Quarterly is mailed to members as part of their membership benefits four times a year. Individual copies are available by calling the museum at (570) 882-8221 or by email at

CAPTION: Former standout athlete, coach and educator Robert B. Redman is profiled in the Fall 2020 issue of the Sayre Historical Society’s Quarterly magazine. Ten years before the “Redskin” was adopted as the school mascot, Coach Redman’s football teams were sometimes called “The Redmen.” (Sayre Historical Society Photograph)

The Redskin mascot was officially introduced to a sell-out crowd of 3,000 for the season-opening game on September 19, 1947.

“With the field in darkness except for flares surrounding a huge kettle, a band of Indians swarmed on the field and staged a dance around the flares to the rhythmic beat of drums from members of the band,” according to the September 20, 1947 Sayre Evening Times. “The Indians, all bedecked in regalia, kept whooping it up until finally they reached into the kettle and brought out a large streamer bearing the name ‘Redskins.’ Then they marched about the field so the thousands of spectators could see it.”

The “Indians” were portrayed by Sayre students including Ramsey Cook and the event was supervised by Miss Virginia Loop, a member of the faculty.

The Redskin name was “selected by school authorities following a year-long campaign for suggestions,” stated the September 18, 1947 Sayre Times. Before the adoption of a school mascot, Sayre’s sports teams were known as the Red and Blue and even the “Redmen” during the era of Sayre coach Bob Redman. An account of the legendary coach and educator is featured as the cover story which includes a photograph of Redman in his late 1920’s high school football uniform. He was a Sayre native and a member of the legendary Sayre football squads during the 1924 through 1926 season when the team won 29 straight games.

A high school valedictorian, Redman played football and baseball at Swarthmore College and was a member of the college’s national honor society. He received a master’s degree from Duke University in 1941 and was planning to take his final examination for his doctorate at New York University before his death at age 51, according to the obituary in the June 9, 1960 Evening Times.

A second story highlights the April 14, 1977 removal of the Lehigh Valley Railroad power house stacks. Included with the story are pictures from the collection of Ed Nagle.

“There was a loud scraping when the cable tightened up on the stack, and dirt and debris started to fall away. The huge stack started teetering and swaying and it looked very much like it was going to fall toward the crane which was parked towards the former (freight) station,” according to the April 15, 1977 Evening Times.

The 1933 Sayre football team is pictured in the center section of the booklet in a classic photograph taken at Howard Elmer Park. The park bandstand and the new Robert Packer Hospital, under construction following the May 3, 1933 fire, can be seen rising up in the background portion of the photo.

Ford Wolcott, a carpenter for the Lehigh Valley Railroad is also profiled in the fall issue. Wolcott, the father of Mrs. Nellie Bunn of Athens, is pictured in the window of LV inspection engine No. 6 which was “rebuilt” in the Sayre Shops in 1913. A rare photograph of the engine is included with the story. Wolcott was a World War I veteran and served at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. He was a grandson of Bradford County pioneer Samuel P. Wolcott of Litchfield.

There is also a story on the Sayre Post Office which was recently mentioned in a magazine article by Trish Gannon of Idaho. She discovered that four post office buildings, including the one in Sayre, were designed by W.D. Lovell who was employed in the office of the Supervising Architect to the Secretary of the Treasury.

The article includes the cover of the Sandpoint magazine and a view of the Sayre post office from 1969. The two other identical post office buildings are located in Bellows Falls, Vt. and Maria, Tx.

An article by Jim Nobles with an illustration by Dana Twigg, recalls the row of brick houses on N. Elmer Avenue that were reinforced with star-shaped metal rods following a damaging wind storm.

“Today, those star-shaped caps identify that row of houses built during Sayre’s boomtown decade of the 1880,” said Nobles.

James P. Campbell of Sayre is pictured in a campaign poster from 1915 when he was a candidate for Bradford County treasurer.

The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit historic preservation organization staffed entirely by volunteers. The membership-supported organization receives funding from the United Way of Bradford County and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

Sayre Historical Society dedicates Rotating Exhibit Room to the late Ken Bracken

On Saturday August 15, 2020, the trustees of the Sayre Historical Society invited the family of the late Ken Bracken to the Sayre Museum for a ceremony to dedicate the Rotating Exhibit Room of the museum to Ken’s memory. Ken Bracken a lifelong resident of the Borough of Sayre was instrumental in the acquisition, design and build of the Sayre Historical Society Museum located in the historic old Lehigh Valley Passenger Station in downtown Sayre. Sayre Borough Mayor and long-time trustee of the Sayre Historical Society Henry G. Farley spoke about Ken and his many contributions to the society. Farley said that Bracken had joined the board of trustees in 1994 and was soon after elected president. Farley continued saying that in those days the museum had no home we lived out of boxes and moved from place to place. Ken Bracken was instrumental in holding the group together and when Sayre Borough turned the station building over to the society Ken took the ball and ran and kept running leading us through many projects that all contributed to the completed highly acclaimed museum dedicated to the history of all aspects of Sayre and the railroad. Farley also said that when Ken passed so suddenly November 13, 2019 the trustees of the Sayre Historical Society immediately decided to honor Ken’s memory by naming the rotating exhibit room in his honor. Farley concluded saying that Ken is missed and told Ken’s family that if they wanted to connect with Ken’s memory just come to the museum because his signature is on almost every inch of the building.

Photo caption: The family of the late Ken Bracken at the dedication of the Ken Bracken Exhibit Room left to right: Justin Will, Scott Will, Stephanie Will, Jennifer Will, Alyssa Wimsatt, Kathy Wimsatt, Paul Satterley, John Wimsatt, Jason Coyle and Justine Coyle not pictured was Ken’s son Kevin.

Early Recollections of the Church of the Redeemer

Volume 1, Number 1
By Louise Bishop Kennedy

When I first went to Sunday School, we did not have a beautiful church building like this, but we did have a lovely little frame chapel which stood where the Town Hall is now located. Mr. Robert Packer, the superintendent of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, was the founder of Sayre, and built his fine home, now known as the old part of the hospital. The next thing he built was the chapel, which though small was complete, and fitted with a suitable altar, lectern, font, etc. There were not many families in Sayre in those early days, so it was large enough for all, and as it was the only place of worship for a number of years, people of different denominations attended service.

The first organist was Mrs. Holly Thomas, whose fine old farm house was on the east side of the track. Mrs. Packer and my mother sand in the choir and Mrs. Percy Lang was one of the quartette. I don’t remember the fourth member.

Now I want to tell you about some of the good times we used to have in Sunday School. Mr. Packer was a devoted churchman, and he was also very fond of children and at Christmas time always planned a treat for the children. For two weeks before Christmas, we children would go to the chapel after school and rehearse the Christmas carols. Our rector then, Mr. Morrow, was a fine musician, as is our present rector, Mr. Walter, so were well drilled on the carols.

During the evenings of those weeks before Christmas, my father and mother, and other older people of the congregation gathered together to wind evergreens to decorate the chapel. Mr. Packer would have loads of ground pine and other evergreens sent to work on, and we children thought it great fun to help by bunching the evergreens and handing to them, and playing around during the evenings. Then on Christmas Eve there was always the big tree beautifully decorated and every child was given a bag of candy, an orange and a gift.

One year, I remember, the Christmas Eve celebration was different. It was in 1881 and the present railroad station had just been completed, so that year the tree was set up on the second floor of the new depot. We gathered at the chapel and marched to the depot and upstairs there was the tree twinkling with candles and gifts. We sang carols and had our service, and then a good play time.

It was not only at Christmas that Mr. Packer thought of the children. For the Fourth of July, he would order a big supply of fireworks, and children and their parents would be invited to gather on the sloping lawn in front of the Packer residence, now the hospital. Then two or three of them, of whom my father was always one, would set off the rockets, red lights, etc.

After a number of years, the congregation grew, with the growth of the town. The building became crowded and they enlarged the chapel by cutting it in two in the middle – moving back the part with the latter and then building a new part in the center.

Another thought that comes to me was about the bell. After the chapel was enlarged, it was decided that we must have a bell for the belfry of the chapel. So the Sunday School children all helped earn money to buy one. I was treasurer of the fund, and was so happy when at last we had enough to buy the bell, and the money was handed over to the church treasurer. Bishop Howe was our dear old Bishop at that time, and for a few years he came for confirmation service, but he became too feeble to travel and had an assistant, Bishop Rulison, who confirmed me. To honor Bishop Howe, a tree was planted in the park, and I hope some time it will be marked so all may know for whom it was planted.

Later, Rev. Dr. Leighton Coleman, and his wife, who was a DuPont of Wilmington, Del., came to Sayre at the request of Mrs. Cummings, formerly Miss Mary Packer, to erect a more suitable church building. Dr. Coleman took a great part in civic affairs, as well as creating great interest in the church. He was elected a school director and offered prizes for excellence in certain subjects. He at once began the work the work of getting the new church building started and consulted with architects and Mrs. Cummings, and was here when the cornerstone was laid. He was then called to the Bishopric of Delaware and had to leave at once. So the Rev. Mr. Carr was called to our parish, and was rector just 50 years ago when the church was consecrated, but Bishop Coleman came back to preach the sermon. My mother played the organ part of the time in the chapel, and was organist when we moved to the new church. Later I was organist for six years. After we moved to the new church, the chapel was used as a parish house, and many entertainments, plays, etc. were given there.

When the services were first held in the little chapel, there were few houses as yet in Sayre. There were fields all around. The Heister Piollet house was one of the first and it was here that Bishop Coleman lived while in Sayre. The park was planned but not laid out; it was nothing but a field and there were paths around it. From my father’s house on the corner of Park Place, there were no buildings in view in the direction of the church until one reached the Hayden property, except the small shanties located where the superintendent of shops now resides. The men who occupied these small houses worked in the brick yard which was located on what is now the far end of the Coleman Memorial Field.

Summer Quarterly features article on “community aristocrat”

SAYRE – A Sayre surgeon who helped found the People’s Hospital, guided the formation of the World War I Canteen and achieved fame nation-wide as a public speaker is the featured story in the Sayre Historical Society’s Quarterly history magazine. Dr. Harry S. Fish also built a fabulous mansion on W. Lockhart Street that was lauded in a 1914 newspaper article as “the (most) beautiful country home in the Valley.”

CAPTION: Dr. Harry Fish, surgeon, Canteen organizer and Rotarian, is featured in the Summer issue of the Sayre Historical Society’s Quarterly history magazine.

The Summer issue also features a look back at the Sayre High School Class of 1970, a 1919 visit to the Sayre Shops by the largest locomotive in the world and an 1986 interview with Harold Peterson, who worked in the Sayre Shops for over 50 years.

Dr. Fish was born in 1880 in Waverly and after attending Waverly schools enrolled at Cornell University majoring in pre-medicine. After earning his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Dr. Fish served an internship at the Robert Packer Hospital under Dr. Charles Ott. After leaving the Packer Hospital staff, he and a group of other area doctors formed the People’s Hospital, according to the August 1, 1960 Sayre Evening Times. The People’s Hospital later merged with the newly-built Tioga General Hospital in Waverly and Dr. Fish was its first surgeon-in-chief.

During World War I, Dr. Fish chaired the first Red Cross drive in Sayre and was instrumental with his wife, Ruth, in organizing the famous Sayre Canteen. Dr. Fish also enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and remained in the Army Reserves for 10 years after the war, according to the August 1, 1960 Sayre Times.

Finally, Dr. Fish was active in the Rotary Club, often traveling far and wide to speak on subjects such as “Time,” “The Human Brain,” and others. On one occasion, Dr. Fish introduced the father of pioneering female pilot Amy Johnson and the father-in-law of Charles Lindbergh.

Dr. Fish was lauded as a “community aristocrat” at a testimonial dinner held in the Coleman Memorial Parish House in 1947.

The Class of 1970 receives a retrospective look on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The class was arguably one of the most successful in Sayre sports history with an undefeated cross country team coached by John Childs and lead by Mike Gergel, a perfect 9-0 record in football and a 13-1 wrestling season led by Robin Munn and Bob Twigg. The legendary football team was headed by Coach Tom McCabe (Valley Coach of the Year), and state-recognized players Don Wayman, Randy Carocci and Burt Stevens.

The yearbook includes senior nicknames such as “Broadway Bill,” “Doc,” “Sunshine,” “Krusher,” and “Duzer,” among others.

The center section features a photograph of the Erie Railroad’s massive steam locomotive named for engineer Matt Shay that spent three month in the Sayre Shops in 1919. The locomotive was known as a “Triplex Compound” engine. The photograph was from the Bolander Collection.

The story on Harold Peterson was based on a tape recorded conversation from 1986. Peterson, who was a chief clerk for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Sayre, retired in 1966. He was a burgess (mayor) of Sayre and served as an auditor for the school and borough. He was married to the former Grace Enright and passed away on November 3, 1999.

An excerpt from the conversation includes mention of his start on the railroad as a messenger boy in the years before World War I.

“Back in those days, it was all telegraphy,” he said. “Even the dispatching of trains was handled by telegraphy. And so, us messenger boys used to get messages from all over the railroad, handling all railroad business.”

His time on the railroad covered many changes in railroad technology.

“I saw the first little steam engines come in,” he said. “And then I saw the first motor cars, what they called motor cars back in those days. I saw them come on. And I saw the big engines gradually come on and then I saw the diesel engines. So, I was through the whole thing all of those years.”

Peterson said he worked with many people over the years and the work of clerks at the railroad shop was important.

“The people that I served under, of course, they’re all gone. Hundreds of them. I couldn’t even begin to name them all that I worked under. The head clerk and the chief clerk, were really, well, it’s like any office, he really carried the ball. He ran things.”

The inside back cover has a photograph of artist John Baglini with his portrait of Ray Hauver, former junior high music director, music teacher and composer.

The Quarterly is a member benefit of the Sayre Historical Society mailed to all members. Individual copies are available at the museum or by mail. Visit the museum web site or contact the historical society at for more information.

The historical society is planning a Saturday, August 1 opening with the dedication of the Ken Bracken Exhibit Room. The newest exhibit, “Downtown: A History of Sayre’s Business Community” is the featured exhibit. Photographs and historical information from the exhibit are featured on the historical society’s Facebook page.

Sayre businessman profiled in Spring Quarterly

SAYRE – A leading figure in Sayre’s business community for over 40 years is featured in the Spring issue of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly. Sidney Glaser, proprietor of Glaser’s Rexall on W. Packer Avenue, was a Sayre High School graduate who served in the U.S. Navy during World War I, studied engineering at Cornell University and served on the Sayre School Board for many years, according to the 1974 issue of the Sayre Evening Times.

CAPTION: Sidney Glaser and wife Marion are profiled in the Spring issue of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly history magazine (Mollie Caplan Collection).

Other items in the latest issue are the 1946 Testimonial Dinner for long-time Sayre Superintendent L.E. DeLaney, a story on Albert Flynn, master painter for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Sayre and a well-known local musician, the preservation grant for a series of photographs and letters from Joseph J. Bottone of South Waverly, and a large two-page photograph of LV steam locomotive No. 5127 beneath the Sayre foot bridge.

In the feature story on Mr. Glaser, excerpts from a biography written by his daughter, Mollie Caplan, recounts the early days of the store.

“Drug stores in the 1920’s were primarily drug stores, but veterinary supplies were an important part of the business, especially medications for farm animals,” she wrote. “Over the years, school supplies and cosmetics became an important part of the business.”

Caplan said she and her siblings worked in the store as they were growing up.

“Sid’s children, Joe, Mollie and David all loved working in the drug store when they were old enough and hung out with their friends when they were young,” said Caplan. “You have a lot of friends when your father had a soda fountain.”

Before Mr. Glaser passed away, he had donated to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. more than 1,000 items from the 1920’s to the 1980’s, according to Caplan’s account. These items included the first penicillin and various patent medicines. Later, his children donated drug store items and papers to a new Drug Store Museum being planned in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Sayre Historical Society was the recipient of numerous items from the Glaser family including antique toys, children’s books, games, medicine bottles, family items and photographs.

Mr. Glaser’s father, Simon, came to the United States from his native Russian Poland at the age of 16, according to the Feb. 20, 1936 Sayre Evening Times.

After arriving in New York City, he wanted to learn more about the “customs and way of life of America” and left the city and ended up in Bradford County, according to the Feb. 30, 1936 Times account.

“As a young man, he realized that he would that he would be unable to learn the country and its people in New York, and determined to move to a smaller community and came to Towanda,” stated the article. “There he made his headquarters for many years, while operating as a pack merchant, traveling through the territory. During those years he built his knowledge of the English language and of the American people.”

The older Mr. Glaser moved to Sayre in the late 1880’s, opening a clothing store and later a loan business, according to the 1936 Times article.

He and his son, Sidney, formed a partnership in 1918 and opened the drug store.

The segment on L.E. DeLaney features a program booklet for the May 27, 1946 dinner held in his honor. The cover features a sketch of Mr. DeLaney done by Gene Latini, a member of the Sayre Class of 1946.

The article on Albert Flynn includes mention of his musical abilities (he played primarily baritone horn and cornet) and his leadership (he was one-time director of the Lehigh Shops band).

The Lehigh band was organized in 1912 and was composed of employees of the Lehigh Valley Railroad in Sayre. The group often performed concerts through the Valley area.

Flynn was also leader of the newly-formed Waverly Band, according to the June 21, 1912 Waverly Free Press.

A generous donation of rare photographic views of the Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad in South Waverly resulted in a grant of $100 from the Potomac Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS).

The photographs, plus additional views of the railroad in Sayre and letters addressed to LVRR president Elisha P. Wilbur, were donated to the Sayre museum by the son of the late Joseph J. Bottone of South Waverly. Mr. Bottone was a machinist at the Ingersoll-Rand in Athens and a long-time railroad enthusiast. He also volunteered at the Valley Railroad Museum which preceded the Sayre Historical Society. Bottone’s son, Joseph A. Bottone, also donated a large number of photographic negatives to the Sayre museum.

A workshop on establishing a “digital darkroom” was held at the Sayre Historical Society on January 18 with Robert Pastorkey of Binghamton, a member of the Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the NRHS.

The inside back cover of the history booklet features a group of Sayre men preparing to board a train at the Sayre station during World War II. The photograph was donated by Rick Antonetti of Sayre as part of the Eugene Paluzzi Collection.

An advertisement on the back cover of the magazine highlights an advertisement for Atlas tires from Horn, Horn & Co., located on Desmond Street in Sayre.

Due to continuing health concerns, the scheduled opening of the Sayre Historical Society on Saturday, April 4 has been postponed to a later date. Contact the museum at for additional information, or visit Facebook or the museum website at for updates.

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 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 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 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.

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