“GENERAL STORE” OPEN FOR BUSINESS
CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Come one – Come all! The grand opening of the new General Store in the Clifford Museum of Local History has been scheduled for Sunday February 21st, 1:00pm-4:00pm.
As part of the Clifford Township Historical Society’s (CTHS) continually evolving efforts to preserve and display local history, the General Store is the group’s latest project to come to fruition. “We’re really so excited about this,” said Sandy Wilmot, President of the Clifford Township Historical Society. “The Museum of Local History has kept growing since it first opened in 2012, and the General Store has been a planned part of this all along. For years, we’ve been collecting all kinds of memorabilia and local historical artifacts to display in the store, and to have this project finished is great.”
Located in the Community Center on Cemetery Street, Clifford, the Museum of Local History comprises an ever-growing assemblage of all things related to the history and the people of the local area. The General Store has been designed and built within the museum itself.
“Our store was designed to be just like some of the old general stores that were once found throughout the Clifford area,” said Wilmot. “It’s comprised of two separate walk-in rooms and includes memorabilia as well as items for sale.
In the main room, CTHS has displayed numerous artifacts, many of which have been donated from friends throughout the community. “There’s a pot-bellied stove, a big old barrel where folks can play checkers, and on loan to us from the Kenny Bennett family of Harford is the original McCaskey cash register from Bennett’s Store,” said Wilmot. “The shelves are stocked with jams, jellies, and apple butter that society members make from local area fruits and sell to benefit our many projects. We’re also selling CTHS calendars, CDs and books about the area’s history, note cards and Christmas ornaments, mugs and more.”
The room off the store’s main area is a replica of an old doctor’s office. As Wilmot noted, “Around the turn of the century, the doctor was also the town barber. This room houses an antique tilting barber’s chair that’s on loan to us from Sarah Keating. We’ve also collected numerous old medical books, vintage jars and bandage tins, and many somewhat unusual items that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a doctor’s office of today — so many things have changed through the years. Being able to share some of these items from long ago is not only educational, but it’s a wonderful way for many of our donors to be able to pass along some of their own heritage.”
While the General Store has been designed to be as authentic as possible, perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the store is its construction. The cedar boards that side the exterior walls were collected from the former Paradise Valley Dance Hall owned by Harvey White. “The hall is now being remodeled by Mike and Dave Prestys,” Wilmot added, “and they were more than happy to donate enough siding for our project. CTHS volunteer, contractor Jerry Lewandowski, carefully removed the siding and installed on the exterior of our General Store. It really looks great and adds so much authenticity.”
The CTHS continually benefits from local area residents and its dedicated volunteers who share their time, countless talents and skills, as well as their own ancestral memorabilia to help further the group’s works and enhance the community’s education of area history. Anyone who has any historical items that they would like to donate to or lend to the museum is invited to contact them at 570-679-2723 or www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. The museum is open monthly on the third Sunday from 1:00pm-4:00pm.
Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.
CTHS volunteers Shirley Granger, Sandy Wilmot, and Marianne Pribula take a break while putting the finishing touches on the new General Store in the Museum of Local History, located in Clifford’s Community Center. The new exhibit will open to the public on Sunday February 21st, from 1:00pm-4:00pm.