CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Much like history itself, the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS) is constantly marching onward. Collecting, documenting, and preserving the wealth of historical information and memorabilia relating to the early settlement of Clifford and the surrounding areas keeps the small handful of CTHS volunteers busy. But without funding, its collective efforts will fall by the wayside. And history could be lost and virtually unknown to future residents.
Volunteer efforts, in-kind contributions, and quiet donations are very beneficial to keeping organizations like CTHS thriving. Since its founding in 2006, various grants have provided CTHS the wherewithal to not only establish the Museum of Local History and its numerous indoor exhibits, but to restore and enhance the Hoover School, present the Clifford Baptist Church, as well as create and ensure the growing efforts of the new Children’s Garden, the new Agricultural Museum, and the ongoing restoration of Yarns Cider Mill at Suraci Farm.
“The majority of our grant resources have come through the Endless Mountain Heritage Region,” said CTHS President Sandy Wilmot, “which is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Through that program, another $16,000 is available to us for this year and next. Many previous grants have been matched dollar for dollar through our merchandise sales and the generous donations of volunteer labor, materials, and dollars from CTHS members and friends. But now we need more help to match this large $16,000 grant.”
Toward this end, CTHS recently developed an innovative way to help increase its funding to match the awaiting grant monies. “We’re currently running a 50/50 raffle of 1000 tickets at $50 apiece,” said Wilmot. “This raffle is the first major fundraiser since CTHS was founded eleven years ago. It will enable us to award 20 prizes ranging from $100 to $10,000, while giving us the much-needed funds to finish the Children’s Garden and complete the cider mill renovation, restoring its original apple-pressing equipment.”
Wilmot noted that raffle tickets can be picked up at a variety of businesses throughout the Clifford area, including the Endless Mountains Pharmacy, Clifford Supply & Auto, Greenfield Power Equipment, Ellie DeFazio’s Hair Salon, Dunnier’s Country Store & Six Pack Shack, and Cable’s Deli. Tickets are also available by contacting 570-679-2723 or email@example.com; they are also printable from the CTHS website, www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. The raffle drawing will be held at 2:00pm on Sunday September 10th during an open house at the Cider Mill at the Suraci Farm. “We’re hopeful that our efforts to preserve the area’s history will merit the support of this raffle,” Wilmot added. “With only 1000 tickets being sold, each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance of winning – very nice odds!”
While the raffle is ongoing, CTHS volunteers are completing another fascinating new display inside the Museum. Beneath a sign that states “A person without knowledge of the past is like a tree without roots,” seven large display panels feature photos and other paper artifacts that depict 150 years of local history. Donated by area residents, these are primarily items that have not been previously included in the CTHS historical books written by Sally Fischbeck and local historian Pat Peltz.
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. Those who have any historical items that they would like to donate or lend to the Museum is invited to contact CTHS at 570-679-2723 or www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org.
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.