Category Archives: Uncategorized

CLIFFORD HISTORICAL SOCIETY DRAWS WINNERS

Proudly holding her first-place winning ticket, Linda Parlanti (Rear, Left) of Clifford Township, shares her excitement with Sandy Wilmot, CTHS Director (Rear, Right), and (Bottom, L-R), Ruth Knighton, CTHS Treasurer, and Gloria Suraci Bilotta, owner of Yarns Cider Mill; Bilotta leased the mill property to CTHS in 2012 for $1 for 100 years.

 

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — “Our sincerest THANK YOU to EVERYONE who supported our most successful fundraiser ever,” said Sandy Wilmot, Director of the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS).  On Sunday September 10th, amid a crowd of visitors enjoying an early Fall afternoon, Wilmot drew the winning tickets in the 50/50 raffle held by the CTHS.  (The winners’ names are posted on their website, www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org.)

                “Donations were collected right up to the end, just prior to drawing the tickets,” Wilmot added.  “And the most amazing part is that $2,750 from several winning tickets has been graciously donated back to the Historical Society.  This support is so very much appreciated and will be put to good use!”

                Held inside the nearly 150-year old Yarns Cider Mill at Suraci Farm in Clifford Township, the raffle drawing was the culmination of an innovative ten-month long major fundraiser.  With hundreds of tickets sold at $50 apiece, “raising funds like this wasn’t an easy job, but our community of friends and families came through for us,” said Wilmot.  “It’s exciting to know that our small group of volunteers can continue to move forward with many of our plans and programs to help keep local-area history alive.”

                Founded in 2006, the CTHS has endeavored to collect, document, and preserve the wealth of historical information and memorabilia relating to the early settlement of Clifford and the surrounding area.  Throughout the years, the CTHS has established the Museum of Local History and its ever-growing indoor exhibits.  It restored and enhanced the Hoover School, is continually collecting artifacts for the year-old Agricultural Museum located on the picnic grounds of the township’s fire company, seasonally grows the efforts of the newer Children’s Garden, and is currently in the throes of renovating the Cider Mill to working order. 

                “The community continues to give and help and support our program’s efforts,” Wilmot said.  “And these raffle funds have really helped us to continue matching the various grants made available to us through The Endless Mountain Heritage Region.  Funded by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, they made $12,000 available to us for this year and next.  Together with the funds raised through this raffle, prior grants, monetary donations, and the countless hours our handful of volunteers continually donates, we’re able to match grants dollar for dollar.”

To volunteer your time with the CTHS or make a donation to help fund its many projects, contact the group at 570-679-2723 or email peltz@nep.net

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.

Clifford Township Historical Society “GENERAL STORE” OPEN FOR BUSINESS

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.

IMG_1287

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.

A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU Synchronized Musical Light Show 6 to 9 pm Dec 11 through Jan 3

A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU
Synchronized Musical Light Show
6 to 9 pm Dec 11 through Jan 3

At the Clifford Community Center
119 Cemetery Street Clifford Township 18421

Brandon Freely, Mt View senior assembled the twenty minute loop
with support from the Clifford Township Supervisors.
All are welcome to enjoy – free of charge.
A sample of the Light show is also on Cliffordpa Facebook page.
Enjoy the Season !!!
More info- Contact Twp secretary 570-222-9364 or email cliffordtownship@yahoo.com

THE ‘TALKING’ CANOE

THE ‘TALKING’ CANOE
CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Since the initial discovery of the Mud Pond Dugout Canoe in 1976 and its eventual acquisition nearly three decades later by the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS), this particular canoe has led to some welcomed recognition for the township and its small group of resident-historians. Most significantly, the canoe itself has been primarily responsible for the development of the Museum of Local History in Clifford, which, in effect, has helped put the 41-sq.-mile rural township of nearly 2,500 residents more prominently on the map.

Add to this the fact that the canoe now talks, well, that is certainly a map maker!

With thanks to collective grants from the Bradford County Regional Arts Council, PA Partners in the Arts, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, and support from Adams Cable, funds were recently provided to essentially give a voice to the historic canoe display. “The overall display has developed into something not only very beautiful, but it’s informative and educational,” said Sandy Wilmot, CTHS President. “It authentically tells the story of the Native Americans who once lived in our area, what their lives were like, and how their being here helped lead to the development of Clifford Township.”
As Wilmot explained, “To create the effect we wanted to complete the canoe display, we needed more than signs that visitors could read. We wanted the canoe and the overall display to literally come alive. We obviously have the visual … we needed audio. The display needed sound, music, and an actual vocal presentation of what’s in the display itself. We joked that the canoe needed to ‘talk.’ Unfortunately, none of our small group has the capability to create something like this from our ideas alone.”
At her son’s suggestion, Wilmot reached out to Magdon Music in Olyphant. “These folks were wonderful!” Wilmot exclaimed. “In barely three hours, Joe Loftus and his brother, Bob, literally gave a voice to our canoe display.”

“Sandy came to us with all of her ideas. But, admittedly, creating exactly what she wanted was a bit new to us,” said Loftus, a professional musician and owner of JL Studios, located on the lower level of Magdon’s shop. “It was a trial and error learning curve for us that required a bit of research. We have the equipment, but making things work exactly to fit Sandy’s ideas required pushing the right buttons. It’s an art form, much like putting a puzzle together. Once everyone’s input was there, it all came together fairly easily.

“Sandy wanted to include Nature’s background sounds with chirping birds, a crackling fire, swooshing water, and flute music was an absolute must for her,” Loftus said with a laugh. “Added to these, she needed clear vocals to include the descriptive information. That’s where my brother came in with the voice-over. He’s a former DJ who added to a great team effort. We developed the audio tracks, edited things as Sandy listened, offering her give and take, and she left here very happy with the end results.”

As Wilmot added, “Frank Little Bear is a Native American and a friend of CTHS who has often helped us with our historical presentations. He’s also part of this audio tape, as he literally takes visitors on a journey through the display. He talks about the canoe, how it was made and used. He also talks about the clay used in local pottery, the Lenni-Lenape who gathered wood and stones for their villages, the animals who were considered sacred.

“It was absolutely amazing to me when we were all done,” Wilmot said. “We left Joe’s studio with a great sound tape, and Mike Magdon ordered and installed the equipment necessary to synchronize everything, including some special lighting effects. These fellas literally created our ‘talking canoe.’ Now visitors can push a button and listen to 20 minutes of local history that’s presented much like museums in large cities. Everyone in our society holds themselves to a set of standards for excellence in everything that we do. This tape is a very professional addition to the museum, something which Clifford can be proud to have in its town.”

When the canoe was first displayed during the 2008 Chautauqua, it held mild interest. It was an exciting find for the society itself, as well as the township’s supervisors who have helped support and sustain the CTHS and its ongoing works to develop the museum and its ever-growing collections, events, and activities that bring visitors to Clifford. But at the time, despite the especially handsome find that it is, the canoe merely sat in a room devoid of much else. When early visitors stopped by, local historians and docents talked about its surprising discovery and the history of the Native Americans that once lived in the area. To further tell its story, a beautiful mural was painted in 2011 by local artist Michelle McLain, depicting scenery that authentically reflects the canoe’s 1692 lineage. Today, the canoe now has a voice to further share its own story and the related history of Clifford and its surrounding area.

Through years of fundraising and grants whose well-written verbiage has been thoroughly researched, the society has continually added to its museum, which is located in the Community Center on Cemetery Street in Clifford. The museum (open monthly on the third Sunday from 1:00pm-4:00pm) includes memorabilia, historical artifacts, art works, and more that are all part of Clifford and its people. Additionally, the CTHS continually benefits from dedicated volunteers and citizens who share their time, many and various talents and skills, as well as their own ancestral memorabilia to help further its works and the community. “And to think … it all started with a dugout canoe that has been the key to helping open the doors to sharing Clifford’s history with others,” said Wilmot.
The CTHS was born during the planning of the township’s bi-centennial celebration in 2006. But as the CTHS has grown and earned non-profit status, the little society that does big things keeps getting bigger. For additional information about the CTHS or to share and participate in their various activities, contact them at 570-679-2723, via swilmot@echoes.net, or at 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.

IMG_1146

#1 Brothers Joe and Bob Luftus at work in JL Studios, Olyphant, helped create the new audio tape for the Clifford Township Historical Society’s canoe display.
IMG_1142

#2 The Mud Pond Dugout Canoe display in the Museum of Local History in Clifford is now complete with an audio tape that presents some of the local history of Clifford and the region.