Connellsville Historical Society preserving the area’s past | Helping the Helpers

‘Don’t throw anything away that deals with the history Connellsville or the Connellsville area,’ society President Karen Hechler said

By: - December 2, 2021 6:30 am

Sarah Reedy, an archivist with the Connellsville Historical Society, goes through the volumes of Connellsville’s rich history (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo).

By Mark Hofmann

CONNELLSVILLE, Pa. — The Connellsville Historical Society is in need of monetary and historical donations to keep its mission going strong.

(Capital-Star file)

In 1971, members of the Connellsville Chamber of Commerce became alarmed that local history, including Connellsville’s history was being ignored or lost for future generations.

Those members formed the Connellsville Historical Society with a mission to preserve and protect the history of the Connellsville area and to disseminate it out to the public.

Along with archiving history, members have organized two notable events on an annual basis to help promote the history of the region.

Yearly they commemorate Braddock’s Crossing, a reenactment of Major General Edward Braddock’s troops crossing the Youghiogheny River in Connellsville on their way to Fort Duquesne in 1755. The organization also holds the Pride in Connellsville contest every year.

The poster and poetry contest invites local students in grades 4 to 9 to express their pride in the Connellsville area; monetary awards and special recognitions are given to the winners in an annual reception where students present their work.

“It shows their amazing talent,” said Karen Hechler, the president of the Connellsville Historical Society. “It’s amazing what the kids come up with.”

While the contest continued on during the pandemic, Hechler said they canceled the reception in 2020 and 2021 because they didn’t want to put anyone attending at risk.

Hechler said they hope to bring back the reception for the contest in 2022.

She said the organization wants to move forward with remodeling projects at the Gibson House including fixing the attic to store and protect more history from Connellsville.

Located at 217 West Patterson Ave., Gibson House the home of the Connellsville Area Historical Society. The house dates back to at least 1818. It was scheduled for demolition but the society recognized its historical significance and purchased it for $12,000.

To help, Hechler said anyone can become a member of the historical society; monetary donations are always welcome as well as anyone interested in volunteering or serving on the organization’s board.

Also, she said, there is one practical thing can help the organization fulfill its mission.

“Don’t throw anything away that deals with the history Connellsville or the Connellsville area,” Hechler said.

She said society members will gladly look at those items and accept them if they are historic because once they’re thrown away, many of them are irreplaceable.

Mark Hofmann is a reporter for the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Readers may email him at [email protected]. Helping the Helpers is a cooperative effort between the Uniontown Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. 

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