Oakmont Historical Society makes new home in time for 125th celebration
In Oakmont, there is no time like the present to appreciate the past.
There are two reasons: the celebration of the town's 125th anniversary this year and the establishment of a museum that focuses on the town's history.
The anniversary celebration, which has begun with a few events, will extend throughout 2014 with more events taking place each month.
As for the museum, it appears to have a permanent home in a storefront at 628 Allegheny River Blvd., according to Gary Rogers, president of the Oakmont Historical Society.
“That's our plan,” Rogers said.
The society, which was formed in 2007, created the museum in a storefront next to the Wines and Spirits Store.
Rogers said he, Matt Provenza and other society members painted the interior and did the needed preparation work.
Colleen McQuigan, the museum's curator, “really put this together with the collections and displays,” Rogers said.
All connected with the museum, including McQuigan, are society members who work on a volunteer basis, Rogers said. The museum operates on donations, fundraisers and the sale of items such as T-shirts.
The two main rooms in the front of the museum are used for displays. A smaller one in the back is dedicated to items related to the Oakmont schools.
The featured display in the front room is about the defunct Edgewater Steel Co., which was the town's largest employer.
“That will be there for about two months, and then we'll replace that with a display on the railroad,” Rogers said.
One feature of the museum focuses on photographs and items from a prominent Oakmont family. The display, which will change periodically, currently is dedicated to the Reeds, who owned a planing mill in Pittsburgh.
The family display is kept on and above a carved wooden mantle salvaged from the demolition of a house on Fourth Street when a workman noticed “Oakmont, Pa. 1890” carved into the back. The society learned it was made by a carpenter named Adam Hoerr who lived in Oakmont.
There is an area devoted to firefighters, police and military veterans as well.
Pointing to the center of a the display case, Rogers said, “This is probably the oldest piece we have, it's a medal from the Mexican War.”
The medal belonged to Joseph Schell Reed who lived from 1823 to 1912 and served with the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in the Mexican-American War from 1847 to 1848.
The room dedicated to the community's schools includes an old bass drum from the Oakmont High School marching band and a band member's uniform and hat as well. There is also a collection of Oakmont High yearbooks, as well as a display focusing on athletics in Oakmont, which pays tribute to the 1965 Oakmont High football team that won the WPIAL Class B title under iconic football coach Chuck Wagner.
Another display case holds an old leather football helmet from Oakmont High.
“You know Chuck Wagner?” he asks. “This is his actual football helmet when he played at Oakmont. Look how small it is. I don't know how he fit it on his head.”
The museum opened in November after being housed temporarily in the Oakmont Carnegie Library.
“We had a lot of this stuff that people donated but we had nowhere to display it,” Rogers said. “Oakmont library gave us a space, but it was small and we would rotate displays in and out. Then we found this space.”
Rogers, who said he is a direct descendant of Michael Bright, the first person to settle in what is now Oakmont back in 1816, is pleased with the public response to the museum. He said people continue to provide financial donations and give historical materials.
“It makes me feel good that the people of Oakmont have just embraced this place,” he said. “Oakmont is a nice little town and it me makes me feel good that they've embraced their history.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mother of Kiski student files lawsuit against bus company, driver
- Turnpike construction worker hurt in fall
- Vietnam Veterans Celebration at Tarentum VFW brings ‘brothers’ back together
- Frazer residents rattled by potholes
- Apollo to assess owners of vacant properties
- New Kensington resident looks to transform city
- Man in New Kensington standoff charged
- Eagle egg breaks, parents abandon nest
- Allegheny Township dentist to help those in need on mission trip to Belize
- OSHA fines East Deer company $70,000 in aftermath of worker’s electrocution
- Leadership Butler County aims to benefit community with pavilion project