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City of Jeannette set to celebrate its 125th anniversary

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Jeannette's 125th Anniversary Committee met this week to finalize plans for the celebration set to begin in two weeks. From left are committee members Olivia Schultz, Ed Schultz, Krista Rugh, Cris Lowstuter, Carole Babish, Melissa Skiffen, Margie Hudson, Bob Tanyer, Ryan Highlands and Sherene Stuchell.

In less than two weeks, the City of Jeannette will celebrate its 125th anniversary during the annual Community Days celebration.

Margie Hudson, a member of the Jeannette Historical Society and the 125th Anniversary committee, hopes that residents will find inspiration in looking back at all that the city's endured and achieved over the years.

“I feel that Jeannette has so much potential and a rich history, a wonderful, beautiful history, that a lot of people don't even know,” said Hudson. “I wanted to be part of something that shows everyone we made it 125 years. It's so amazing, we're still here.”

Hudson, who joined the Historical Society two years ago after finding the Jeannette O'History page on Facebook, has fallen in love with the people she's met in the group and the stories she's learning about the history of her hometown.

“My heart will always be in the historical society. That is what I bring to it,” she said. “I feel that is where the future could be. We have to get people to know what a rich history we had so we can make the future better.”

Other members of the 125th Anniversary Committee include, but are not limited to, Carole Jo Sutor-Babish, Bob Carter, Nelson Hetherton, Pete Highlands, Ryan Highlands, Allan Kuhns, Cris Lowstuter, Lee Matchett, Krista Rugh, Kristina Rugh, Ed Schultz, Olivia Schultz, Melissa Skiffen, Sherene Stuchel, Bob Tanyer, Mary Beth Wallace and Russ Wallace.

“We came from nothing. We started out as a field with some gas wells and they made this town. It was huge. We had all kinds of hotels and rooming houses and there were stores everywhere,” said Hudson.

“We could do that again if we have the same want and drive as we did back then. We have to do have something to bring them here ... it grew as the people grew. If we could do it back then with nothing, with the knowledge we have now, we could come up with something to bring people here and to make our future as strong as our past.”

The Historical Society is selling a “walkabout” souvenir book filled with stories about places and people who made Jeannette. The book can be used as people take their own tours in Jeannette, using the book as a guide to learn the history of various locations.

Cost is $10 and the books are available at Howard Graphics on Clay Avenue. Walkabout tours will take place at some point, probably in the fall, in which guided walks will be offered by society members.

Hudson deeply hopes to lead one of these tours and she can't help herself from sharing some of her favorite tales.

The Hotel Marion, a former building that sat near where City Hall sits today on Second Street, is Hudson's favorite piece of Jeannette's past.

“It was a beautiful hotel. I fell in love with this hotel. At one point they moved the hotel 300 feet and in the article I read, they did this with people in it and no one was inconvenienced,” Hudson said with a laugh. “They moved an entire building.”

The society is also selling recipe books, which are also $10 each at Howard Graphics. There is a limited number still available.

As the Community Days festival and 125th Anniversary celebration draws near, Hudson is most looking forward to some of the musical acts that will perform on the Magee Avenue stage and a signing by Heather Abraham, who wrote “The Bookie's Daughter,” on life growing up in Jeannette.

“She's a wonderful person and she loves Jeannette,” said Hudson.

The celebration runs July 24-27 in the lot on Magee Avenue. Midway rides will return to the festival and there will be a car show, the annual battle of barrels, a hot wings contest, fireworks and the annual parade.

There will be plenty of ethnic food, craft booths, bingo and events.

The parade will be July 27, beginning at 1 p.m., along Clay Avenue.

The festival will be open from 5-10 p.m. July 24 and 25. On July 26, it is open from 4-11 p.m. and on July 27, it runs 2 p.m. to midnight.

On July 24, a car cruise will begin at 5 p.m. along Magee Avenue next to the festival.

On July 25, the DeStella Dance Centre will perform at 5 p.m., the battle of the barrel featuring local fire departments will begin at 6, Jeannette Community Band performs at 7 and at 8:15 the Dance Factory will perform.

On July 26, Hey Nostradamus performs at 5 p.m., at 5:30 the Great Ancient Trees go on, at 6 p.m. The Ugly Sweaters perform and at 7 p.m. the Playin' Favorites Band hit the stage.

On July 27, the parade steps off on Clay Avenue at 1 p.m., featuring the Gelder Family as grand marshals.

At 3 p.m., Back in Time, featuring Jeannette's own Paul “T-bird” Kettren will entertain. At 5 p.m. the parade winners will be announced.

The hot wings eating contest sponsored by Pitzer's Townhouse kicks off at 6 and Jeannette's own Eastcoast Turnaround begins at 8 p.m.

The fireworks spectacular is set to cap the night at 10:30.

“I moved away for a while, but like my friend says, Jeannette has a homing device and it was in me,” Hudson said. “I wanted to be here. It's where my family is from and it's where I want to be.”

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.

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