| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

California (Pa.) University's Civil War Roundtable needs more chairs

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Frank and Bonnie Orlando of Gettysburg portrayed Gen. Robert E. and Mary Ann Custis Lee at the April meeting of the California University of Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 7:32 p.m.

Since the Civil War Roundtable began at California University of Pennsylvania, its membership has grown.

But as the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War proceeds, interest in the roundtable has grown.

“We've had some pretty significant increases in our attendance,” said Walt Klorczyk of Monongahela, who books the monthly speakers for the group. “We started with 20-25 people, and now we're getting 60 or more.”

Klorczyk has been with the roundtable since its inception.

It started when he went to Cal U, where members of the 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Re-enactors were holding a camp-out on the grounds of the student union.

He met Mike Watson of Charleroi, the brother of Klorczyk's neighbor in Carroll Township.

Watson had a plan to form a Civil War Roundtable, so Klorczyk took him to a meeting of the Greater Greensburg Civil War Roundtable.

“He got ideas there, and I told him I'd help him out finding speakers from Greensburg,” Klorczyk said.

The inaugural meeting of the Cal U Roundtable was held in October 2006, around an actual round table in the Manderino Library on the university campus.

California University history professor Dr. Clarissa Confer encouraged Watson to form the roundtable, and Klorczyk agreed to help.

From the beginning, Klorczyk has recruited speakers for the roundtable's monthly meetings.

But has the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, fought from 1861 to 1865, drawn interest in the local roundtable?

“I would hope so,” Klorczyk said. “We've had better attendance since then. Sometimes it's relative to the topic. Basically a lot of first-person and people talking about their families who served during the war which draws people.”

Klorczyk said most people like speakers who recall the first-hand experiences of the Civil War, often through the words of their descendants who fought in the conflict.

In March, author Mark Miner presented “The Civil War Diaries of Ephraim Miner.” The May meeting featured Dan Clendaniel, whose two relatives, John and Steven Clendaniel, served in the Union Army.

This April, Frank and Bonnie Orlando of Gettysburg portrayed Gen. Robert E. and Mary Ann Custis Lee.

In June, the roundtable hosted “An Evening with Clara Barton” by Jennifer Zukowski of Pittsburgh. Ken Williams, a re-enactor and former Gettysburg ranger, spoke at the July meeting on “The Aftermath of Gettysburg.”

The August session featured “The Wounded of James Longstreet” during the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Mon Valley

  1. Monongahela uses modern technology to connect people to the city’s historic past
  2. Steelers training camp has California University link
  3. Brownsville ducky race postponed
  4. Scout restores Brownsville paddleboat’s smokestacks to earn Eagle award
  5. N. Charleroi man jailed in child sex case
  6. Washington Township firefighters make child’s dream come true
  7. North Belle Vernon man charged with making threatening calls to borough police
  8. Donora police sued in mistaken ID case