'Mt. Pleasant Room' opens door to borough's past
Standing on a chair while balancing framed photographs, documents and other local relics, Edward Christofano recently spent a 10-hour day putting the finishing touches on the “Mt. Pleasant Room,” at 535 W. Main St. in the borough, he said.
That process, during which Christofano was aided by Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society members Cynthia Stevenson and James Lozier, brought the room to life in the building owned by the local pharmacist, president and chief executive officer of Christofano Associates LLC, he said.
“I was hanging these photos and other things, and Cindy and Jim were telling me, ‘A little to the left,' and ‘A little to the right,'” Christofano quipped while addressing a small audience of local leaders present for the room's recent grand opening ceremony.
“They deserve a lot of credit; they refurbished a lot of those frames themselves,” he said.
Grand opening is held
The room, dedicated to the society, was officially unveiled during a recent ceremony held there.
“I think this room is a fitting tribute to our town's historical society,” said Christofano, a borough resident.
“Each photo represents those who came before us and our town's industries, schools and military, and the people who built this town into what it is today,” he said.
The event was attended by the borough's Mayor Gerald Lucia, council President Joseph Bauer Jr., Manager Jeff Landy, fellow council members Stevenson, Susan Ruszkowski and David Pritts along with historical society President Rick Meason and other members.
The historical society this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.
“We, the Christofano family, along with the Mt. Pleasant (Area) Historical Society have designed a nostalgic dining room,” Christofano said. “This room project was a gift to the historical society allowing the residents of Mt. Pleasant to enjoy the historical photographs that are in the Mt. Pleasant archives.”
Multi-month process concludes
In January, Christofano, whose company owns Hayden's Pharmacy and the Main Street Deli & Cafe at the site, proposed the idea of transforming the society's previous headquarters into the new attraction, he said.
The move came in tandem with society members' ongoing relocation to the Overly Log Cabin along Washington Street in the Old Town section of the borough.
“We wanted to keep the society's presence in this building,' Christofano said.
The room, highlighted by the In-Town Shops sign, which once hung outside of the building previously owned by the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority, contains a portal to the locale's past through myriad artifacts.
It is located down the hall from the pharmacy and cafe.
Room offers multiple amenities
The room, which seats 40, will be available for reservations by local organizations, governmental bodies and private gatherings for a to-be-determined fee on a case-by-case basis, the proceeds of which will then be donated to the society in each case, he said.
“This private room will be equipped with multimedia devices, a microphone system and a podium for a variety of presentation and meeting uses,” Christofano said. “Meals for events there can also be catered by Main Street Deli & Cafe.”
He invited the public to make a point of visiting the room as a means of taking a trip down memory lane.
“Everything about our community — the people, the geography, the culture — shapes how our children spend their youth, how we perceive the world and what we all value when we are away from it,” Christofano said. “Our community leaves an undeniable mark on our individual identities; it is always with us, no matter where life may take us.”
Society expresses gratitude
Meason thanked Christofano for continued support of the society, and for creating “this great tribute to our town's heritage,” he said.
“The primary function of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society is historic preservation. That goes deeper than collecting artifacts or restoring log cabins. It means that we are preserving memories. Each photo and artifact on these walls represents a memory of somebody from our past,” he said. “Every building and business advertisement reflects the hopes and dreams that one of our former townspeople had. That is what makes this room so great. From one end to the other, it tells the story of our industry, our schools, our military and the people who built this town.”
Lucia, who helped establish the society in 1995, lauded Christofano for his efforts.
“This room is beautiful. And I know what the historical society has done for the last 20 years,” he said. “Ed, you have taken amazing steps with this building. You've dedicated your time, your sweat and your finances, and we're proud of you.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.