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Laura Szepesi | for the Daily Courier
“Around Connellsville” has 128 pages and is filled with more than 200 photos. The price is $21.99, plus tax.

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By Laura Szepesi
Monday, Oct. 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Local history buffs, get your wallets and checkbooks ready: “Around Connellsville” is now available.

Copies can be purchased in the Connellsville Historical Society's office at Carnegie Free Library, ArtWorks Connellsville and The Book Case used bookstore.

The 128-page volume is filled with more than 200 photos and text, including a two-page synopsis of Connellsviille's history.

Karen Hechler, president of Connellsville Area Historical Society and “Around Connellsville” co-author, admitted that she sighed with relief when the book went to press several months ago at Arcadia Publishing.

Hechler, a retired longtime history teacher in the Connellsville Area School District, spent hundreds of hours working on the book during the past 18 months. Connellsville native Paul Eckman, who now lives in New Jersey (he taught at Rutgers University), traveled back to the local area several times to work with Hechler on the project.

“Around Connellsville” acknowledges dozens of people who assisted in its compilation. “We had a very good response from the public,” Hechler said.

All photos copied

Not all of the photos were usable, though.

“There were some doubles, some weren't up to Arcadia's standards and others we couldn't fit in, as Arcadia has a strict format for the books they publish,” Hechler explained. “We're sorry to disappoint anybody; however, we scanned and filed all the photos and may use them in another publication down the road.”

The book acknowledges the assistance of many people and businesses.

Among those to whom “Around Connellsville” is dedicated is Bill Sechler.

“Bill provided many photos. We really appreciated his help,” Hechler said.

“Around Connellsville” is also dedicated to Paula Salatino Beucher, Marjorie Eckman, Van Hughes and in memory of longtime local historian Bill Balsley.

The soft-backed volume is divided into six chapters: Starting with the River; Living, Shopping and Moving Around; Serving at Home and Abroad; Learning and Belonging; Celebrating and Having Fun; and Representing a Hometown.

The price of “Around Connellsville” is $21.99 plus tax. If the purchaser wants the book mailed, there is a $3 fee.

A book signing is planned for Nov. 16 in Carnegie Free Library, 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville. “Around Connellsville” will be featured at this year's “It's a Connellsville Christmas,” during which there will be a book signing on Dec. 7 in ArtWorks Connellsville, 139 W. Crawford Ave.

Based in South Carolina, Arcadia Publishing specializes in printing local and regional history books. The company has printed thousands of books across the United States. For information about those volumes, visit

Laura Szepesi is a contributing writer.

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