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Book takes look at Connellsville of yore

| Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Time machines may not yet be attainable, but a new book is available that will transport its readers back in time.

“Around Connellsville,” a book offered by the Connellsville Area Historical Society, takes its readers back to the days of yore in a town that witnessed much change over the decades.

Co-authored by Connellsville Area Historical Society President Karen Hechler and former Everson resident Paul Eckman, now of New Jersey, the book includes more than 200 photos and postcard images dating from as early as the 1850s.

The book is the second for Eckman, who authored a similar book for the Scottdale Historical Society last year titled “Around Scottdale and Everson.”

“He approached me last year when he was visiting the Connell Room in the library here in Connellsville,” Hechler said. “He said, ‘I want to write a book about Connellsville, and you have some wonderful photos here.' ”

Hechler and Eckman began to meet and plan the book that would take its readers back to the days of big trains, busy downtowns and booming industry once enjoyed in abundance in the city.

Nothing tells a story better than a photograph, and the two decided to go to the public to gather more images to be considered for the book.

“We advertised in the newspaper, and we had people come for three days with their photos,” Hechler said. “We know that with many people, they only have one photo of this or that and an only photo of a relative or loved one so we scanned the photos and returned the originals.”

Eckman said that they were overwhelmed with the response that they received from the community with the photos.

“We were so surprised to see so many people, and they weren't just from Connellsville either,” Eckman said. “We had people come from all over the area with their photos, We never had any idea that we would get this much interest.”

The photos included in the book cover Connellsville's industrial period, family and religious photos, school and event photos, and pictures of life as it was lived in the town decades ago.

“People may look at the pictures and see family members or even themselves,” Hechler said. “The images in the book are just wonderful.”

Proceeds from the book will go toward updating of the Gibson House that is owned by the historical society.

Hechler said that the book may contain a few small errors. He asks for the public's understanding on oversights or mistakes.

“I think that anyone from Connellsville and even the surrounding areas will enjoy this book,” Hechler said. “It brings back a lot of memories, and it is also great for the younger people of the area to see things as they used to be way back when.”

The book is for sale at Artworks and the Book Case in Connellsville.

The book will also be available from 10 to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday in the historical society area on the second floor of the Connellsville library.

A check for $21.99 plus tax can also be mailed to Connellsville Area Historical Society, 299 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville, PA 15425.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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