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History

Series looks at Tarentum's past

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, 11:27 p.m.

Local history needs to be preserved.

That's the premise behind Who Knew? Remembering Stores That Are Gone 2, part of a monthly series that revisits Tarentum's past days and its rich heritage.

This month's presentation is on four former well-known area businesses — Kummer's Bakery, Tarentum Confectionery, McKean Hat Shop and J.W. Hemphill & Son Tailors. They will be discussed at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20 at the Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch. The library has been hosting such events since 2014, encompassing everything from toys to bridges to railroads.

“We wanted to do more community outreach and these programs are a good way to invite the community to into the library,” says Kathy Bollinger, local history researcher for the library. “The library is here for everyone, and our hope is to preserve the rich history here because it's an important part of who we are. Some guests stop in who haven't visited the library in a long time.”

Since 2014, more than1,200 guests have attended.

“At one time, there were hundreds of stores in this area and business owners wanted to open shops here,”Bollinger says. “We enjoy hosting these events and encourage interaction from library patrons. We keep the groups small, and with such an intimate setting, I think people are more open about sharing their thoughts.”

Tarentum has so much history that it is imperative to preserve it, says volunteer Cindy Homburg, a member of the library's board of directors, who will be handling the presentations on J.W. Hemphill & Son and Mayme Dean's Hat Shop.

The late Mary Dean McKean owned the hat shop where she designed and made headwear until she was 81 years old.

“She liked to sew and hats were very much the fashion when she opened her own hat shop on Montana Avenue,” Homburg says. “Everyone came to see her when they had that special occasion for a new hat.”

The Hemphill Tailor Shop was the first tailor shop in Tarentum, Homburg says. It was started by John and Anna Longsdorf Hemphill in October 1845.

“At one time there were 15 tailors working there,” Homburg says. “It was a great store and suited the men of Tarentum until 1960.”

The evening begins in the reading room, then to the local history area, the children's space and into the main vestibule.

Each store's history will be shared in a 12-minute presentation with time left for a question and answer session or a chance to share a favorite memory of the shops.

Library desk manager Ronda Dibas will be the presenter on Tarentum Confectionery, known as “The Greeks,” for the family that owned it as well as for quality fresh fudge and the tastiest ice cream. Volunteer Judy Schaeffer will handle the discussion of Kummer's Bakery, famous for using the freshest ingredients in its pastries and cakes.

The next event is scheduled for Jan. 16 and 17 with Thomas Soltis, assistant professor sociology Westmoreland County Community College, discussing the flu epidemic of 1918.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as J.W. Hemphill & SonTailors. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as J.W. Hemphill & SonTailors. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as McKean Hat shop. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
JOANNE KLIMOVICH HARROP
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as McKean Hat shop. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as J.W. Hemphill & SonTailors. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as J.W. Hemphill & SonTailors. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as J.W. Hemphill & SonTailors. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as J.W. Hemphill & SonTailors. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Tarentum Confectionery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Tarentum Confectionery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Tarentum Confectionery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Tarentum Confectionery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Tarentum Confectionery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Tarentum Confectionery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Mary Dean McKean owned Mayme Dean's Hat Shop in Tarentum. She will be remembered at Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
COURTESY COMMUNITY LIBRARY OF ALLEGHENY VALLEY, TARENTUM BRANCH
Mary Dean McKean owned Mayme Dean's Hat Shop in Tarentum. She will be remembered at Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as McKean Hat shop. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
JOANNE KLIMOVICH HARROP
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as McKean Hat shop. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Kummer's Bakery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
JOANNE KLIMOVICH HARROP
Who Knew? Remembering Stores that are Gone 2, a monthly series that revisits Tarentum history and its rich heritage, includes four former well-known area businesses such as Kummer's Bakery. The event is Dec. 19 or 20 at Community Library of Allegheny Valley, Tarentum branch.
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