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Schedule of Events for 2018 - New Books in the Gift Shop

Valley artist M. Louis Gore is the subject of a feature story in the Sayre Historical Society's latest Quarterly history magazine. The story focuses on Gore's "lost mural" at the Wilbur Hotel in Sayre.

Gore's "lost mural" featured in Summer Quarterly

SAYRE - A ten-panel mural that once decorated the lobby of the Wilbur Hotel in Sayre created by local artist M.L. Gore is the subject of a story in the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly magazine.

CAPTION: Valley artist M. Louis Gore is the subject of a feature story in the Sayre Historical Society's latest Quarterly history magazine. The story focuses on Gore's "lost mural" at the Wilbur Hotel in Sayre.

The "lost mural" featured local scenes such as the Robert Packer Hospital, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Shops, Belle Knitting and Ingersoll-Rand, as well as the Ulster totem pole, Turn-of-the-Rocks and "the crest looking toward Towanda." Numerous photographs and sketches created by Gore were donated recently to the Sayre Historical Society by Frank Evans of Sayre.

The Sayre High School Class of 1967 is the featured photograph in the center section of the booklet which also includes the 1907 obituary of Sayre's namesake, Robert H. Sayre, and a story on the scale model steam locomotive named "Donald" built in the early 1900's by railroad engineer Michael Gorman.

The Quarterly, published four times a year, is mailed to historical society members as part of their membership benefits. Individual copies are available at Carl's News Stand in Sayre and the historical society museum located in the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station in downtown Sayre. Hours are Saturdays from 10 to 4 and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

The story on Gore outlines the life of the well-known artist whose work is preserved in numerous paintings in private collections as well as the mural in Sayre High School depicting Shepard's mill in Sayre.

Gore was born on February 4, 1877 in Sheshequin and was a descendent of Judge Obadiah Gore who served under General John Sullivan during the Revolutionary War.

"While a young man, Gore spent time abroad studying and returned to the U.S. where he became employed by J.R. Myers in Steubenville, Ohio," according to the Quarterly article. "In that capacity, Gore did mural and decorating work in churches, theaters and libraries from the midwest to the eastern seaboard," according to his December 30, 1967 obituary.

An undated newspaper clipping included in the sketches and photographs donated by Evans documents the Wilbur Hotel mural which was completed in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The clipping states that the work took about six months to complete and that pictures of the mural sections "would easily pass for pictures of the actual scenes." It was stated that Robert Adams, proprietor of the landmark Sayre hotel, was planning "extensive improvements in the lobby to have it in keeping with the beauty of the murals," according to the undated newspaper article.

In his full life, Gore participated in excavations at local prehistoric Indian sites including Spanish Hill. In 1951, Gore was the official advisor to the National Geographic Society during its expedition down the Susquehanna River commemorating General Sullivan's military campaign.

"Mr. Gore was soundly grounded in local history and was contacted by many persons interested in the historical background of this community," stated the obituary. "Until his last illness, he was adding to his collection of over 2,000 rare books among which are a predominant number covering the early history of Pennsylvania and Bradford County."

The Class of 1967 photograph was made available by the Sayre Area School District Archives and includes the names of each of the graduates. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Class of 1967.

The model of Lehigh Valley Railroad steam locomotive No. 218 has an interesting history which is recounted in the Quarterly. It was recently loaned to the Sayre Historical Society by Mick Koons of Pasadena, California, the great-grandson of Michael Gorman, the model builder who was also an engineer on the railroad. The name of the model memorializes Mr. Gorman's young son, who died in 1909 at the tender age of five due to complications from Scarlet Fever.

The model has been displayed in a number of places along the route of the railroad. According to the Nov. 27, 1975 Star-Gazette, "It’s been a feature at a model railroaders convention in Niagara Falls, at the former Interstate Fair in Athens, in Cortland, at the Wagner Hotel in Waverly, in New York City several times, and in Ithaca, Buffalo, Lehigh headquarters at Bethlehem, Allentown and in Milwaukee, Wis., among other places." It 1991, it was displayed at the first Sayre History Fair at Sayre High School.

A final feature of the Summer Quarterly are two scrapbooks items from the Robert Felt Collection. Seaman Second Class John Cannavino was one of five sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Cannavino of Sayre in the service. He participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy. Naval Aviation Cadet John Luczejko, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. Luczejko of Riverside Drive, Sayre was taking primary flight instruction in the Glenview, Ill. Naval Air Station.

A World War II-era poster for a block dance to benefit the Sayre Canteen and a 1953 local advertisement complete the issue.

A Genealogy Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, July 29 at the Sayre museum featuring local historian Henry Farley, president of the Bradford County Historical Society. A variety of resources including local directories, yearbooks, scrapbooks and railroad rosters will be available for research. Admission is free.

The Sayre Historical Society is a member-supported, non-profit organization and a recipient of funding from the United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

Sayre Museum Hosting Model Train Event

SAYRE - Model Train Day will be held Saturday, November 24 at the Sayre Historical Society featuring two operating model train layouts, special displays, memorabilia vendors and more.

CAPTION: Model steam locomotives, like the one shown above, will be among the features at the Sayre Historical Society's Annual Model Train Day on Saturday, November 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is free. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two HO-scale model train layouts are permanent displays of the museum located in the historic Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station. The first includes a detailed replica of the Sayre station, the Desmond Street Park, and buildings on Desmond Street from the 1940's and 50's. It was built by Don "Buckshot" Murray, a Navy veteran who worked for General Electric and passed away in 2008. His wife was the former Nancy Springer of Sayre.

The second layout depicts a rugged coal mining operation and a small town typical of many communities along the route of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Located in the building's old baggage room, the layout was built by Charles Dixon and moved in two sections to the museum building and reassembled.

Another special display at the museum is the scale model steam locomotive "Donald" built over 100 years ago by the late Michael Gorman of Sayre and loaned to the Sayre museum by his great-grandson, Mick Koons. Built in memory of Mr. Gorman's five-year-old son, "Donald" is an operating model with moving driving rods, wheels and an accompanying music cylinder playing the song "Mr. Dooley." The century-old model has been on display in many places including the Wilkes-Barre LVRR station, movie houses and department stores in New York City, a model train convention in Niagara Falls, the former Interstate Fair in Athens, Bethlehem, Ithaca, Cortland, Buffalo and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1991, it was displayed at the first Sayre History Fair.

On the second floor of the museum, railroad memorabilia vendors will offer for sale a large variety of vintage railroad items.

Bob Gongleski of Vestal, NY specializes in LVRR ephemera including postcards, slides, photographs and books.

Bob Pastorkey of Trackside Photo will have a large selection of 8 x 10 black and white photographs for sale. The photographs cover the Lehigh Valley, D.L. & W. and Erie-Lackawanna railroads.

Permanent exhibits at the museum focus on Sayre history including the Robert Packer Hospital, Dr. Donald Guthrie, downtown Sayre businesses, Belle Knitting, Sayre churches, and an entire room devoted to the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

A special exhibit in the Rotating Exhibit Room focuses on "The Art of M. Louis Gore," a former Sayre resident who was a well-known local artist. The display includes numerous paintings, sketches and photographs from the Don Broughton Collection donated by Frank Evans of Sayre.

The museum is open Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturday's from 10 to 4 p.m. For additional information, visit the museum website at or go to Facebook.

The all-volunteer museum is member-supported and a recipient of funds from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

Railroad artist profiled in latest Sayre Quarterly

SAYRE - A pioneering photographer who created the large painting of the Black Diamond Express at the Sayre Historical Society is the subject of the cover story in the Spring issue of the Quarterly.

CAPTION 1: A photograph of the Black Diamond Express near Milan is identical to the painting done by William Rau that is located at the Sayre Historical Society.

William Herman Rau was hired by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1895 as their official photographer after a career documenting the western United States including Yellowstone. He also worked as the official photographer for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 1890's. The story of the Rau painting includes its donation by the sister of Earl Payne of Waverly who was a former railroad accountant and drug store operator, and the restoration of the painting by art conservator Anne O'Connor of New Burlington, Mass.

CAPTION 2: William Rau was the official photographer for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in the late 1890's.

The painting had been stored in the basement of Mr. Payne's daughter, Anna Frances Payne. Mr. Payne started his first drug store in the old Capital Theater in Waverly in 1928, according to his Nov. 11, 1959 obituary. He later purchased the building on the corner of Broad and Waverly streets from John Van Atta in 1937. Through the efforts of past historical society president Bill Ransom and with the help of Dan Leary of Waverly, the painting was donated to the Sayre museum.

Museum volunteer Ken Bracken, who helped package and ship the mammoth work of art to Massachusetts, said the painting had the "dubious distinction" of being the "filthiest painting (the art conservator) had ever worked on." The restoration was worth the effort.

In his long career, Rau was credited with documenting the 19th century industrial era of the United States with artistry and elegance.

A photography exhibit sponsored by Lehigh University in 1989 featured a booklet on the railroad era photographs by Rau and included an essay by Stephen Perloff, a photographer and educator.

"Whether he was photographing a rugged mountain pass, carefully manicured farmland, or the stark architecture of an engine house, Rau invariably seemed to find that one place that yielded marvel, grace, or sublimity," said Perloff.

A second article in the Quarterly covers the 1881 tree planting ceremony in memory of President Garfield sponsored by the Sayre Arbor Association. It includes a copy of the program presented to Lula Bishop for participating in the event. Each child participating received a commemorative medal with Garfield's likeness on one side and Lincoln's on the other. The commemorative program was donated to the Sayre Historical Society by Gwen Lacey.

The center section of the magazine shows the inside of the Assembly Hall at the Sayre Shops with a large group of railroad employees along with two bowling alleys and the Lehigh Shops Orchestra off to the side. The photograph is company-produced and dates from 1927.

A third story highlights a 1930 Robert Packer Hospital School of Nursing yearbook belonging to Monica Nunan. A variety of interesting facts is included in the article as well as illustrations of the School of Nursing building, Dr. Donald Guthrie, hospital superintendent Howard Bishop, nurse directress Nina Smith and Miss Nunan. The 1930 Nucleus yearbook was donated to the historical society by Linda (Spaulding) Fisk.

The final two articles in the Quarterly document the generous donations made to Sayre by the late Mary (Packer) Cummings, sister to Robert Packer and daughter of Asa Packer. The two articles - one from 1908 and the other from 1909 - discuss the donation of land to be used for the Parish House and the formal dedication of the Parish House on November 10, 1909. An aerial photograph of the Robert Packer Hospital from the 1950's includes the Parish House and the Church of the Redeemer. The photograph was donated by Eloise Wilson. A postcard view shows the Parish House and rectory next door.

A flyer advertising the "Grand Opening" of Oak Grove Park is reprinted on the inside back cover. A cover illustration of a flier from the 1930 World's Fair in Chicago promotes the Lehigh Valley Railroad and is included on the back cover.

The Quarterly is a benefit to members of the Sayre Historical Society and is mailed out four times per year. Individual copies are available from Carl's Newsstand in Sayre. The Sayre Historical Society will re-open for the season on Saturday, April 7 with a new exhibit on "The Fight for Liberty: Sayre in World War I," and a musical program of "Folk Songs and Popular Music of World War I." Admission is free.

The Sayre Historical Society is member-supported and a recipient of funds from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

Hotel man profiled in new Sayre Quarterly

SAYRE - Robert Adam of Sayre was the proprietor of the Wilbur Hotel in the years following the Great Depression and Sayre's No. 1 Elk when he passed away in 1962. His story is told in the Winter issue of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly.

CAPTION: Robert Adam, a prominent hotel owner in Sayre in the 1930's and 40's and a charter member of the Sayre Elks Lodge, is featured in the Winter issue of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly. (Photo courtesy of Agnes Griffin)

Included in the 20-page booklet are numerous historic photographs of the landmark hotel located on the corner of Desmond Street and W. Packer Avenue in downtown Sayre. Built in 1880 by Robert A. Packer, the hotel has undergone numerous transformations over 137 years including a 2001 renovation by Trehab that brought the historic brick structure back to its original splendor.

It was a different scene when Adam bought a run-down establishment in 1932 and remade the hotel into one of Bradford County's largest, and next to the Ward House in Towanda, its most famous hostelry, according to a 1962 Evening Times newspaper account.

Adam also served as exalted ruler of the Sayre Elks on two occasions and was a founding member of the lodge when it was formed in 1909, according to his obituary. He served as district deputy in 1932, the first from Sayre, and was president of the Northeast District Elks Association in 1941.

Adam, one of 12 children, came to Sayre when he was five years old. His father (James Adam) was chief bill clerk for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. According to his obituary, Adam had learned the trade of boilermaker as an apprentice in the Sayre System Shops and worked for the Lackawanna Railroad before returning to Sayre. As a teenager, Adam had the distinction of being the "youngest car chalker" in the United States, his obituary stated.

In 1907, he opened the Central Cigar Store on Desmond Street and later turned to hotel management.

A number of rare photographs of Adam and the Wilbur Hotel were donated to the historical society by his daughter, Agnes Griffin of Sayre.

The Quarterly is published four times per year and is a membership benefit of the Sayre Historical Society. Individual copies are available at Carl's New Stand on Desmond Street in Sayre. Visit for more information on membership.

Other stories in the winter issue include the memories in 1937 of a 90-year-old Sayre resident by the name of Augustus P. Kremer. Mr. Kremer's recollections were included in an article from the Sayre Evening Times newspaper. The article appeared in a scrapbook of Valley items compiled by Miss Mary Frost of Waverly and recently donated to the Sayre Historical Society by Rose Lerche.

Mr. Kremer was a former freight clerk in Sayre when the town's first railroad station was located between the tracks east of the present two-story brick passenger station built in 1881. He married Carrie Bradley of Sayre in 1885. The couple had a daughter named Nora and a son, Edwin. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1935.

Mr. Kremer lived at 306 S. Keystone Avenue in West Sayre and described the main thoroughfare at the time as a "muddy lane" with few houses and mostly farm lands and vacant plots.

The article said Mr. Kremer remained neutral in political discussions, kept out of arguments and was reported to be in good health.

Mr. Kremer attributes his health and long life to non-use of liquor and tobacco, which, especially for the former, he says he has seen put many in their graves, according to the news account.

The center section of the booklet features a photograph of the 1962 Epiphany eighth grade graduating class. Father Francis Toolan is surrounded by 26 graduates.

Sayre's walk bridge is also highlighted in the winter issue featuring the reminiscences of Dr. Jeremy Plant who photographed the bridge starting in 1967. His recollections appeared in a 2008 issue of Milepost magazine, a publication by the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

My older brother Jeffrey was (and is) an active rail fan also, and was finishing his law studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, less than an hour away from Sayre, he said. So it was a mecca for us to visit on weekends when I could combine rail fanning with a fraternal visit.

Seven photographs showing the walk bridge or views from the walk bride are included with the article. One of the photographs showing Lehigh Valley Railroad diesel locomotives beneath the walk bridge was taken by well-known railroad photographer J. J. Young of Binghamton.

Plant, who has authored or co-authored more than 20 books on railroad subjects, referred to the landmark Sayre structure as the "Railfan Bridge." He is a professor of public policy and administration at Penn State Harrisburg.

A 1916 article from the Elmira Telegram newspaper recounts the amazing exploits of champion checker player James Adams of Sayre who defeated 15 rivals in a competition held in Elmira. The competition took place at Lagonegro's Cigar Store.

Just to make the matter binding, he sent word up from Sayre that on Thursday evening, April 20, he was not booked for a ladies sewing society or a pink tea and could drop in any decent place in Elmira and run off a couple of rounds, with the best the city afforded in the line of expert movers, fifteen at a time, the 1916 article said. The word went out, and clans from the office, meat market, factory and banks commenced to collect.

In the final tally, the Sayre checker "champeen" won 17 matches, lost 4 and had nine draws.

A postcard view of the Methodist Church in Sayre from the Marty Smith Collection is also included in the Winter issue. A program cover from the 21st Annual Banquet of the Sayre Sportsmen's Club from 1957 is also included. The back cover features a photograph of the Art Reagan Jewelers sign that graced the landmark Sayre jewelry store for many years.

The historical society, located in the Lehigh Valley Railroad passenger station in downtown Sayre, is a recipient of funds from the United Way of Bradford County. The membership-supported organization, which reopens on April 7 with "The Fight for Liberty: Sayre in World War I," also receives funds from the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

New book published on the early railroad in Sayre

SAYRE - A new book on the early history of the railroad in Sayre by railroad historian Richard Palmer has been published by the Sayre Historical Society. The new book covers the earliest years of the railroad in Sayre including numerous photographs and illustrations as well as a detailed chronology of events. The 60-page soft-cover book is the third book by Palmer that has been published by the historical society.

CAPTION: The coal pockets of the Pennsylvania & New York Railroad are pictured in a new book on The Coming of the Railroad to Sayre by railroad historian Richard Palmer published by the Sayre Historical Society. The coal trestle was located near exit 61 of Route 86 near the Best Western Grand Victorian Inn in Sayre.

All three books are available in the Burkhart Gift Shop at the museum located in the historic Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger station in downtown Sayre. Museum hours are Saturdays from 10 to 4 and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

An addendum to the book includes reminisces of John Fitzgerald of New Albany on his work experiences with the Pennsylvania & New York Railroad in 1867. Excerpts of a diary by railroad supervisor John Rahm in 1869 detail the construction of the P & NY Railroad which was later absorbed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

Lists of early locomotives on the P & NY Railroad and Early Lehigh Valley Locomotives Spotted in Sayre - 1869 to 1872 are also included in the fact-filled booklet.

In the book, Palmer documents the early history of railroading in the Penn-York Valley with mention of the Tioga Point Railroad in 1841.

The proposal was to build a 4 mile railroad from Athens, at the head of the contemplated North Branch Canal to Waverly, to connect with the New York & Erie Railroad, Palmer writes. The route was surveyed by Ira Spaulding, a local civil engineer and a charter was granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was capitalized at $50,000. Its purpose was to connect the Wyoming Coal Valley with the interior of New York State.

Palmer examines the role of the Erie, Lehigh Valley and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroads in the Valley. He also covers the North Branch Canal, the Barclay Railroad and the Towanda Coal Company and their influence in the development of the railroad in Sayre.

The Barclay Coal Co. operated its own trains over the completed portion between Towanda and Waverly, being pulled by its locomotives Greenwood, Lamoka and Waverly, according to Palmer. On June 4, 1870, the Waverly drew from the foot of the incline plane at Barclay to Waverly, 100 loaded coal cars, a baggage car and two passenger coaches. This was said to have been the largest train ever drawn by one locomotive over the road.

Palmer is the author of numerous books and magazine article on railroads in Central New York. Palmer's previous books for the Sayre Historical Society include The Handsomest Train in the World: The First Twenty-Five Years of the Lehigh Valley Railroad's Black Diamond Express and A Moment in Time: Theodore Roosevelt's Presidential Special to Chautauqua in 1905.

The Sayre Historical Society is a recipient of funds from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

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