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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 ½ 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.
Model Train Day on Saturday, November 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
SAYRE – Model trains will be the order of the day at the Sayre Historical Society’s Annual Model Train Day on Saturday, November 25.
CAPTION: A series of photographs from the Agnes (Adam) Griffin Collection, including the one shown above, will be featured at the annual Model Train Day at the Sayre Historical Society on Saturday, November 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Standing in front of a model steam locomotive built at the Sayre Shops are, from left, Robert F. Adam Sr., Louis F. Adam, Edmund Adam, John J. Adam, Robert F. Adam Jr., Doris A. Adam and Verna M. Adam.
Two HO-scale model train layouts, railroad memorabilia vendors, special displays and a postcard exhibit will be featured at the free event which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located in the historic Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger Station in downtown Sayre.
“A Postcard History of Sayre” is the current exhibit in the Rotating Exhibit Room featuring over 50 postcard views ranging from The Lehigh Valley Railroad and Robert Packer Hospital to Keystone Park and the Sayre Boys Band.
The two model train layouts are permanent displays of the museum. The first includes a 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, located in the building’s old baggage room, was built by Charles Dixon and moved in two sections to the museum building and reassembled. A rugged coal mining operation and a small town typical of many communities along the route of the Lehigh Valley Railroad highlight this scenic layout.
Railroad memorabilia vendors will offer for sale a large variety of vintage railroad items on the second floor of the museum. 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.
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 Mick Koons will also be on display at the model train show.
A special exhibit will include a series of photographs recently donated to the Sayre Historical Society by Agnes Griffin of Sayre detailing the history of the Wilbur Hotel in Sayre and her father, Robert F. Adam Sr.
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 www.sayrehistoricalsociety.org 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.
The Sayre museum received the 2015 Clement F. Heverly Outstanding Service Award presented by the Bradford County Historical Society.
Sayre Historical Society to hold Oktoberfest
On Wednesday October 11, 2017 the Sayre Historical will hold its annual Oktoberfest. This event held annually by the society to celebrate fall is the perfect opportunity for attendees to leisurely tour the exhibits in the Historical Society museum located in the old Lehigh Valley Passenger Station in Sayre. This year beer sampling will be offered by Blue Stone and Skerpon Beverage. Food offerings will be from Callear’s and will include Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, Rolls, Salt Potatoes and Steamed Corn. The Oktoberfest committee has searched out some great Oom-pah music which is sure to add to the traditional Oktoberfest atmosphere. The event which is held inside the museum is scheduled from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The Sayre Historical Society which is located on S. Lehigh Avenue sponsors events throughout the year to give interested persons from near and far an opportunity to glimpse at what life in Sayre was like during the railroad years along with the growth of the community around the railroad. Tickets for this event are $10 each and are available at the Sayre Public Library and Mastracchio’s Bakery in Sayre or from any board member.
CAPTION: Blue Stone Brewery and Skerpon Beverage at the 2016 Oktoberfest
The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit historic preservation organization staffed by volunteers. The historical society is member supported and a recipient of funds from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
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 1950’s.
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.
Late Sayre man worked as a Hollywood make-up artist
SAYRE – Sayre native Charles Blackman made a long journey to Hollywood and along the way met movie stars, presidents and the Rev. Billy Graham.
CAPTION: Hollywood make-up artist Charles Blackman, a Sayre native, and his wife Gloria are the subject of a feature story in the Sayre Historical Society spring Quarterly.
His story, based on a 1993 interview recorded just after he retired, appears in the spring issue of the Sayre Historical Society Quarterly. Blackman passed away on March 7, 2016.
Other items in the Spring Quarterly include a story and photograph of a Fourth of July parade in Sayre featuring a scale model of a Lehigh Valley Railroad steam locomotive, a 1975 photograph of the Robert Packer Hospital, an account of Dr. Donald Guthrie on the occasion of his 30th anniversary in Sayre, and a photograph showing World War I Red Cross volunteers in Sayre.
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. The museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 5 to 7. A new exhibit titled “Answering the Call: A History of Firefighting in Sayre” opened April 1 and will run until September 6. Admission is free.
The illustrated feature story covers the life of the former Sayre resident who entered a “Draw Me” contest in the local newspaper and moved to California.
“I won the contest so I thought we were going to right to Hollywood but I got there and it was all filled up and I couldn’t possibly start until maybe six months to a year,” Blackman said. He then attended UCLA and following graduation started working as an apprentice under legendary Columbia Pictures make-up Clay Campbell. Blackman’s career as a Hollywood make-up artist covered 50 years.
While he worked on movies with such stars as Clark Gable, Charleton Heston and Marilyn Monroe, Blackman also was introduced to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Rev. Billy Graham at a golf tournament in Palm Springs. Over the years, Blackman attended annual Crusades that featured over the years ten American presidents.
“It was really something for me and I enjoyed being with Billy because I stayed with him for 25 years,” Blackman said. “Whenever he would go on a Crusade, he’d call and ask me to go. The Crusade probably would run 10 days and he would do maybe three Crusades a year, so no matter what I was doing, I’d always make time.”
Blackman, whose wife Gloria was also a make-up artist, worked on television shows and commercials as well as movies. Photographs included with the story show Blackman with actors James Garner and Charlton Heston. The pictures were provided courtesy of Chris Shaffer of S. Waverly, who is related to Blackman’s wife. Blackman’s father was Fred Blackman, an electrician with the Lehigh Valley Railroad and his mother was the former Helen Shaffer whose four brothers included Charlie, Clarence, Bob and Diddie Shaffer.
The Fourth of July parade story includes a 1908 photograph showing the model steam locomotive numbered 1776. The story, provided courtesy of Richard Palmer of Syracuse, N.Y., said the engine and floats were inspired by shop superintendent A.W. Whitford.
“The miniature engine was the one big hit of the parade,” the article stated. “It was numbered 1776, and was an exact model of the 1552 of J-25 class passenger engines. The engine was connected to the back wheel of the wagon with a belt and for every turn of the wagon the engine drivers revolved twice.”
The Robert Packer Hospital photograph is pictured in the center section of the Quarterly and is from the collection of the late Harry (Bud) Patterson, a former Sayre resident.
Dr. Donald Guthrie is recalled in an article that appeared in the Oct. 2, 1941 issue of the Valley Recorder newspaper.
“A strict adherent to the code of medical ethics, Dr. Guthrie has sometimes been a stumbling block for newspapermen in search of human interest stories,” the article stated. “During his many years that he has headed the Robert Packer Hospital there have been countless cases that could furnish material to give the limelight to any news hawk. But Dr. Guthrie has consistently held that, in most of these cases, the facts should be made to the medical profession and the medical profession only.”
A 1932 four-page program on George Washington staged by Sayre High School students is also reproduced in the Quarterly. The program was donated by James Nobles of Sayre.
The Sayre Canteen photograph, donated by Sarah Harrington of Cranford, N.J., includes Mrs. Harrington’s maternal grandmother, Sarah (Lennon) McMahon and other Red Cross volunteers. Mrs. Harrington also donated a Red Cross uniform worn by her grandmother and a 1919 booklet containing the names of local World War I veterans.
The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit organization staffed by volunteers and a recipient of United Way funding.
Sayre museum reopening with “Answering the Call!”