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Tours by appointment. The museum will be open Saturdays (10 to 4) and Wednesdays (from 5 to 7 p.m.) through December. Admission is free.
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“Living History” to be featured at Sayre’s History Fair
SAYRE – History displays, refreshments and living history are the ingredients for the annual History Fair on Saturday, September 9 from 10 to 4 at the Sayre Historical Society. Admission is free for the event which will also feature a new exhibit on “A Postcard History of Sayre” in the museum’s Rotating Exhibit Room.
CAPTION: George Westinghouse, second from left, portrayed by Douglas Weeks of Yesterday’s Gentlemen, will be one of many features of the Sayre Historical Society’s Annual History Fair on Saturday, September 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A new exhibit titled “A Postcard History of Sayre” will also open on Saturday.
A full menu of history will include blacksmith Tim Sanphy of Sayre, Sayre history items by Jim Nobles, hospital history, Sayre Borough history and Bradford County by Henry Farley, Tioga Point Museum history items by Todd Babcock, quilting by Mary Lou Palmer, textiles by Julia Brown and hit-and-miss engines by Pat Cahill. In addition, a collection of antique cars are scheduled for display.
Boy Scout Troop 19 of Sayre will be hosting a chicken barbecue on the station grounds.
A special attraction of the event will be a visit by members of Yesterday’s Gentlemen of Owego featuring George Westinghouse and various “living history” actors from the Gilded Age, which lasted roughly from 1870 to 1895. Portrayed by Doug Weeks, Mr. Westinghouse will talk to visitors about some of the new technology of the time. Additional members of the “Living History” troupe will interact with the public.
“We are looking at having additional players taking on the roles of some other inventors and key individuals of the time,” said Weeks. “At this point we are looking at a writer, one of Mr. Westinghouse’s partners in the electrical field, Mr. Tesla, and perhaps a few surprises.”
An additional living history display will be devoted to 1917 and show how “folks at home” were able to support the soldiers during World War I.
“The ladies will be discussing such things as home canning, knitting for the troops, victory gardens and more,” Weeks added. Games and amusements that were popular during the time period will also be available for participants to play with and one of the team members will be on hand to answer questions.
The new postcard exhibit, located in the Rotating Exhibit Room of the museum, will feature an informative display on numerous postcard views of Sayre, ranging from pre-World War I postcards from Germany to “tall-tale” and “real photo” postcards of the early 1900’s. A number of contemporary postcards are also featured. Many of the images used in the display are from the collection of the late Marty Smith of Sayre and a booklet showcasing the exhibit will be available to purchase in the museum’s Burkhart Gift Shop. The exhibit was funded in part from the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.
The Sayre Historical Society is a non-profit historic preservation organization staffed by volunteers and supported by members. The organization receives funding from the Bradford County United Way. Dandy Mini-Mart and Carl Etshman Co. are also contributors to this event.
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!”