Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chestnut Ridge Historical Society
Last evening, I attended my first Meeting of the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society. The museum is located just off Route 711 across the highway from the site of the annual Flax Scutching in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania. The gallery claims a large room in a former red brick school building. This group of volunteers is dedicated to keep the historical records and the heritage of the Chestnut Ridge intact for future generations.
I was surprised at the number of displays that were present. Photographs, artifacts, journals, letters, miscellaneous memorabilia, and even a scaled down diorama of historic Stahlstown were protected in glass covered frames and display cases. Maps of the area adorned the walls.
The two speakers shared information of old time thrashing machines to the present day combines. They had logs and journals that their ancestors kept as records for the customers, how much grain was threshed, and the payments for using the threshing machines. They brought old black and white photographs of the stationary threshers that had been powered by steam driven tractors with iron wheels and belched great plumes of smoke.
The speakers, Bob and Matt Caton, a father and son team, also have displays at the New Centerville Farmer’s and Threshermen’s Jubilee that is held the weekend after Labor Day in the little town of New Centerville, Somerset County,  Pennsylvania. Antique tractors and farming machinery are on display as well as the replications of ways of life in rural Pennsylvania.
The next meeting of the Chestnut Ridge Historical will be held on Tuesday evening April 18, 2017 at 7 pm. Bruce Shirey will be sharing information on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. If you are available, the admission price is free.

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