Spring Program to Feature Centralia Mine Fire Presentation

Author David DeKok shows a photo of what the street behind him used to look like, before residents in Centralia, PA, relocated and houses were torn down. Photo by Sheila McCarthy Yorks.

Author David DeKok shows a photo of what the street behind him used to look like, before residents in Centralia, PA, relocated and houses were torn down. [Photo by Sheila McCarthy Yorks.]

The JCHS Annual Meeting and Spring Dinner Program will begin at 6:30 p.m., April 13, 2016 at Walker Grange, Mexico, PA. There will be 50/50 tickets sold to benefit the Tuscarora Academy. After the meal, a short business meeting will be held to elect board members.


Membership may also be asked to vote on Society bylaws and articles of incorporation, if revisions are complete. This will be followed by author David DeKok’s presentation, “Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire.” DeKok, a former journalist for the Shamokin News Item, has been reporting on the mine fire for nearly 40 years.

Tickets cost $15 per person, for a family style meal of oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli with bacon dressing, coleslaw, beverages, and cake and ice cream. Guests are limited to 100, and $5 from each ticket benefits the General Operating Fund.

The deadline for reservations and payment is no later than April 6, 2016. Reservations can be made by contacting the Archives Room, lower level of the Juniata County Library building, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at 717-436-5152. If you leave a phone message, please state your name, number of tickets requested, and a phone number.


Tickets may be picked up at the Archives Room, or mailed to you if you include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your payment. Checks should be made payable to the Juniata County Historical Society, at 498 Jefferson Street, Suite B, Mifflintown, PA 17059.

Successful Academy Fund-raiser Thanks to You

The First Annual Tuscarora Academy Fundraiser was a big success that could not have happened without: a lot of hard work by our fund-raising committee; great community support by sponsors of the event; use of the Juniata Valley Winery grounds and facilities; and the auction services of Steve McLaughlin. In addition, hundreds of individuals donated items for both the silent and live auctions, including books,pottery, rifles, photographs, collectibles, and artwork, as well as a shoo-fly pattern, civil war reproduction fabric quilt by the Juniata Valley Quilters Guild.

The committee members were: Audrey Sizelove, Austin and Nancy Willi, Sheila Yorks, Waynett Dunn, Chuck and Nora Houser, Bill Rohm, Laurie Cox Gilbert, Tennille Shetron, Becky Smith and Mike Hower.

Sponsors at various contribution levels were: Trustee, $500 – DuMor, Inc., Miller & Gentry CPA’s, Maple Lawn Associates, Inc., Brown Funeral Home Inc.; Principal, $250 – Baum Transport, Inc., Sausman Insurance Agency; Teacher, $100 – Byron Gray, Jack Gaughen Network Services Hower & Associates, Robert D. Hower Mifflintown Storage, Leonard Insurance Agency, Kauffman Insurance Agency, Regester Chevrolet, Inc., Spruce Hill Body Shop, Roger Snyder Insurance LLP, Fayette Trailer Sales, Casner’s Service Center, Mahantango Enterprises, Stuart and Janice Kehler, Jane Marhefka; Student, $50 – Marilyn’s Pool Supplies, Jim and Brenda Clark, Juniata Lumber, Joe Zook Accounting Service, Walter Rex Funeral Home, Long’s Store, Oxbow Customizing Processing, Benner’s Butcher Shop LLC, John H. Sheaffer Dodge, Taylor Service Center, Donna Grentz, Nancy Wolfgang, Seth Mosebey, Dorothy Sheaffer, Karen Henry, and Laurie Cox. The JCHS Board of Directors also thanks: Century 21 Above and Beyond, Fox’s Pizza, WJUN Radio, Swartz Signs, Bread of Life Restaurant, Loveshine Rentals, Absolute Bliss, Serendipity Day Spa, Locust Grove Retirement Village, Geisinger, Willa’s Gym, Thompsontown Emmanuel Lutheran Church, and the musicians, Fever Trees, East Juniata High School Jazz Band, and Faces 4 Radio.

Without the buyers who attended the event it also could not have been such a great success. Hats off to you!

Thanks to everyone for their support of this first annual fund-raiser event which will help to keep the Tuscarora Academy open as a Museum.

Tuscarora Academy Fund-raising Event August 15, 2015

The first annual Tuscarora Academy fund-raising event will be held August 15, 2015, at 4:00 p.m.with hors d’oeuvres and music by The Fever Trees while guests bid on the silent auction items at the Juniata Valley Winery, located on Rt. 35 South in Walnut. The live auction begins at 5:00 p.m. with a variety of antiques and local memorabilia on the auction block. Check out some of the antiques to be sold at http://www.auctionzip.com/pa.html which has a photograph and description of many of the items up for bid.

Tickets can be purchased at the Archives Room of the Juniata County Historical Society any Tuesday or Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $40 each and include the silent and live auctions, buffet meal [with dinner music by the East Juniata Jazz Band] and a two-hour session of music by Faces 4 Radio following the dinner.

Call 436-5152 for information on tickets. Ticket sales end August 1, 2015. You must have a ticket to place a bid.


1966 Captivity Remembered

On May 11, 1966, 17-year-old Peggy Ann Bradnick of Shade Gap, PA, was kidnapped by William Diller Hollenbaugh, as she and her siblings got off the school bus. Hollenbaugh, known to locals in Huntingdon County as “Bicycle Pete,” held Bradnick captive for seven days. The kidnapping drew national attention, and was the largest manhunt in Pennsylvania history at that time. Hollenbaugh was tracked down and shot and Bradnick was safely rescued. But, not before FBI special agent Terry R. Anderson, who had followed one of Hollenbaugh’s mongrel dogs, was shot and dead before he hit the ground.

Peggy Ann To Speak at Spring Dinner Program

Peggy Ann (Bradnick) Jackson, now in her mid-60s, will be the guest speaker at the Juniata County Historical Society Spring Dinner Program and Election of Officers, 6 p.m., Apr 29, 2015, at the Port Royal Community Building located on Fourth Street, Port Royal. For reservations call the society at 717-436-5152 Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or at other times let a message. The dinner menu is turkey, filling, mashed potatoes, green beans, ice cream, coffee and tea. Cost is $15 per person. Checks may be made out to Juniata County Historical Society and mailed to 498 Jefferson Street, Suite B, Mifflintown, PA 17059. Deadline is Wednesday, April 22.

Juniata Valley Winery to be Site of First Academy Fund-raiser

Support the Tuscarora Academy’s First Annual Fund-raising Event

winery logoThe first annual fund-raiser for the Tuscarora Academy will be held August 15 at the Juniata Valley Winery.
Many people may not realize that the tiny hamlet of Academia in Beale Township looks quite different today than it did in the late part of the nineteenth century. The Tuscarora Academy building, which was constructed in 1816, originally housed the congregation of the Lower Tuscarora Presbyterian Church.


This painting depicts the Tuscarora Academy in the winter and was painted by local artist Dennis Hutchings.

This painting depicts the Tuscarora Academy in the winter and was painted by local artist Dennis Hutchings.

In 1839, the building began operating as the county’s first secondary school becoming known as the Tuscarora Academy. During the period from 1849 to 1852 the bustling community saw the addition of several buildings to the Tuscarora Academy and construction of a new church was built to replace the old stone church that is now the Tuscarora Academy Museum.
The building has been used as a museum for historical exhibits by the Juniata County Historical Society for more than 40 years. It has, however, been under the ownership of the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission [PHMC] since 1962.
Recently PHMC decided that they no longer want the building and in order not to lose it, the Juniata County Historical Society has decided to take over ownership of the historical landmark. The future of this remaining part of local history is in jeopardy if the society cannot provide the annual operating costs. For that reason, a fund-raiser for the Tuscarora Academy is scheduled for Saturday, August 15, 2015 at Juniata Valley Winery.
Plans are to have a catered meal, musical entertainment, displays, and both a silent and a public auction. The public auction will focus on antiques. Donations of a selected number of antiques are being sought for this auction. Items being sought are those of a quality that will draw the interest of collectors, especially those related to local history. Money raised at the event will help defray the annual operating expense of the Academy.
Items already donated to the public auction include a Flobert parlor rifle, a Dipple crock, a wooden shovel carved and signed by Stu Gilson, a rare Cox bottle from Cox’s Bottling Works that was located in Maze near Thompsontown, a framed program from the Penn State vs. Maryland game in 1960 [which also includes a note on it “Vote November 5, 1960” when President Kennedy was elected, antique laboratory cylinders, a Civil War era quilt, a painting by Dennis Hutchings, a pottery piece made from local Juniata clay by Wildfire Pottery [Todd Tabb], and more.
Silent auction items include local post cards, Juniata County Centennial Celebration official program, Cross Keys Primary School souvenir booklet, 1890 Veteran’s Census on CD with printed list, Farmers National Bank, Thompsontown, PA bank bag, fourth annual Historical Society dinner held at Wm. Banks Hotel program booklet, reprint of an 1895 map of Mifflintown, a framed print of Bar Harbor, ME and others.
If you’ve never visited the Tuscarora Academy and would like to see what all the two-floor museum contains, visiting hours begin Sunday, June 7 from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. and continue each Sunday afternoon through August 30. Most who visit for the first time are surprised to see what has been preserved from the county’s history and on display there.
If you have an interest in saving the Academy and would like help with this endeavor by donating an historic item or an item for the silent auction, please contact Austin Willi at 717-364-0129 or email willia@pa.net.
Plan to support the Academy by attending the fund-raiser, enjoying a summer afternoon and evening, and help preserve local history. To learn more about the history of the Tuscarora Academy visit this website: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~pajchs/index.html