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TO BE ANNOUNCED
COL. CRAWFORD STATUE
 THE GIBSON HOUSE 

The Connellsville Area Historical Society is based in the Gibson House

(217 W. Patterson Avenue, Connellsville, PA).
Built in 1818, the historic Gibson House was the home of John Gibson, an iron master. His home afforded him a view of Gibsonville (today the location of the stadium) above the smoke and noise of the iron furnaces. Today the Gibson House contains the museum and archival collection of the Connellsville Area Historical Society.


(2024 Update) The basement, which includes a fireplace, has now been Waterproofed to make it a truly useful storage area. There is much more work needed to make this sizable area serve our purposes.

In December, we accepted a grant from the GO Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau. Thanks to them we were able to waterproof the basement of the Gibson house to preserve it for many years to come.

Work on the basement wrapped up on 3/1/24.

Thank you D bug Waterproofing and Treasurer Ethan Keedy.

The grant was made possible due to lodging tax and the Fayette County, PA commissioners.

Thank you Commissioners Scott Dunn, Dave Lohr, and Vince Vicites for the opportunity to continue to build Fayette County and share our history with people from all over the world.

We're working to Educate/Preserve Connellsville history for current and future generations.

Ethan Keedy, our Treasurer, completed a grant form for the 2023 Laurel Highlands Hotel Tax Grant requesting financial help to make the use of the basement a reality.


WHAT HISTORY THIS HOUSE HAS SEEN!!

Our historic home, the GIBSON HOUSE, has seen plenty of this community and nation’s history. When our country was only 42 years old in 1818, this very fine Georgian style home was built for the iron master’s family, the Gibson family, This well constructed house on the hill overlooking the Youghiogheny River has been home to numerous families until 2001 when a devastating fire did great damage to the home then owned and lived in by the Enderle family.

GIBSON HOUSE FIRE DAMAGE

When the Gibson House was purchased in 2002, there was considerable damage to the building due to two fires occurring in the structure. We purchased the building from the Enderle family because we realized the historic importance of this building and wished to preserve some of Connellsville's history. The Enderle family was also in negotiations with Chelsea Ritenour concerning the building. Mr. Ritenour, after speaking with Karen Hechler, agreed that the Historical Society should purchase the house from the owners and restore this part of our city's heritage.

We paid using the money that had been made through the publishing and selling of early local histories. But there was no money left to do the necessary repairs to stabilize the structure. That was when Harry Porter went to work with the tremendous help of Paula Grubach of the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority to find funding to put a new roof on the Gibson House, restore the chimneys, replace the furnace, replace the windows, put in a security system and continue with all the many repairs and replacements that were needed. One of the major grants came through the Rivers of Steel Foundation.

 We thought that we had lots of space in which to create the History Center of Connellsville but first the house needed a new roof and new chimneys. The interior had to be cleaned out after two fIres, and the walls needed to be plastered. The front door had to be restored to its former glory. A handicapped bathroom was installed so all visitors were accommodated; and a small kitchenette was added. The stairway and the woodwork had to be replaced.

The carpentry work was basically done by Art Graham, a master craftsman. He wrote me a letter thanking me for allowing him to replace the woodwork in the building, I had to write back and tell him that we were honored to have him do our woodwork because he was one of the best carpenters. The attic had to be made useful, windows replaced, air conditioning and heat added, etc. The small bedroom was turned into storage for out archival collections. Some rooms have been earmarked for special use, like the Harry Porter Military Room and the Nelda Kern Graham Display Room. We have filled up much of the space in the Gibson House.


We are also going to launch a city-wide appeal to the public to help us preserve and protect this amazing building, the Gibson House, which has been involved in most of the history of Connellsville Area. If you have ideas on how we can launch a fundraising campaign to be able to afford the many improvements that need to be done at the Gibson House location, please contact the Connellsville Historical Society at 217 West Patterson Avenue or call 724-628-5344. We need work done outside like a new wall along Patterson Avenue and good night lighting. The attic needs to be made into a useful spot for storage. There is always something that needs done just like the maintaining of your own home. It is never finally done. You can contact me also at khistory@zoominternet.net 


EXTERIOR PHOTOS (WINTER 2023)

MT. VERNON IRON FURNACE STAINED GLASS WINDOW

Click on the link above (a new window will open) to view the stained glass window depicting the Mt. Vernon Iron Furnace placed in the Society's home - THE GIBSON HOUSE on West Patterson Avenue.  It was designed and crafted by Society Member and Fayette County Cultural Trust Executive Director Daniel Cocks.  The stained glass was purchased through Youghiogheny Opalescent Glass in Connellsville and Dan donated his skill, craftsmanship and time.  It was installed by Dan and Michael Edwards on Saturday, April 25, 2009.


THE GIBSON HOUSE: A CONNELLSVILLE CLASSIC

By: Karen Heckler

Walking to the stadium for Friday night fall football games is a tradition in many American towns. Connellsville is no exception, and I was one of those fans. There are numerous ways to reach our stadium, but my way often included walking along Patterson Avenue to pick up Arch Street and finally arrive at our “Coker” Stadium. Even as a teenager, I was intrigued by a stunning stone house along the way. The architecture was handsome, and the house was definitely old. I had no idea about the history of the house; all I knew was that it was a classic and very different from the surrounding houses. That was obvious even to a kid. Since history has always been a passion of mine, I had great interest in knowing more about this house. Over the years, traveling south along Arch Street, the Gibson Stone House on the hill always caught my attention, and I dreamed about how it would look if the distinctly unique front doorway was restored to its original splendor. It could be a showcase for Connellsville. Certainly, I was not the only person recognizing the importance of this house. The Connellsville Area Historical Society has documentation from 1977 in which Helen E. Spotts and Shirley A. Younkin of Connellsville completed an extensive study of the Gibson House that was sent to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum 7 Article by Karen Hechler Originally Published in 2010 March 2018 Commission requesting that the Gibson House be included in the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places. At that time, the Gibson House was owned by Greensburg Savings & Loan Association. In a letter dated October 6, 1977, the house had been evaluated and determined to be worthy of inclusion in the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places. Gibson is a prominent name in Connellsville history. The first Gibson within the confines of our city was John Gibson who came to our area in 1793 from Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Gibson purchased land from William McCormick and also partnered with him in a sawmill business. John Gibson also was associated with Isaac Meason and Moses Dillon in the iron production business. Other businesses the men were also involved in included: a grist mill, nail factory, oil press, and iron forge. The only iron furnace to stand within the Connellsville city limits was the Etna Furnace, also called the Mt. Etna Furnace, which was located at the south end of Etna Street. The furnace was built around 1815 by Thomas and Joseph Gibson, sons of John Gibson. The house, that is now known as the Gibson House, was built by the Gibson family in the Georgian architectural style and is one of the oldest houses in Connellsville, built in 1818. The main entrance of the house faces South Arch Street. This door is centered on the front facade and is semi-elliptical in shape. The main facade has four windows on the first floor, five windows on the second floor, and two windows on the basement level. The first floor originally had three rooms and an entrance hall. The second floor had four rooms, and the third floor being an unfinished attic. Over the years, the Gibson House has had numerous owners. My long time interest in the house and my association with the Connellsville Area Historical Society resulted in the purchase of this historic house in 2002. There had been two devastating fires in the house in 2002, and it appeared that the Gibson House might go the way of other historically and architecturally important buildings in Connellsville and be torn down. Fortunately, that was not the case. The Historical Society was able, in July 2002, to purchase the house. Due to the fire, there was a major hole in the roof which needed attention as soon as possible to protect the integrity of the building. Since the Historical Society had spent our cash for the purchase of the Gibson House, we had to search for sources of income to repair fire 8 March 2018 damages and restore the house to its original state as much as we possibly could. To begin the initial repairs, the Historical Society in partnership with the Connellsville Redevelopment Authority and the City of Connellsville arrange for the house to be cleared of all clutter and fire debris and to get the roof patched as winter. was approaching. With non-profit organizations such as the Historical Society, we must apply for grants for restoration. Before applying for grant to restore a building, an architectural survey and study has to be made.

This costly venture was paid for by a Charter Member of the Historical Society, Carmel Caller. Now armed with architectural plans, we went out to seek grants Throughout the years, we have received grants and private donations making it possible to restore the chimney, replace the roof, install a furnace, replace the pipes, install a handicapped restroom, plaster the walls, replace the floors downstairs with new hard wood flooring, replace the windows, restore the front door, etc. All this work has been done under the careful eye of Harry Porter, Historical Society board member. All woodwork remaining on the first floor's south room was completed by Art Graham in honor of his late wife, Nelda Kern Graham. The Connellsville Area Historical Society held its first official meeting in the Gibson House on Thursday, October 14, 2010. Lucy King presented a program on the history of Bohemian Glass, and Jean Porter and Martha Luppold, Historical Society board members, served refreshments. There is still much to do inside and outside the house. But so much has been done, and the Historical Society is pleased to know that the Gibson House will continue to exist thanks to our efforts. This is one of Connellsville's treasures that is being restored and will continue to be a reminder of our important industrial past. So that young girl's interest, years ago, in this unusual and historic house in Connellsville has come full circle. It needed to be saved and restored and that process is still going on. Plans are being made to have the Gibson House open for visitors on certain days by the spring of 2011. There are displays of Connellsville memorabilia to enjoy and collections of Connellsville documents for study and research. The Gibson House needs to be used and visited by local citizens and visitors to our community We are constantly searching for additional information and artifacts about our city and surrounding areas to better tell the story of Connellsville. The Gibson Stone House is indeed one of Connellsville's treasures and a perfect repository for Connellsville memories.

Sign Guest Book  View Guest Book 
1st CITY IN FAYETTE COUNTY, PA

CONNELLSVILLE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
217 West Patterson Avenue
Connellsville, PA 15425


Phone: (724) 628-5344 (K. Hechler)

Phone: ‭(724) 603-3691‬ (S. Lewis)


Email: CHS@connellsvillehistoricalsociety.com

Content, including images, displayed on this website is protected by copyright laws. Downloading, republication, retransmission or reproduction of content on this website is strictly prohibited. 


 


WE HAVE A SECOND CHANCE TO HEAR ABOUT SARAH B COCHRAN        TICKETS AVAILABLE $35/PER PERSON

Saturday, June 29, 2024
For those who wanted to join the Connellsville Historical Society to hear Kimberly Hess speak about Sarah B. Cochran, we can offer a second chance.

We will have a Lunch-Lecture at the Somerset Historic P&LE Train Station on the corner of 7th Street & West Crawford Ave in Connellsville.

We are grateful to Somerset Trust for this opportunity. A catered lunch will be served at noon followed by a lecture at 1:00pm.
The cost will be $35.00. You can send a check for tickets to 1103 Isabella Road. Connellsville, PA 15425.

Make the check out to Connellsville Area Historical Society. Enjoy this opportunity to visit the beauty of this renovated railroad station, enjoy a lovely lunch, and hear the story of a legendary woman, Sarah B. Cochran. Afterwards, visit the Annual Braddock’s Crossing Activities at the Crawford Cabin site on the banks of the Youghiogheny River.

Karen Hechler 724-628-5344


THE 21ST ANNUAL BRADDOCKS CROSSING

June 29th-30th, 2024

(MORE DETAILS TO COME)

●The actual Crossing of the Yough will be held each day @ 1:00pm (Depending on the condition of the Youghiogheny.)

●(If the river is too high, swift and muddy, we will not attempt to cross.)

●We Will Have A Crossing (Weather Permitting) 

Saturday June 29th:
OPENING CEREMONY: 11:00AM

CROSSING: 1:00PM

Sunday June 30th
OPENING: 12:00PM

CROSSING: 1:00PM

Our Guests This Year:
-Tri Town Historical Society
-Redstone Rangers
-Valerie Skinner

-Shawn Baird (Rifleman)
-Julie Rossington
-The Homestead Bath House
-Stone Forge & Tissage
-Dunbar Historical Society

●Refreshments are available on site both days. The Historical Society has historical items for sale. Come to the River Crossing and support the Connellsville Area Historical Society.


Annual Corn Roast

Wednesday, August 14th, 2024

The Connellsville Historical Society is planning for the Annual Corn Roast on Wednesday, August 14th, 2024, at 6:00 pm at Crawford’s Cabin located at the corner of N. 7th St. and Torrance Ave, Connellsville.

The menu includes: corn, hot dogs and sauerkraut, baked beans, fresh vegetables, dessert and soft drinks.

The cost is $7.00 per person.

To RSVP Call Karen Hechler, 724-628-5344
Reservations must be made by Saturday, August 3rd, 2024. You must bring your own table service to this event.

Anyone wishing to help set up for the event should be at Crawford Cabin by 1:00 pm on August 14th to husk corn and clean picnic tables.

Sign the Guest Book
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Name: Kyle Sepp Woods
Date: 02/10/2024
Message: Info on joining


Name: Simpson Jr Raymond R
Date: 02/09/2024
Message: Grew up in Leisenring # 1 ,,, Connellsville is home ,,,,


Name: Gary Overfield
Date: 01/06/2024
Message: Have an interest in Connellsville due to coal and the railroads. Also like the small town feel.


Name: Cheryl Beitzel-Barkey
Date: 01/21/2023
Message: I grew up going to Connellsville every year to visit my Aunt and Uncle, Pauline and Chelsie Eiford. They lived on Rock Ridge Rd. Some of my favorite memories are from Connellsville.


Name: Terry Ellen Ferl
Date: 10/05/2020
Message: The web site for your Society is very interesting and a great source for learning about the area. Congratulations on your upcoming new home, the Gibson House.


Name: Tom Latham
Date: 09/08/2020
Message: Hope someday I can visit the Crawford family cabin. Thank you


Name: Roger Buttermore
Date: 08/06/2019
Message: Looking for more info about Point of Rocks Cemetery and / or "Old Quaker graveyard" (Ellis, p. 393.


Name: Tom of the Yough
Date: 07/30/2019
Message: This is a great site

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