Mars Area History & Landmarks Society

Mars Area History & Landmarks Society Official page of the Mars History & Landmarks Society, a volunteer organization working to preserve the history of Mars, Pennsylvania, USA. Mars and the surrounding Adams Township of Butler County, Pa.
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are rich in history that began in the late 1790s when pioneer families cleared land and established farms near the Breakneck Creek. Because the farmers required other services, two grist mills were built (1825 &1828) on Breakneck Creek, a general store was opened, and in 1873, a post office was established and given the name Overbrook. In 1877 the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad laid track through Butler County and through the village. Businesses and homes sprang up on both sides of the tracks. A railroad stop on the nearby Samuel Kennedy farm, situated near a brook, was called the Overbrook stop. Mail destined for the Overbrook Post Office was delivered to the Overbrook railroad stop. This necessitated a name change for the post office. “Mars” was chosen. A prominent resident and associate judge in Butler County, the Honorable Samuel Marshall, was influential in getting the post office for Mars. It is generally believed that the post office and town were named for Judge Marshall. In 1884 the oil boom reached Adams Township and Mars. Oil wells were drilled and derricks were visible on the surrounding farms and throughout the town. More growth occurred, prompting citizens to petition for the Borough of Mars to be incorporated. This was granted on March 6, 1895. The first election of the Borough of Mars was held one month later on April 9, 1895. The Borough gave permission in 1904 to the Pittsburg and Butler Street Railway Co. to build a track through the town on Clay Avenue. Operating until 1931 this electric street car line made commuter travel, freight and farm produce movement to Pittsburgh and Butler much easier and more affordable. The company car barn and electric sub-station were located just north of Mars and provided employment that drew new residents to the area. On its property located at 1 Brickyard Road, the Mars Area History & Landmarks Society has an excellent display of buildings and artifacts that recount this area’s history. The 1897 Mars Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station, an original Adams Township rural trolley stop, and a 1926 B&O Railroad caboose were all moved to this location and carefully restored. A 1928 Plymouth Gasoline Switch Engine, an operating hand car, and many other railroad related items are on display on the grounds and inside the station. Spinning forty feet overhead with an eight-foot diameter wheel is an operating windmill that was typical of those once used by the local farmers. Located in the general purpose/workshop building are displays featuring the 1950-1960 Mars Theatre, a model oil well, old business signs, a dog-powered butter churn, and other items that depict life in Mars over the years. The Society’s unique gift shop, where Mars memorabilia may be purchased, is housed in an original Ronald McDonald Party Caboose. For genealogists a nearly complete set of Mars High School yearbooks dating back to 1916 are on file. Many historical photographs are available. There is a collection of Mars Area histories written by local citizens, a file containing folders of family histories, and information about celebrities that had association with the area. VISITING The Mars Area History & Landmarks Society Train Station and Museum welcomes visitors each Friday from 10 AM until 2 PM, and during the annual Mars Applefest. Tours can also be arranged by appointment. Property location: 1 Brickyard Road, South end of Mars, PA 16046 Telephone: 724-625-4478 Website: www.marshistory.org Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/marshistory Parking on site Rest rooms are available VOLUNTEERING Volunteers to assist in maintaining and extending the Society’s facilities and artifacts are welcome and encouraged. Please call 724-272-9588 or attend a Friday (10 AM to 1 PM) work session for more information. MAKING DONATIONS The Mars Area History & Landmarks Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Gifts are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Donation of items of historic interest to the Mars Area is welcome subject to the approval of the Collection Committee. The donor is required to sign a form stating the item has been donated. It is understood that the item(s) may be removed from the collection should a better, like item be obtained, or if it doesn’t fit the collection any longer. Donors may obtain a value for the donated item(s) which may be used as a tax deduction. Individuals are also encouraged to make cash donations to the Society which can be claimed as a tax deductible donation. Make checks payable to the Mars Area History & Landmarks Society, P O Box 58, Mars, PA 16046. MEMBERSHIP New members are welcome. Annual dues are $15.00 for individuals, $25.00 families & $50.00 Businesses. Please see our membership application on the website. Meetings are held in the general purpose/workshop building 7:30 PM the third Wednesday of each month. The Public is welcome.

Mission: The Mars Area History and Landmarks Society was founded in 1980, its mission: “Preserve Yesterday for Today.”

Another "How It Works" workshop coming up. The event takes place on Wednesday, August 12 and deadline for registration i...
08/09/2020

Another "How It Works" workshop coming up. The event takes place on Wednesday, August 12 and deadline for registration is August 11.

A fine paint job completed by longtime MAHLS volunteer Al Zamba. Photos by Judy Ellis.
07/30/2020

A fine paint job completed by longtime MAHLS volunteer Al Zamba. Photos by Judy Ellis.

A fine paint job completed by longtime MAHLS volunteer Al Zamba. Photos by Judy Ellis.

The Mars Area History & Landmarks Society held its first successful workshop on Basic Engine Understanding, shown in thr...
07/24/2020

The Mars Area History & Landmarks Society held its first successful workshop on Basic Engine Understanding, shown in three of these photos. The other photos taken by Judy Ellis show some of the dedicated volunteers who build and maintain the facilities, like Herman Reedy painting the old pump jack from the bygone oil drilling days in Butler County.

Great to see so many youth in attendance with instructors Jan and Bob and their collection of machines, tools and gadgets! The next fun-educational workshop will be held in the pavilion on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:00 am.

The subject will be: Basics of electricity:
§ Understanding D.C. electricity
§ circuits, switches
§ automotive and trailer wiring
§ using test devices

Cost is by donation. Suggested ages 12 - 19, girls and boys, adults also welcome.

Anyone wishing to attend, please call Bob at 412-445-8197….even if you attended the first one.

The Mars Short Line Railroad is open for train rides and museum visits take place every Friday from 10 pm – 2 pm.

NO reservations needed. Cost is by donation.

The Mars Area History & Landmarks Society held its first successful workshop on Basic Engine Understanding, shown in three of these photos. The other photos taken by Judy Ellis show some of the dedicated volunteers who build and maintain the facilities, like Herman Reedy painting the old pump jack from the bygone oil drilling days in Butler County.

Great to see so many youth in attendance with instructors Jan and Bob and their collection of machines, tools and gadgets! The next fun-educational workshop will be held in the pavilion on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:00 am.

The subject will be: Basics of electricity:
§ Understanding D.C. electricity
§ circuits, switches
§ automotive and trailer wiring
§ using test devices

Cost is by donation. Suggested ages 12 - 19, girls and boys, adults also welcome.

Anyone wishing to attend, please call Bob at 412-445-8197….even if you attended the first one.

The Mars Short Line Railroad is open for train rides and museum visits take place every Friday from 10 pm – 2 pm.

NO reservations needed. Cost is by donation.

A familiar sight perched on the hillside along the Mars-Evans City Rd., the Kline farm was where William “Bill” Kline fa...
07/05/2020

A familiar sight perched on the hillside along the Mars-Evans City Rd., the Kline farm was where William “Bill” Kline farmed all his life and hauled cattle far and wide and he loved square dancing. A lifelong resident of Mars, he passed away on May 7, 2020. Thanks to Rachel Kline Nickel who sent in this story about her father.

A familiar sight perched on the hillside along the Mars-Evans City Rd., the Kline farm was where William “Bill” Kline farmed all his life and hauled cattle far and wide and he loved square dancing. A lifelong resident of Mars, he passed away on May 7, 2020. Thanks to Rachel Kline Nickel who sent in this story about her father.

For as long as anyone alive can remember, our town has celebrated the nation's birthday in true American community tradi...
07/04/2020

For as long as anyone alive can remember, our town has celebrated the nation's birthday in true American community tradition--with parades, fireworks and family picnics on the front porch--rain or shine. In past years we have posted pictures here on Facebook of the 19th century parade rolling down the brick street, Lincoln Avenue, with horse-drawn floats, and other years when the parade headed uphill along Pittsburgh and Beaver Streets to the baseball field. Sadly, 2020 will not have a parade but we will always have fireworks! Only in Mars would we have elected a mayor, Dick Settlemire, who ran his campaign on "bring the fireworks back to Mars"! Pride in America; pride in Mars. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

For as long as anyone alive can remember, our town has celebrated the nation's birthday in true American community tradition--with parades, fireworks and family picnics on the front porch--rain or shine. In past years we have posted pictures here on Facebook of the 19th century parade rolling down the brick street, Lincoln Avenue, with horse-drawn floats, and other years when the parade headed uphill along Pittsburgh and Beaver Streets to the baseball field. Sadly, 2020 will not have a parade but we will always have fireworks! Only in Mars would we have elected a mayor, Dick Settlemire, who ran his campaign on "bring the fireworks back to Mars"! Pride in America; pride in Mars. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Along with the human history of the Mars Area there is a fascinating natural history including how forests, streams and ...
07/01/2020

Along with the human history of the Mars Area there is a fascinating natural history including how forests, streams and wildlife have adapted to urban development. These remarkable pictures by John Davidson with his trail cam show how even the smallest patch of field and woodland within the borough harbor an abundance of creatures. Taken in daylight and at night, all season, between Beaver Street and Route 228...doe and fawn, turkey strutting, bucks and coyote in snow. The coyotes howl with the midnight train whistle.

Along with the human history of the Mars Area there is a fascinating natural history including how forests, streams and wildlife have adapted to urban development. These remarkable pictures by John Davidson with his trail cam show how even the smallest patch of field and woodland within the borough harbor an abundance of creatures. Taken in daylight and at night, all season, between Beaver Street and Route 228...doe and fawn, turkey strutting, bucks and coyote in snow. The coyotes howl with the midnight train whistle.

The Mars Shortline Railroad is now open on Fridays from 10 AM to 2 PM, for riding children and adults. All buildings and...
06/24/2020

The Mars Shortline Railroad is now open on Fridays from 10 AM to 2 PM, for riding children and adults. All buildings and exhibits are also available for touring.

The Mars Shortline Railroad is now open on Fridays from 10 AM to 2 PM, for riding children and adults. All buildings and exhibits are also available for touring.

SUMMER YOUTH WORKSHOPSThe Mars History and Landmarks Society (MAHLS), announces a 3-part “How it Works” workshop of inte...
06/24/2020

SUMMER YOUTH WORKSHOPS
The Mars History and Landmarks Society (MAHLS), announces a 3-part “How it Works” workshop of interesting things it would be helpful to know as you get older.
What: A basic “How it Works” workshop of automotive related mechanical and electrical subjects, taught by MAHLS volunteer members.
For whom: Primarily for young ladies and men - ages 13 to 18. (contact signup person below for other ages)
Subjects:
How an engine works.
 gasoline - 4 stroke and 2 stroke
 turbochargers and superchargers
 what is a Hemi
 diesel engines
 terms like “choke and flooding” explained.
Basics of electricity:
 Understanding D.C. electricity
 circuits, switches
 automotive and trailer wiring
 using a multi-meter
Basics of hydraulics:  Power steering, brakes, and other applications.
 oil path through the system
 importance of a pressure relief valve Where: The MAHLS outdoor pavilion at 100 Brickyard Rd., Mars, Pa. 16046
When: July 15, July 29, August 12, 2020, commencing at 10:00 AM
How long: 1 – 2 hours each session.
Cost: A donation to MAHLS would be appreciated.
Signup: Call 412-445-8197, ask for Bob
Signup deadline: June 30 – space is limited for social distancing, masks are optional (presenters will not be wearing masks), no sharing of instructional materials, tables and seating will be disinfected prior to event.

The Mars graduating class 100 years ago had to deal with a “flu bug“ too. Classes for the Class of 1920 were disrupted b...
06/12/2020

The Mars graduating class 100 years ago had to deal with a “flu bug“ too. Classes for the Class of 1920 were disrupted by the virus just like this year with the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. https://m.facebook.com/marshistory/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1518535325027763&ref=bookmarks

This class began high school in 1916 on the second floor of the Mars Elementary School (now Bell Tower Apts.) with forty-two members. In 1917 seventeen members came back to school. That year they began school with one-half day sessions until Feb. 12, 1918 when they entered the new Mars High School building. (Now Woodland Church). In 1918 twelve members returned to school. That year the school was temporarilly closed due to the "Flu Bug", then the class had to double up for the lost time to complete the year.
In 1919 ten members returned for the senior year. Click on the pictures for full view and more information.

This boy’s snapshots and news clippings of local auto racing heroes were assembled into a scrapbook around 1969-1970. It...
06/12/2020

This boy’s snapshots and news clippings of local auto racing heroes were assembled into a scrapbook around 1969-1970. It includes Bill Swaney’s cars #192 along with Bratchie’s, Kennedy’s, Choura’s and others. 2020 has been a tough year at Lernerville Speedway with the first part of its practice and race season events cancelled. (P.N.)

This boy’s snapshots and news clippings of local auto racing heroes were assembled into a scrapbook around 1969-1970. It includes Bill Swaney’s cars #192 along with Bratchie’s, Kennedy’s, Choura’s and others. 2020 has been a tough year at Lernerville Speedway with the first part of its practice and race season events cancelled. (P.N.)

Martians on Earth certainly feel a sense of pride with the May 30, 2020 launch of the manned spaceship by NASA and Space...
05/30/2020

Martians on Earth certainly feel a sense of pride with the May 30, 2020 launch of the manned spaceship by NASA and SpaceX. We know many of the space agency people personally having met them in Mars, Pennsylvania during the www.marsnewyear.com celebrations. America enters a new era of space exploration with the goal of landing an astronaut on the planet Mars with partnerships between Government and several private and university teams in the Pittsburgh area. Our town is part of this incredible mission. (Viewed live on Twitter).

Martians on Earth certainly feel a sense of pride with the May 30, 2020 launch of the manned spaceship by NASA and SpaceX. We know many of the space agency people personally having met them in Mars, Pennsylvania during the www.marsnewyear.com celebrations. America enters a new era of space exploration with the goal of landing an astronaut on the planet Mars with partnerships between Government and several private and university teams in the Pittsburgh area. Our town is part of this incredible mission. (Viewed live on Twitter).

Scenes after Woodrow's corner drug store was torn down to make the park, before the benches, after Golden Dawn Restauran...
05/26/2020

Scenes after Woodrow's corner drug store was torn down to make the park, before the benches, after Golden Dawn Restaurant and before the Mars Bank expanded into that space. Remember Menefees', McGeever's and Marburgers' Meats?

Scenes after Woodrow's corner drug store was torn down to make the park, before the benches, after Golden Dawn Restaurant and before the Mars Bank expanded into that space. Remember Menefees', McGeever's and Marburgers' Meats?

05/25/2020

A tribute to those who gave their lives during America's times of war on this Memorial Day 2020. Click to view the video and adjust sound when the music starts to play. Also click on Settings - "Full Screen" and "HD" - for best quality.

Who knows the name of the tributary creek that originates in Treesdale's lakes and feeds into Breakneck Creek behind the...
05/25/2020

Who knows the name of the tributary creek that originates in Treesdale's lakes and feeds into Breakneck Creek behind the train station and museum?
The discussion was brought up by Mars historical society president John Watson following a project to clear brush and trees to make the main branch of Breakneck Creek more visible from the MAHLS campus.
The photos show the path of the watercourse from Treesdale to the bridge at the former Mars Borough office and an aerial view where the 2 creeks meet beside the ball field. Woodwards' pond at Horseshoe Manor is also within this watershed.
Over the years the creek's course has been altered, for instance, once a winding, tree-lined brook in front of St. John's Lutheran Home, it has been directed through a culvert and the grass has been paved over for parking.
Where the giant white pine used to stand in the 1970's is a wooden bridge to a former Bratchie home where the damselflies could be found each summer. It then flows behind the former Bratchie's Texaco station (1978) which is now the car wash, pizza shop and Purvis Bros. Planet Mart, then beneath the bridge on Crowe Avenue extension.
Most of the other tributaries along Breakneck Creek as it flows through Evan City and into the Connoquenessing have names.
Perhaps it's time for the little creek to be officially named and recognized for its role in the area's history for the apple orchards, fertile farmland and a year-round supply of water right through the town. (P.N.)

Who knows the name of the tributary creek that originates in Treesdale's lakes and feeds into Breakneck Creek behind the train station and museum?
The discussion was brought up by Mars historical society president John Watson following a project to clear brush and trees to make the main branch of Breakneck Creek more visible from the MAHLS campus.
The photos show the path of the watercourse from Treesdale to the bridge at the former Mars Borough office and an aerial view where the 2 creeks meet beside the ball field. Woodwards' pond at Horseshoe Manor is also within this watershed.
Over the years the creek's course has been altered, for instance, once a winding, tree-lined brook in front of St. John's Lutheran Home, it has been directed through a culvert and the grass has been paved over for parking.
Where the giant white pine used to stand in the 1970's is a wooden bridge to a former Bratchie home where the damselflies could be found each summer. It then flows behind the former Bratchie's Texaco station (1978) which is now the car wash, pizza shop and Purvis Bros. Planet Mart, then beneath the bridge on Crowe Avenue extension.
Most of the other tributaries along Breakneck Creek as it flows through Evan City and into the Connoquenessing have names.
Perhaps it's time for the little creek to be officially named and recognized for its role in the area's history for the apple orchards, fertile farmland and a year-round supply of water right through the town. (P.N.)

Items sent in by a reader...has anyone else seen these? Thanks to Mars resident Penny Grigg Schroth who was given these ...
05/25/2020

Items sent in by a reader...has anyone else seen these? Thanks to Mars resident Penny Grigg Schroth who was given these by former mayor Scott Taggart.

Items sent in by a reader...has anyone else seen these? Thanks to Mars resident Penny Grigg Schroth who was given these by former mayor Scott Taggart.

The time when Americans remember our family members and neighbors and those we did not even know who made the ultimate s...
05/24/2020

The time when Americans remember our family members and neighbors and those we did not even know who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and peace at home. Photos taken at the Mars Cemetery during past years. See more about Memorial Day, Decoration Day and Veterans Day: https://www.almanac.com/content/when-memorial-day

The time when Americans remember our family members and neighbors and those we did not even know who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and peace at home. Photos taken at the Mars Cemetery during past years. See more about Memorial Day, Decoration Day and Veterans Day: https://www.almanac.com/content/when-memorial-day

Memorial Day in Mars.
05/24/2020

Memorial Day in Mars.

The American Legion Post officers at Mars cemetery for Memorial Day service. L-R: Fred Smith, Kermit Schwab, Francis Kratz, Dan Black, Bud Hager, Ches Marburger

Martian soldier.
05/24/2020

Martian soldier.

Later Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day, a day to remember the dead from all wars. Here Thos. Henry shows off his WWI outfit. Many from Mars served in WWI.

Recently we reported on the MAHLS members visit to the Saxonburg museum where they learned about John Roebling and Butle...
05/16/2020

Recently we reported on the MAHLS members visit to the Saxonburg museum where they learned about John Roebling and Butler County’s tie to the Brooklyn Bridge. Here is an article that tells you more. Thanks to Jessica Laus Beasley for sharing it...
https://m.facebook.com/OddPittsburgh/photos/a.1499935906916946/2650684021842123/?type=3

In 1859, architect John Roebling designed the "St. Clair Street" Bridge (later known as the Sixth Street Bridge) connecting the sister cities of #Pittsburgh & #Allegheny. He would later go on to design the Brooklyn Bridge in 1869.

Despite its popularity, it was unable to support the ever-increasing traffic demand & heavier loads. It was not suitable for the new electric trolley cars & restrictions were posted limiting speed and light vehicle load weight. A new bridge was necessary so in 1892, the bridge was dismantled.

(Carnegie Library Photograph colorized with #Deoldify)

Scanned from original negative
05/08/2020

Scanned from original negative

In America's Bicentennial month and year, July 1976, this building on Pittsburgh St. and Crowe Ave., what was called the aluminum company in later years, was originally a horse livery then the Ford Motors garage. Mayor Lester Kennedy and the Mars Police, parked at the McDonald Funeral Home, along with citizen sidewalk supervisors, were on site.

Address

1 Brickyard Rd P O Box 58
Mars, PA
16046

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Telephone 724-625-4478

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