Portage Area Historical Society

Portage Area Historical Society We are dedicated to the preservation, education and exploration of the rich history of Portage, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding local area.
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Operating as usual

1923 - what were our ancestors talking about?In 1923, W. H. Derrick was made principal at $2,000 per year. .In 1923, a c...
09/15/2020

1923 - what were our ancestors talking about?

In 1923, W. H. Derrick was made principal at $2,000 per year.

.In 1923, a complaint was made to council relating to the stores and restaurants. People were congregating late or all night and some places were open on Sunday. A request was made to close these stores and businesses at an appropriate hour.

The Portage Concert Band reorganized in 1923. Portage residents looked forward to the parades. They all went to the Red Men's Grove (site of the present football stadium) where a sham battle was staged by the "Redmen," a fraternal organization. The Concert and Marching Band set the stage for this never-to-be-forgotten entertainment. Rehearsals for the band were held in the Municipal Building each week. Concerts were given Saturday nights during the summer on the lawn next to what is now the Decort's Funeral Home. Large crowds assembled to hear fox trots, marches, and tunes of that day. Usually the hat was passed around for a collection to purchase music.

Photo - Red Man's Grove

On August 2, 1923, Warren G. Harding became the sixth of eight presidents to die in office, suffering an apparent heart ...
09/14/2020

On August 2, 1923, Warren G. Harding became the sixth of eight presidents to die in office, suffering an apparent heart attack while holed up in San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. That June he had set out on an intended 15,000-mile cross-country speaking tour labeled the Voyage of Understanding, which included the first-ever presidential visit to Alaska. Upon returning to the Lower 48, he began suffering from cramps, indigestion, a fever and shortness of breath. His chief physician chalked it up mainly to food poisoning, but other doctors believed it to be more serious. A few days later, just as he appeared to be improving, Harding suddenly shuddered and slumped over in bed lifeless. Though his wife refused to allow an autopsy, precipitating rumors of foul play, no evidence has ever emerged that his death was anything but natural.

Mrs. Harding gave orders that the funeral train of Pres. Harding was to travel at no more than 50 miles per hour and reduce speed to 10 miles an hour at Johnstown, Greensburg, Wilkinsburg and East Liberty. Reduce speed to 30 miles an hour at Cresson, Portage, South Fork, and other small towns.

Engineer McConnel wrote that due to the large numbers of people at all the stations (Portage included), he reduced the speed of the funeral train to 10 miles per hour for them all.

09/13/2020

The following information was taken from the General Ordinances of Portage Borough-1918, revised 1923. After reading these, I had some questions - as I'm sure you will too. Please share your thoughts. (Like - speed limit for a vehicle of 1 mile in 4 minutes? How did one measure that?)

Article V, Section 5 - It is unlawful to set up a tippling shop...or place where cock fighting or dog fighting is conducted.

Article V, section 6 - It is unlawful to carry concealed upon one's person any razor, dirk, or bowie knife, black jack or hand billy.

Article V, Section II, Clause A - No male minor under fourteen and no female minor shall be permitted to work at any time as scavenger, bootblack or any trade performed in a public place.

Article V, Section II, Clause B - It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of sixteen to remain upon the streets or public places of this borough after the hour of eight o'clock p.rn. from November first of any year until the last day of March in the following year and after nine o'clock during the rest of the year, unless accompanied by an adult. This adult must be the parent or legal guardian or have a note signed and dated for that day declaring that the child is on an emergency errand.

Article V, Section 12, Clause A - All pool rooms, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and pUblic dance haUs shall not open their doors for business before 7:00 AM. nor remain open beyond midnight, except public dance halls which may remain open until one AM.

Article VI, Section 2, Clause A, Section 6 - It is unlawful to drive any wagon, cart, automobile or other vehicle: to ride any bicycle or motorcycle, to lead, hitch, ride or drive any horse, cow, mule, or other animal; or to coast or sled ride on any of the sidewalks.

Article VIII, Clause A - In no case shall a motor vehicle be operated at a rate of speed greater than one mile in four minutes and a horse be driven or ridden at a speed greater than eight miles an hour.

Article VII, Section 1 - It is unlawful to permit any horse, mare, gelding, mule, hog, cow, goat, chicken, duck, goose, turkey or other fowl to run at large within this borough.

Article IX, Section 3 - It is unlawful to peddle or hawk from house to house, with wagon or other vehicles, meat, oysters, fish, vegetables, ice cream, bread, cakes, or any other wares except upon the payment of a fee of ten dollars a year or one dollar a day.

1923 - Margaret Furry Roudabush, a native of New Enterprise, Bedford County, came to Portage as a bride in May, 1923. Sh...
09/12/2020

1923 - Margaret Furry Roudabush, a native of New Enterprise, Bedford County, came to Portage as a bride in May, 1923. She had been educated at Millersville Normal School, majoring in art and music, and gave private piano lessons in her home. In March 1924 Mrs. Roudabush was asked to complete the school year as a substitute teacher for grades five through eight at the Cramer School, after two men teachers had been fired. The first day she walked from her apartment in the Patterson Building on Gillespie Avenue up Spring Hill. There was so much snow that the road was drifted shut at the top of the hill and Mrs. Roudabush had to go through the woods. When she got to the schoolhouse it was cold and damp; so she quickly made a fire and arranged to have a neighborhood boy take that job for the next day. Among her pupils were Gertrude Enderlein (Sossong) and Olga Benko (Kittell).

Mrs. Roudabush's parents were Levi and Hannah (Peach) Furry. Levi's brother was David Furry, married to Margaret. David was the father of a very famous celebrity.

I don't have a photo of Mrs. Roudabush, but I do have a photo of her cousin. Perhaps you have heard of her? Hedda Hopper (born Elda Furry; May 2, 1885 – February 1, 1966) was an American actress and gossip columnist,

I also have a photo of Mrs. Roudabush's cousin, Hedda's son, William Hopper - perhaps you have seen him on the old Perry Mason series as Paul Drake?

1923 started with a Big Dance. I have tried to find information on the Mason Dixon Twelve and Skin Young but have been u...
09/11/2020

1923 started with a Big Dance. I have tried to find information on the Mason Dixon Twelve and Skin Young but have been unable to find anything. Does anyone have any information?

09/10/2020

ANNOUCEMENT - Facebook is giving me fits lately. They have completely changed the way that draft posts are stored, and scheduled posts are posted. For some reason the last few days the photos have disappeared on my scheduled posts. I am sorry. Doing what I can to remedy this.

Also - if posts have typos it is because they were in my scheduled post folder and I would always check them the day before they posted and make any corrections then. Facebook has taken away my ability to do this. It will take 6 months for all this to work itself out - so you may see some typos, etc., until I get out of bed and get on here to fix things. Again - sorry.

TBT - Wrestling champs!  Does anyone know the year, or can anyone identify the players in this photo?
09/10/2020

TBT - Wrestling champs! Does anyone know the year, or can anyone identify the players in this photo?

1922 - More fun facts Film director Hal Roach released the first of many ‘short’ features called Our Gang. Considered ra...
09/09/2020

1922 - More fun facts
Film director Hal Roach released the first of many ‘short’ features called Our Gang. Considered racist by many today, it was actually groundbreaking to include black and white children playing together in 1922. In 1955, the series of shorts was renamed Little Rascals for television.
The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 was an eight day riot that occurred in New York City over men wearing straw hats past the unofficial date that was deemed socially acceptable, September 15th.

All telephone service in the US and Canada was silenced for one minute on August 4th, 1922 to mark the funeral of Alexander Graham Bell.

The US Postmaster General declared all houses had to have mailboxes or forgo mail delivery.

Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Pharoah Tutankhaman, better known as King Tut.

112 people died during the Hoover Dam project. The first was J. G. Tierney, a surveyor who drowned on December 20, 1922. His son, Patrick W. Tierney, was the last man to die working on the dam, 13 years to the day later.

Our Gang
Straw Hat Riots
King Tut

1922 - what were our ancestors talking about?-- March, The Madison Boxing Club of Portage, Pa., held a show.  Teddy Carl...
09/08/2020

1922 - what were our ancestors talking about?

-- March, The Madison Boxing Club of Portage, Pa., held a show. Teddy Carlson of Greensburg met Bobby Richardson of Portage for a 6 round bout. The show was held at the Portage Skating RInk.

-- The Portage High School football teams were some of the dominant teams in the area with a record of 52 wins and six losses and two ties from 1922 until 1929. These teams played against such teams as Altoona, Jol'mstown, Johnstown Catholic, Lock Haven, State College, Windber and Bedford in addition to their backyard rivals, Lilly, Cresson and South Fork. The 1925 team was undefeated with a record of 9-0-0; the 1927 team had a 9-0-1 record; and the teams of 1928 and 1929 had records of 9-1-1 and 9-1-0 respectively.

-- A Portage woman, age 22, was arrested in Pittsburgh shen authorities raided a rooming house and charged with owner for "keeping a disorderly house". The Portage woman was charged with visiting a "disorderly house". (A disorderly house was a brothel)

-- Charles Hughes, aged 72, prominent coal operator with mines in several communities in Cambria County including Portage, died.

-- The Pinchot Party visited Portage in October. The Pinchot Party was started by Mr. Pinchot, and is another name for the Pregressive Party.

Gifford Pinchot photo

1922 - One of the most outstanding coaches in Portage sports history was Coach Ray W. Gray. During the course of Mr. Gra...
09/07/2020

1922 - One of the most outstanding coaches in Portage sports history was Coach Ray W. Gray.

During the course of Mr. Gray's tenure in Portage, 1922 to 1935, he coached football, basketball and track. He was very successful in all three, but especially so in football. During Coach Gray's 12 years coaching football at Portage, he won 90 games, lost 24 games, and tied two games for a winning percentage of .775. During this era of high school, there were a total of 90 students in the high school. The football team was very successful against teams from towns within the same population bracket; many of the scores were in the 70-0, 80-0, 90-0 and even 100-0 bracket. Consequently, many of these schools refused to schedule Portage; this necessitated the scheduling of teams from towns such as Johnstown, Altoona, Windber, Lock Haven, Oliver and Perry High School from Pittsburgh. Against these teams, Gray coached teams that had more than held their own for many years. The teams in 1925 and 1927 were undefeated, and the teams in 1928 and 1929 only lost one game. Coach Gray's teams were the first in the area to use the lateral pass, which was introduced by Gray in 1924. This turned out to be a lethal weapon for these sensational football teams.

Although overshadowed by the phenomenal successes of the football Coach Ray Gray teams, Gray coached teams in basketball that won the St. Francis Varsity "F" Tournament twice and finished once as runner-up. In 1925 and 1929, the team reached the semi-finals of District Six each year. One team defeated Altoona on its home court, a notable feat because it was the first time in at least six years that this had been accomplished. In track, Gray coached teams that were twice successful in winning the Cambria County Championship, once in 1925 and again in 1928. In 1927 and 1928 the track team won the Class S, District Six Track Championships.
Portage

1922 - Fun FactsThe Most Famous Person in America was probably Babe RuthThe Rose Bowl Stadium officially opened in Pasad...
09/06/2020

1922 - Fun Facts

The Most Famous Person in America was probably Babe Ruth

The Rose Bowl Stadium officially opened in Pasadena, California.

Coca-Cola’s first polar bear print advertisement appeared in France in 1922.

Basis for the saying - Betty White is older than sliced bread. Betty White was born in 1922 and sliced bread was introduced in 1928.

Gummy Bears were created in Germany.

Walgreens introduced the malted milkshake in 1922

The first ever 3D movie was The Power Of Love, a silent film released in 1922. No copies exist

The term The Jazz Age was coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1922, the same year that the Great Gatsby is based.

In the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, sunlight isn’t fatal to Dracula, but it instead only drained most of his powers. It wasn’t until the 1922 film Nosferatu that sunlight was first depicted as being deadly to vampires.

The first woman to serve in the US senate was Rebecca Latimer Felton in 1922. She was 87 and served for only one day. She championed prison reform, women’s rights, and education. She was the last member of Congress to have owned slaves, and she spoke in favor of lynching. She was a Democrat but was appointed (not elected) to Congress to fill the seat of a Senator that passed away.

Photos - Babe Ruth
Jazz Age
Nosferatu

1922 - Shinka's Photography Studio was at the upper end of Main Street, near Anis' Store. Mr. Shinka came to Portage in ...
09/05/2020

1922 - Shinka's Photography Studio was at the upper end of Main Street, near Anis' Store. Mr. Shinka came to
Portage in 1922. He was also a violinist and built and sold violins, making all parts by hand and even making the tools used in creating the violins. Inside the violins were tags with Mr. Shinka's name, which were visible to the person who would be holding the violin. Mr. Shinka later moved to Brunswick, NJ. I wonder if any of Mr. Shinka's violins exist today.

Photo is not a Shinka, but a 1922 CARLO MICELLI VIOLIN

Books, and other items just donated, on sale tomorrow from 9 AM to 12 Noon, Saturday  Garage Sale at 289 Shady Springs R...
09/04/2020

Books, and other items just donated, on sale tomorrow from 9 AM to 12 Noon, Saturday Garage Sale at 289 Shady Springs Road Portage. Proceeds benefit the Portage Station Museum. (Please wear a mask.)

Announcement - in spite of COVID19 the Historical Society will be sending out a Newsletter in the near future.  Only mem...
09/04/2020

Announcement - in spite of COVID19 the Historical Society will be sending out a Newsletter in the near future. Only members receive our newsletters. Now is the time to join, and help our Portage Station Museum open again next year. Memberships are $10 for an annual membership or $75 for a lifetime membership. If you enjoy this page, please help us to continue to share the rich history that is Portage!

Many of you are members and your memberships are expiring as of the end of December 2020. Please renew today and save us the cost of mailing you a reminder.

For either new members or renewals, send your name, address and telephone number to Portage Historical Society, PO Box 45, Portage PA 15946 and enclose your check for either $10 or $75. Donations are also welcome!

Thanks

T

Old newspapers give us a great view of times past, even their times past. This is an article from March 28, 1922, about ...
09/04/2020

Old newspapers give us a great view of times past, even their times past. This is an article from March 28, 1922, about a woman that had just turned 100 years old:

Portage, March 28, 1922 - Mrs. Sarah Anne (Campbell) Weaver celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of her birth Thursday at the home of her daughter. Mrs. Weaver is the grandmother of A. D. and O. W. Mitchell, who conduct a meat market at Portage.

A. D. Mitchell visited his grandmother and says she is hale and hearty. She was born March 23, 1822, and talks fluently of her early life and displays a wonderful memory of events. She has seen the nation four times in war - the Mexican, the Civil, the Spanish-American and the Great World War.

She married James H. Weaver and moved to Clearfield County where the couple built a log cabin in the forest. Mr. Weaver was engaged in the lumber business, cutting logs in the winter and hauling them to the Susquehanna River where he would construct rafts. When the "spring freshets" would come he started with his rafts down the river. During his absence on the rafting trips, Mrs. Weaver cared for the family in the cabin home and often shot a deer or a bear to provide fresh meat for the table. She says it was a common occurrence to kill a deer or a bear before breakfast. Mrs. Weaver raised a family of six children.

TBT - 1970 St Joe's Science Fair winners.  See comments for names after you look at the photo to see if you recognize an...
09/03/2020

TBT - 1970 St Joe's Science Fair winners. See comments for names after you look at the photo to see if you recognize anyone.

A normal school is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching ...
09/02/2020

A normal school is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name. Most such schools are now called teachers' colleges; however, in some places the term normal school is still used.

The rules and regulations governing the behavior of teachers in 1922 were rather strict.

- Teachers will receive $75 per month
- Teachers must not be married
- Teachers must be home between the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM unless at school
- Teachers must not leave town without permission of the chairman of the school board
- Teachers must not loiter at ice cream stores
- Teachers must not smoke cigarettes
- Teachers must not drink beer, whiskey or wine
- Teachers must not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man except her father or brother
- Teachers must not dress in bright colors
- Teachers must not dye her hair
- Teachers must wear at least two petticoats
- Teachers must wear her dress no more than 2 inches above her ankle
- Teachers must sweep the room every day
- Teachers must scrub the room every week
- Teachers must make the fire at 7 o'clock in order to have the room warm at 8 o'clock
- Teachers must not wear face powder, mascara or paint her lips.

Address

400 Lee Street, PO Box 45
Portage, PA
15946

Telephone

(814) 736-9223

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When my father died one of his friends wrote me a very nice card of sympathy and mentioned how my Dad's father would often visit, I think he wrote a Social Club? Maybe an Italian club of some sort? This would be back in the 1930's? Does anyone know about this club? tx
Here is a story that my mother Carolyn Peterson Mansell told me. Can anyone verify it? Supposedly Hollywood gossip columnist, Hedda Hopper, was the sister of Mrs Ridebush (Not spelled correctly) who was a Portage resident. Hedda was born in Hollidaysburg, PA. Hedda's son was actor William Hopper who played Paul Drake, Perry Mason's Private detective. Is this true?
TBT !! Think you can guess all of them in this photo?
Still waiting to hear if you got the squirt bottle salt and pepper shakers and my donation Clarence (nick) mansell
VA card for Michael Toth
Sunday morning in Portage. The bells sounded like those of St Michael Russian Orthodox Church. I remember hearing them as a small child when visiting my Grandmother, Hilda Peterson who live behind her son's, Red Peterson, store, Johnson and Cambria. We are Catholic so I didn't get into that magnificent church until Uncle Red and I stopped in the 1980's and the priest was kind enough to take us in. Wow, what a awesome place!
One of the reasons I got back on facebook is to view this page. Did you receive the SQUIRT salt and pepper shakers and my check? I am a member of the Sanders Family, my great grandfather founded Cassandra Bottling. The shakers were given to my mom in the 60's by C R Sanders while visiting him and his sister Marcella COnnell (my godmother) 😁
Just want to mention I just read "Two generations on the Allegheny Portage Railroad" by Chris J. Lewie. I really liked it. Easy to read. Very good job. Thank you.
1949-1950 Deloris Louise Marisa, my Mom playing her accordion. Were you friends with her or remember this talented beautiful lady?
Hey all you Portage People who attended Portage Area EMS from 1983 to 1987. How many ever participated in a school production by Kim Byrne and Lucy Prebish? I am not talking about singing with your class, but actually having parts. I know I participated in a few of them. If you did, would you please tell us what you did, and who performed with you? I remember being a Samauri Warrior in a Christmas Play about Christmas Internationally with ours being Japan and a Mime for a Spring Talent Show in 1984( 4th Grade) and a Circus Strongman with Mike "Moose" Jones in 1985(5th Grade). Those were fun times, and I am sure many may have memories. This is part of our town history within our generation, so please share your memories.
The Laurel Highlands Historical village will be collecting Food and paper products for area veterans and elderly who are shut in and need the help. During the winter season our food collections locations include Stagers in Portage, Rizzo Chiropractic on 400 N Center St, Ebensburg, Hoss’s Ebensburg, Imler’s Outlet Store Altoona. As our efforts continue we find more and more people in need every day. We have been on a mission to get as much food as we can, as the demand continues to rise. PLEASE if you have any leftover food in your pantry consider donating same. We also want to thank the various business who continue to help our veterans. Also we are looking for any household item (still working) that we can recycle and give to the folks who could use same i.e. blender, electric skillets, crock pots, coffee pots, towels etc. Please call our office for pickup of these items. Items needed: Can goods, canned meats, heat & serve meals, rice meals, etc. snacks, rice meals, cheese, meat, drinks, coffee, drink mixes, paper goods, hygiene products, small gifts, small kitchen appliances (blender, mixer, etc.) , and any other items you feel can be used. Also ask your church, or work place if they would run a food drive for same. Were also collecting any used unwanted digital camera, video cams and related equipment, for our after school program whereby we are teaching children photography skills. Any questions please call the LHHV office at 814-241-6123
Who remembers this sweet little place?