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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St. Agnes Church, Cassandra - Fall of 1909 - the BeginningThe church was named St. Agnes in honor of Agnes Sanders, six ...
05/20/2019

St. Agnes Church, Cassandra - Fall of 1909 - the Beginning

The church was named St. Agnes in honor of Agnes Sanders, six month old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sanders. Little Agnes died in September 1906. The house located to the right of the church is the Sanders - Maurer homestead.

From St. Agnes Catholic Church - 1909 - 1999. Thanks Sue Shuniak for sharing.

1909 - Ad for the Union House which was on North Railroad, and later became the Starlite Hotel.
05/19/2019

1909 - Ad for the Union House which was on North Railroad, and later became the Starlite Hotel.

1909 - The first hotel in Cassandra was known as the Leap House. Today the building houses apartments and the Post Offic...
05/18/2019

1909 - The first hotel in Cassandra was known as the Leap House. Today the building houses apartments and the Post Office.

(Photo from "St. Agnes Catholic Church 1909-1999". Thanks to Sue Shuniak of Cassandra for sharing information.)

The Piper family visited from Erath Louisiana and enjoyed our Museum.
05/17/2019

The Piper family visited from Erath Louisiana and enjoyed our Museum.

1909 - Ad for Goldstein's which was located where today's Post Office is on Main Street, corner of Caldwell.
05/17/2019

1909 - Ad for Goldstein's which was located where today's Post Office is on Main Street, corner of Caldwell.

TBT - Boys chorus, marked 1958.  Can you identify anyone?
05/16/2019

TBT - Boys chorus, marked 1958. Can you identify anyone?

1909 - Portage Drama ClubThe Portage Drama Club presented the play "The Girl From Triangle Ranch" in 1909 at the opera h...
05/15/2019

1909 - Portage Drama Club

The Portage Drama Club presented the play "The Girl From Triangle Ranch" in 1909 at the opera house in Portage. The play is in three acts and full of thrilling scenes. The Altoona Tribune has this to say, "The presentation was applauded by all. The characters were well taken. P. J. Clark is built for the part of Harry Logan, a young adventurer; Miss Celena Davis, who appeared as the heroine (Ethel Barton) presented the character in an able manner, as did Miss Alice Roden, who appeared as Nathadie, queen of the cattle ranch. Though not in the main story, delicious bits of character acting were presented by James Benson. Of those who also figured in the play and did admirably were F. J. George, as Harry Westley, a fugitive from justice ; A. C. Myers as Tom Clexton, associate; Fred Clemens as Solomon Donahue; George Smith as Caaleb Push, and J. Madigan, J. Smith and S. Madigan as cattle thieves. J. Madigan as Franklin Barton, owner of the ranch, took the character well.

Thanks to Mike Toth for sharing this photo with us. It is marked on the back - The Girls From Triangle Ranch - Clemens, Madigan, Smith, Madigan, Davis, Clarke, Clemens, Smith, Benson, Kiel, Madigan, Smith, George, McQuillan, Myers. What a treasure!

We are bursting at the seams!   The Portage Station Museum is starting the Rummage Sale early - tomorrow - May 15.  Open...
05/14/2019

We are bursting at the seams! The Portage Station Museum is starting the Rummage Sale early - tomorrow - May 15. Opening at noon. Everything is priced to SELL. More items will be added daily. Open Weds thru Sat, Noon to 4:00 PM.

1909 - I just love this ad, complete with poem.
05/14/2019

1909 - I just love this ad, complete with poem.

1909 - Caldwell Ave SchoolIn 1908, $18,000 was raised to erect and furnish a new school on Caldwell Avenue. It was a fin...
05/13/2019

1909 - Caldwell Ave School

In 1908, $18,000 was raised to erect and furnish a new school on Caldwell Avenue. It was a fine structure capable of accommodating from seven to eight hundred pupils. The school was red brick, two and a half stories high, with two dormers in front. An elaborate bell tower rose above the wide chimneys. The new twelve-room building was opened in 1909 on the eastern side of the 1900 building.

A teacher at this time wore her hair in a pompadour, and up in back. Her dresses or blouses had long sleeves and high necks even in the warm weather. Skirts were long, and shoes were uncomfortable with high heels and laced high tops.

The Principle was paid $125 per month.

A clause was inserted into the teacher's contract that a portion of scripture be read each morning according to law. The school term was seven months.

The board voted to acquire a plot of ground west of the school property. The lot contained Pringle Hall, an opera house which staged various types of entertainment including plays. It was converted into a schoolroom. (This building was moved again in 1954 to Farren Street and later became the Senior Citizens Center.)

1909 - some Portage Advertisements.  They were in the play bill for "The Bank Cashier" playing at the Portage Opera Hous...
05/12/2019

1909 - some Portage Advertisements. They were in the play bill for "The Bank Cashier" playing at the Portage Opera House on February 23, 1909. Cast included P. J. Clark, F. J. George, F. Clemens, George Smith, A. N. Mayers, D. J. Campbell, Miss Sara McQuillan, Miss Rose Mcquillan, and Rose Roddan. Any of these locals familiar names to you?

1909 - Myra, between Portage and Cassandra, oil pump station
05/11/2019

1909 - Myra, between Portage and Cassandra, oil pump station

1908 - what were our ancestors talking about?Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth ...
05/10/2019

1908 - what were our ancestors talking about?

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer which has become the unofficial anthem of North American baseball.

Miss Minnie Hammers, the popular Bell Telephone Operator from Portage, took a vacation. She visited her brother in Indiana, then went on to visit Harrisburg, Philadlephia, Atlantic City, and Altoona.

Ford’s Model T went on sale, at $825.00

Mountain forests are seething mass of dangerous fires from Galletzen to Portage. The smoke and fog are fierce. Portage residents were fighting fire bravely to keep it from getting into town.

J. C. Martin, coal operator in Portage, speaks out in favor of anti-liquor legislation saying he loses the output of 250,000 tons of coal, and his employees lose wages of $150,000 a year due to drunkenness.

Tea bags became popular.

TBT - Marked Mrs. Ciccotello, Girls Chorus Can you identify anyone?  Year?
05/09/2019

TBT - Marked Mrs. Ciccotello, Girls Chorus

Can you identify anyone? Year?

Your participation needed please!  I am doing a segment on "Family Reunion" from July 11 through August 20 that includes...
05/08/2019

Your participation needed please! I am doing a segment on "Family Reunion" from July 11 through August 20 that includes photos and stories submitted by many of you. I am still getting some photos and stories so I have decided to do a "Second Family Reunion" segment in November.

Please send me old photos of your Portage families, individuals, places - and a little bit about them. For example, who they are of course, when they came here, any interesting tidbit. You can scan the photo, or send a photo of the photo, via email to me at [email protected] or take a photo of the photo and text to me at 814-341-9810.

Help us to preserve our history by sharing your family's story and photos.

1908 Fun Fact - The recipe for Tootsie Rolls calls for the previous day’s batch to be mixed in with the new batch each...
05/08/2019

1908 Fun Fact - The recipe for Tootsie Rolls calls for the previous day’s batch to be mixed in with the new batch each day. Theoretically, this means there could be a bit of the very first, starting in 1908, Tootsie Rolls in every new roll made today.

1908 - Davis School The one-room Davis School, located about a mile up Spring Hill, is shown on the 1890 Atlas map of Po...
05/07/2019

1908 - Davis School

The one-room Davis School, located about a mile up Spring Hill, is shown on the 1890 Atlas map of Portage Township. Some teachers before 1908 were Samantha Diehl, Charles Patterson and Lucinda Bradley. The pupils lived, for the most part, in a core of about eight houses in the vicinity of the school.

There were no other houses on Spring Hill at that time from Morgans to the foot of the hill, where Timmerman's Store was located. Edna Richardson Fowler and Emma Bush, who started school in 1908 and 1905, respectively, remembered that the teacher sometimes took the pupils for a walk during the lunch time up to the Cramer School and back. The Davis School was used as late as 1917, but is no longer standing.

GREAT PORTAGE YARD SALE AND STATION MUSEUM RUMMAGE SALE - June 8. Please complete the form and send to the Museum or bri...
05/06/2019

GREAT PORTAGE YARD SALE AND STATION MUSEUM RUMMAGE SALE - June 8. Please complete the form and send to the Museum or bring down with your $5 donation to participate. Your yard sale will then be placed on the map, you will get a sign and balloons to show you are a participating site rather than one that is just taking advantage of our advertising. (Please shop only participating sites that day.) This is a benefit for the Portage Historical Society and Portage Station Museum. Thank you!

(Further instructions are on the form.) Please share.G

1908 - News Briefs from 1908 - Altoona Tribune-- Will Build New School House - The plans submitted to the school directo...
05/06/2019

1908 -

News Briefs from 1908 - Altoona Tribune

-- Will Build New School House - The plans submitted to the school directors of Portage for the erection of a new school building have been accepted. The cost will be $25,000. The building will contain 12 rooms and will be one of the largest in the county.

-- Thomas L. Lewis, UMWA President, will get a rousing welcome when he enters the bituminous coal field of Central Pennsylvania. He is slated to speak to the miners of Portage this afternoon.

Thomas L. Lewis, photo

1908 - News Briefs  - Altoona Tribune-- Seriously Injured - Phillip Jones of Portage Kicked by a Horse - Philip Jones wa...
05/05/2019

1908 - News Briefs - Altoona Tribune

-- Seriously Injured - Phillip Jones of Portage Kicked by a Horse - Philip Jones was kicked by a horse yesterday and seriously injured about the head. The animal kicked him in the face with such force that it hurled him to the ground. Mr. Jones was wearing a pair of glasses and one glass was broken into his eye. The injured eye was removed by Dr. Ross.

-- Quite a number of our sporting gentlemen accompanied our base ball team to Portage on Saturday to witness a match game of ball between the Portage team and our boys, which resulted 5 to 2 in our favor. Our boys speak highly of the kind and gentlemanly treatment accorded them both by that team and the citizens of Portage. They very much appreciate this and will take pleasure in returning the compliment when they visit our town.

Photo of Portage team - year unknown. Do you know any of these gentlemen?

1908 - I will bet that most people think there was only ever 1 Lutheran Church in Portage. Not so!In about 1908, the peo...
05/04/2019

1908 - I will bet that most people think there was only ever 1 Lutheran Church in Portage. Not so!

In about 1908, the people of Dutch Settlement decided that they needed a church. Gotlieb and Charlotte Cerwensky took all the furniture except the organ out of their living room and they began to hold Sunday School there for the children.

A pretty little frame church was built around 1911. Sermons were preached in either German or English. In 1945 when membership had decreased substantially, it was decided that the church would be closed. The congregation merged with the Lutheran Church on Caldwell Ave. The land was sold and the church was torn down.

A small Hungarian Lutheran Reformed Mission Church was located at 1203 South Main Street from 1921 to 1931. The building had stained glass windows and a steeple. The photo is of this church with Mrs. Rusnak standing in the forefront.

When this church disbanded most of its members jointed the Lutheran Church in Portage or Lilly. The building was converted into a dwelling.

Puritan Church - This church, located near Whiskey Row in Puritan, began as a Lutheran Church. It was organized in 1908 in a building donated by J. C. Martin. In 1910, when the Puritan School became crowded, the church was used for a school housing first and second grades. Though the little community was made up of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, the people displayed no prejudice, attending each other's churches and becoming close friends. When the church closed, the land on which it stood reverted to the Martin Realty Company and the church records were destroyed.

1908 -  Portage is booming and building.--German Evangelical Lutheran Church built in Dutch Settlement--Lutheran Church ...
05/03/2019

1908 -

Portage is booming and building.

--German Evangelical Lutheran Church built in Dutch Settlement
--Lutheran Church built in Puritan
--Martindale Reservoir Constructed (see photo)

1907 - Jamestown Basketball Team - can you identify anyone?
05/02/2019

1907 - Jamestown Basketball Team - can you identify anyone?

1908 - In 1908, $18,000 was raised to erect and furnish a new school on Caldwell Avenue. It was a fine structure capable...
05/01/2019

1908 - In 1908, $18,000 was raised to erect and furnish a new school on Caldwell Avenue. It was a fine structure capable of accommodating from seven to eight hundred pupils. The school was red brick, two and a half stories high, with two dormers in front. An elaborate bell tower rose above the wide chimneys. The new twelve-room building was opened in 1909 on the eastern side of the 1900 building.

A teacher at this time wore her hair in a pompadour, and up in back. Her dresses or blouses had long sleeves and high necks even in the warm weather. Skirts were long, and shoes were uncomfortable with high heels and laced high tops.
The Principle was paid $125 per month.

A clause was inserted into the teacher's contract that a portion of scripture be read each morning according to law. The school term was seven months.

The board voted to acquire a plot of ground west of the school property. The lot contained Pringle Hall, an opera house which staged various types of entertainment including plays. It was converted into a schoolroom. (This building was moved again in 1954 to Farren Street and later became the Senior Citizens Center.)

ANNOUNCEMENT - our Portage Area Historical Society 1909 School Collectible is on sale right now.  You can have one for $...
04/30/2019

ANNOUNCEMENT - our Portage Area Historical Society 1909 School Collectible is on sale right now. You can have one for $5.00, plus $4.00 shipping and handling. Or, you could stop by the Museum and pick one up for $5.00.

More on the story of this school is coming when we reach 1909 and in 1931 when this school burned. It is said that the town shook when the tower fell.

If ordering by mail, send your check for $9.00 to Portage Area Historical Society, PO Box 45, Portage PA 15946. Thanks!

1908 - Our Lady of the Sacred HeartThe history of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church of Portage, Pa., really ha...
04/30/2019

1908 - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

The history of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church of Portage, Pa., really had its beginnings in Poland where oppression reigned supreme. As these freedom seekers left their homes in their native land, they naturally settled in locales where employment was available. They came with their meager belongings and hearts full of hope to find work in the coal industry.

St. Joseph's was the only Roman Catholic Church in Portage, and since these immigrants did not clearly understand the English language, the Polish speaking people of Portage organized in 1908 and formed the Sacred Heart Society.

THREE WEEKS LEFT!
04/29/2019

THREE WEEKS LEFT!

UPDATED 05/09/2019 - 3 weeks left!

We have 180 bricks completed! Thanks to all of you who donated a brick to memorialize our past businesses. We only have three more weeks to get orders engraved. If you would like to donate a brick to honor a past business in Portage, please get your order in now.

Talk about a walk down memory lane. If you think of a business that no longer exists that you would like to see included, please send $15 and the business name to the Museum at PO Box 45, Portage PA 15946. Thanks!

We have received the money for the following bricks:

Hopfer Hardware
Brunetts Sales and Service
Henry Brunett Beer Distributor
Custer's Star Restaurant
Powers' Restaurant
May's Restaurant
Kent Steel Construction
Ellen's Lunch
McClelland's Bar and Restaurant
Johnny Angel's Bar and Restaurant
Old Portage Inn
Joe 'Nag' Yurchik Hauling Service
Harry’s Pizza.
Michaels Grocery
Michaels Feed Store
Skurkey Gas Station
Calaba’s Corner
Scarton’s Tavern
Hodgson’s Greenhouse
Chobany’s Market
Giselle’s Pizza Shop
Keenan’s
The Coffee Shop
Wittan’s Department Store
Stasko's Home Hotel
Wasko Auto Supply
Silagyi’s AG Economy Market
Michael Silagyi’s Portage Grocery Store
Domonko's Dry Goods and Grocery
Louis Kovach Grocery and Meat Market
Rita Thornton's Beauty Shop
WRML Radio
Community Pharmacy
Parkway Fruit and Produce Market
Corte's Clover Farm Store
Mountain House Hotel, Jamestown
Allegheny & Cheasapeake Physical Therapy
Ferraro's Market
Sam Tomaselli Shoe Repair
Fedorko's Mink Farm
Toth's Meat Market
Jenkins' 8 Ball Pool Room
West End Hotel
Furtkevic's Market
Drs. Mary and Edwin Miller, M.D.s
Capitol Barber Shop
Elaine's Dress Shop
Orlosky's Service Center, Benscreek
Mayers Insurance Agency
June Marie's Beauty Salon
Ariedas (Jumbo's) Grocery Store
Odenthal Hotel
Shevock's Jewelry Store
Bowser's Sunoco Station
Cowder-Sheriff Insurance Company
Grecek's Meat Shop
Dunda's Radio
Bucorson Machine Shop
Golden Eagle Photo
Hometown Homes
Duchess Beauty Salon
Noreen's Hair Salon
Bobolsky Upholstery
Verderame Shoe Store
Janet Nicharot's Smart Shoppe
Harpo's Hotel
Mr. Poludnikiewicz
Barrett Motor Company
All Around Builders
Fedorko Engineering
Oravecz Stores
Kreutzberger Sunrooms
Kreutzberger Heating and Plumbing
Sweeney Oil Co
Stager’s Chevrolet Buick
Havrilaks Gulf Station
WWML
Billings Hardware
Franey’s Service Station Cassandra
Jiggs' Towne Inn Bar
Eastern Distributing Co Jamestown
Herman Lumber Co.
Gully Signs
Duffy Television
Portage Bowling Alley - Agypt Building
Salsgiver Trucking
Peg's Diner
Nick Azzarello Barber Shop
Rudolph Seckinger Funeral Home
McDonnell Hotel
John P Castel Turkey Farm
Big K
Jones News Agency
Plummer Hardware Company
Ralph J. Talarigo, Attorney-At-Law
Frank's Hotel
Evans Jewelry Store
Schoenfeld's Furniture Mart
Kish's Store
Fiddler's Green Tavern
Andrew Timura's Grocery Store
Baughman Pool Hall
Jimmie's Rite-Way Shoe Repair
Abe Anis Clothing Store
Guy Cicotello Beauty and Barber Shop
Portage Cleaners
K & B Factory
Stein's Market
House of Bargains
Schoenfeld's Appliance Store
Berger's Market
Fruhlinger Butcher Shop
Blum's Quality Clothing
Goodman's Mercantile Store
Ratosky's Shoe Store
Gerber's Market
Horoff Department Store
Alan Kiel Service Station
Bowser's Hotel
Ken Bowser's Gun Shop
Goldstein's Department Store
Moskat's
Bata Shoe Store
Golden Electric
George and Emma Coughlin Montgomery Wards
Basile's Mobil
Peerless Dairy
Portage National Bank
Fred Schaffranek S&S Coal Mine
Mainline Sanitation
Bantley & Moore Hardware
Mainline Motors
Verba's Garage
St. John the Baptist Church
Casale's Shoe Repair
Karl's Small Engine Repair
Jan Golden Woodcarving Studio
Elizabeth Kovach Store, Cassandra
Hometown Video
Portage Floral Barbara Myers
Deb's This and That
Mark Sease Construction
Coozie's Barber Shop, Cassandra
Linda Gahagen Beauty Shop
Marco's Grocery Store
Izidor Serenko Funeral Home
Serenko Funeral Home
Lutz Home Center
Lutz Construction
Lena Handel’s Beauty Shop
M.G. Callihan Tinner
A&P Supermarket
Hi Way Lanes
Joe Lentini’s Grocery Store
Nelson’s Ice Cream Company
John H. West Tailor Shop
Fedore's Farmers Market
Bellvia's Amusements
Sedar Vending Co.
Fisher's Collison and Repair
Thrower's Service Station
Earl Weaver's Welding
Mulhollen Tire Service
Johnny Orloskky's Service Station Benscreek
Marport Coal Company
Joe Talarigo's Auto Repair Shop
Hi-Jo Pizza Shop
The Portage Dispatch
Thrower Plumbing
Flossy's Lunch
Simpson's Corner
Ike Richardson Confectionary Store
Stop-n-Go Pizza and Sandwich Shop
Rex Theatre
Kutzarino's Pizza
Mountain House
Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor
Rose Petryshak Beauty Shop
BioRunUp
Johnson's Daily Terminal
Burkey's Blacksmith Shop
Pringle Hotel
Pringle Hall Opera House
Martin Realty Company
Portage Railroad Station
Adams Express Company
Muz Eny's Barber Shop
Annie's Store
Caddy's Service Center
Caddy's Sunoco
Beckley Printing Company
Clapperton's Restaurant
Varner's Service Station
Keystone Lumber Company
Coffee's Tavern Benscreek
McCabe Lumber

Address

400 Lee Street, PO Box 45
Portage, PA
15946

Telephone

(814) 736-9223

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