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Save the date! Holiday Open House December 8th

The Society’s new Vintage Wedding Album will be on display at the annual open house Saturday, December 8th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.  And while you’re there, browse our gift shop for great holiday gift ideas.

HHS Begins Vintage Wedding Album
The Society is inviting residents to bring or send their wedding photo to our office to be displayed in a photo album.  Please include the day you exchanged vows, name of the church or place of the wedding, your attendants and honeymoon destination.  Other information you might wish to add could be where you resided or reside in Harborcreek Township, number of or names of your children and any special notations you would like to include.

We look forward to receiving wedding photos either through our or by your bringing them to 5451 Merwin Lane to be scanned during office hours; original stays with YOU.  This project will bring a new dimension to HHS and our purpose to preserve the exchange of marriage vows as township residents began their married lives together.

Shades Beach Historical Marker Dedication

You’re invited to join the Harborcreek Historical Society and Harborcreek Township in dedicating a new historical marker at Shades Beach Saturday, May 20th at 10 am. The marker, which was funded in part by the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, celebrates the history of Harborcreek’s shoreline.

Guest speakers for the dedication include Honey Stempka, Founder and CEO of Undo Undone and Project Manager for the Lake Erie Quadrangle National Marine Sanctuary Designation, and Jeanette Schnars, Executive Director of the Regional Science Consortium and member of the Pennsylvania Archaeological Shipwreck Survey Team (P.A.S.S.T.). Together, they will talk about recent efforts to identify, survey and document all shipwrecks in PA waters.

Refreshments provided.

Letter from the President

Dear members and sponsors,

It’s been a long time since the Society has had a place to call home, but we’re finally in our forever home. It’s gorgeous. We thank the Harborcreek community, Dean Pepicello, Joe Peck, Tim May and the Blanchfield family for their support after our offices at Knowledge Park closed and providing a new home. With their encouragement, the board never lost sight of the mission developed 20 years ago.

The Gifford-Blanchfield House will be open weekly for the community to visit and use. Please consider volunteering with us. A new building comes with new responsibilities, and we’ll need volunteers to help care for the house and during special events.

The Gifford-Blanchfield House is ideal for gatherings of 15 people or less, so keep it in mind if you need a space to meet.

Be sure to add to your calendar the following two events: the Shades Beach historical marker dedication on May 20, 2017, and the official dedication of the Gifford-Blanchfield House on July 15, 2017. We’d love for you to join us!

~ Lori Sheridan, President

Community Service Award Presented to Harborcreek Township Supervisors

At the 2017 Annual Meeting on January 28th, the Harborcreek Historical Society honored Harborcreek Township Supervisors Joe Peck, Tim May and Dean Pepicello for their unwavering commitment to the community and their investment in the Gifford-Blanchfield House. They orchestrated the transfer of the Blanchfield property from the Rick Blanchfield family to the Township and then oversaw the renovation of the house, all of which was done in partnership with the Society and Blanchfield family.

East Erie Moose Lodge #593 Award Funds to Society

In January, the Harborcreek Historical Society was one of several local organizations to receive a donation from the East Erie Moose Lodge #593 from their games of chance fund. The donation of $500 will be used to support activities and projects at the new Gifford-Blanchfield House that will take place in 2017. We thank the Lodge for their generous donation, and invite them to visit our new headquarters and see the work made possible by their gift.

Gauge War Wayside Marker Dedicated May 31

On Saturday, May 31, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm the Harborcreek Historical Society hosted a dedication for the Gauge War historical Marker. The presentation took place at the Harborcreek Municipal Building (5601 Buffalo Road) in the upper meeting room. We were joined by guest speaker Paul Foust. Mr. Foust wrote his graduate thesis on the “war” and discussed the December 1853 confrontation that took place in Harborcreek between railroad laborers and residents.

The new historical marker is installed in Harborcreek Township’s Roadside Park. The project is supported in part by the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority.

View event photographs by clicking here.

Message from the President

Greetings HHS members,

Happy 20th Anniversary! Harborcreek Historical Society is turning 20 this year. During the last two decades many changes have taken place – and more changes are to come.

If you have visited Knowledge Park recently, you might have noticed a great deal of activity. Penn State Behrend is growing and needs more space to house their programs and offices. In the Fall of 2013, the Society was notified that our office space was needed. Penn State Behrend has graciously found another space for us, but it is extremely small. Therefore, until a larger space is acquired, we will not be able to have office hours or programs at our Knowledge Park office.

Harborcreek Historical Society’s Board of Directors is committed to the vision and mission that was developed 20 years ago and the Society will continue to be a presence in the community. Harborcreek Township Supervisors have found space for the display cases and will allow us to use the Township Building for meetings and programs. HHS Directors are in the process of creating a Speakers Bureau of various topics that can go to your meetings and events. Also, we will continue with The Harbor View, our website and Facebook presence.

While we are in the process of moving into a smaller space, we remain focused on the security and safety of the HHS acquisitions – the documents, photos and memories that have been given to us.

If you have any comments or questions please email us at or call (814) 899-4447.

Lori Sheridan, President

“Thank You” for Attending the 2014 Annual Meeting

On January 28 Harborcreek Historical Society hosted its annual membership meeting. Director John Skuce led a discussion about growing up in Harborcreek in the 1940s which sparked interesting conversations about school, hunting, farming, and neighbors. The Society’s Board of Directors and executive officers were voted on as well at the annual meeting. We thank John for his engaging presentation and welcome Jane Ingold to the board!

Meet Our New Director Jane Ingold
Jane Ingold is an Assistant Librarian for the Lilley Library at Penn State Behrend. One of her “other duties as assigned” is to oversee the Behrend Archives. She was raised in Cranesville and received her BA in English from  Gannon and a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin. While there she worked as a page at the Barker Texas History Center, where she learned to love archives. She has written several articles about Behrend family, Behrend College, and Hammermill Paper Company history including a two-part series for this newsletter and she enjoys giving tours to local groups. Last year she co-chaired the Local Arrangements Committee for the Spring meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference which brought over 230 archivists to Erie from as far away as North Carolina.  She has been a member of Harborcreek Historical Society since 2007.

Photograph Caption: Richard Cowell and Sherman Clark at the Society’s annual meeting.

Out of the Box Teaching Trunk Available

The Out of the Box teaching Trunk is completed. The trunk uses the journals and letters from the Dodge family to teach students how to analyze primary documents. Extended lessons have students explore their family history. The trunk is appropriate for students 5th grade and older. Teachers, youth leaders and interested organizations can call or email HHS for more information on how to “check out” the materials.

Over the last 18 months, six local historical societies worked in partnership with Erie Yesterday and Edinboro University’s School of Education and History, Anthropology & World Languages Department to create traveling trunks, or museum kits, that take archival materials and artifacts outside of the museum and into the community. The Out of the Box project officially launched February 20 at Edinboro University’s Frank G. Pogue Student Center during a three-hour local history ‘open house’ for regional education professionals.

Photograph: Dodge Journal Entry, Friday 18” October
Fair and pleasant. wind in the west Pat. Hugh. Mike. James. the two thrashers and I thrashed oats we had a brakedown which hindered us some I let the men husk corn while they were fixing the machine In the afternoon Pat drove the mare to the buggy, to Erie to get some medicine for himself   Ellises Mike worked in his place while he was gone  Mike Martin while cutting bands with a knife, cut his leg very bad. he fainted once, I think he will not be able to do anything for some time.  We had 165 bush oats thrashed today. I with the other boys went to the literary this evening.  I made a speech and then occupied the chair as president Johny went to Erie on the wayfreight, after his cloths and came back on the 6 P.M. train

Harborcreek Township Driving Tour Now Available

Every day we drive by township landmarks and historic buildings. Do you know…

The cobblestone fireplace located just east of the Harborcreek Township Municipal Building entrance (along Buffalo Road) was part of Russell’s Log Cabin Restaurant which had a dance floor, store and gas station.

The lone brick building located on old Station Road was built by Thomas Bonnell in the early 1800s, making it one of the oldest brick houses in the township. It was an early stagecoach stop along Colt Station Road and may have been an Underground Railroad station.

Hoag Cemetery on Depot Road is one of the oldest cemeteries in the township. It contains the graves of four Revolutionary War soldiers and members of the Cass, Pierce, Prindle, Backus, Orton, Roberts and Hoag families. The first person born in the township, Sarah Prindle Orton, is buried there.

These three Harborcreek Township sites and 54 more (plus photographs) are featured in the revised Harborcreek Township Driving Tour produced by the Harborcreek Historical Society. The booklet will be available after June 14 at the historical society office at 5451 Merwin Lane, Knowledge Park. Cost is $2.00 per booklet.

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