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The Indiana Gazette
                                    L E
                                     EISUR                                                                                                 E
                                                                                                                                    Sunday, April 17, 2011




Marking                                                                                           history




       Signs reflect                                                                       Group works to save
     county’s history                                                                       town name signs
                                                                                                 By JASON L. LEVAN              ent or were at one time: Arcadia,
          By JASON L. LEVAN            — and interested individuals                                                             Blairsville, Clarksburg, Com-
                                       to handle.                                              jlevan@indianagazette.net
        jlevan@indianagazette.net                                                                                               modore, Cramer, Creekside,
                                         “The financial cut is what                                                             Dixonville, Elders Ridge, Ernest,
                                                                                           It’s not just historic places and
      There is a history lesson        really upset me,” Chambers                                                               Glen Campbell, Heilwood, Hills-
                                                                                        people that have their own signs.
    awaiting in your own back-         said.                                                                                    dale, Homer City, Hooverhurst, In-
                                                                                           Town-name signs dot the land-
    yard.                                One county marker is miss-                                                             diana, Jacksonville, Locust, Me-
                                                                                        scape as well. But they are slowly
      Take a drive around Indi-        ing: the one dedicated in                                                                chanicsburg, Pine Flats, Plumville,
                                                                                        disappearing.
    ana County, and you’ll find        1951 that pays homage to                                                                 Rossiter, Starford, Trade City and
                                                                                           The majority of them were
    more than a dozen historical       John B. McCormick, who de-                                                               Waterman.
                                                                                        erected in Pennsylvania by the
    markers — some decades             signed the first modern wind                                                               “One of our hardest tasks is to
                                                                                        Department of Highways in the
    old, some that were dedicat-       turbine.                                                                                 determine which of the markers
                                                                                        1920s and 1930s.
    ed just a couple of years ago.       It is believed to be in pri-                                                           we know once existed are actually
                                                                                           But in the intervening decades,
    But they all denote a person       vate hands, Chambers said.                                                               still there. Often a town only has
                                                                                        many have fallen down or have
    or place central to the history    The historical society would                                                             one left when they originally had
                                                                                        been stolen, often for the purpose
    of the county.                     love to see it resurrected but                                                           two or more. Another situation we
                                                                                        of melting down the cast iron.
      It’s a nice way to commem-       that, too, will take communi-                                                            find is that they are still ‘around,’
                                                                                           But a statewide group estab-
    orate the area’s history, says     ty involvement.                                                                          but sitting in someone’s garage or
                                                                                        lished last year called the Key-
    Colleen Chambers, executive          “It will have to be a grass-                                                           basement, or the town mainte-
                                                                                        stone Marker Trust has dedicated
    director of the Indiana Coun-      roots effort,” Chambers                                                                  nance shed,” said Graham.
                                                                                        itself to preserving these two-
    ty Historical and Genealogi-       said.                                                                                      The organization encourages
                                                                                        sided signs. The organization says
    cal Society, but it’s a practice     Markers cost about $2,000                                                              people to adopt a marker and re-
                                                                                        it has found at least one marker in
    that won’t continue without        to make, she said, and the so-                                                           pair them as necessary, and to
                                                                                        60 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
    community support.                 ciety does not have money                                                                keep them painted as a matter of
                                                                                           “We are volunteers with not a
      Traditionally, the Pennsyl-      available for that purpose.                                                              celebrating Pennsylvania’s people
                                                                                        penny to our name but a lot of in-
    vania Historical and Muse-           The commission requires                                                                and places.
                                                                                        terest,” said Jack Graham, a volun-
    um Commission has provid-          specific steps during the                                                                  “We encourage people to paint
                                                                                        teer with the Keystone Marker
    ed matching grants to pay for      dedication process.                                                                      them blue and gold, but we’re just
                                                                                        Trust.
    the markers’ manufacturing.          Detailed documentation is                                                              happy if people preserve them.
                                                                                           The group has documented
    But two years ago, the state       required to verify the histori-                                                          Take a little pride,” Graham said.
                                                                                        photographically about 700 mark-
    decided not to fund the            cal accuracy of the subject.                                                               Ultimately, the group works
                                                                                        ers, some of which are visible at its
    marker dedication program,           A nonprofit organization or                                                            with foundries to produce accu-
                                                                         THIS           website, www.keystonemarker
    leaving it up to local histori-    individual must sponsor the                                                              rate replicas and posts, as funding
                                                                                        trust.org.
    cal societies — many of            effort.                           MARKER                                                 becomes available.
                                                                                           “Any that are out there are truly
    which are also cash-strapped            Continued on Page E-7        can be         senior citizens and deserve some          Nathaniel Guest, another volun-
                                                                         found at       tender loving care,” said Graham,       teer, said the state Department of
                                                                                        of Elliottsburg, Perry County.          Transportation does not have the
            PAGE E-7                                                     Ninth and
                                                                                           According to the group, town         money to fund such an effort and
            ■ Take a closer look at the county’s 16 historical           Philadelphia   signs in the following Indiana          has asked the Keystone group to
            markers.                                                     streets in     County towns are either still pres-     take on the initiative.
                                                                         Indiana.

				
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