With the hope to preserve the long but fleeting heritage of agriculture of the Greene/Dreher Township area, local historians have dedicated a barn to store and display important artifacts.
The Greene-Dreher Historical Society held a ribbon cutting at the barn an display pavilion on July 13th. It sits next to their main museum and meeting space, the Peggy Bancroft Hall- originally the Patriotic Order of the Sons of America (P.O.S. of A.) hall on Route 191 in South Sterling.
A gathering of members, friends and interested public collected under a tent as many thanks were given and the ribbon cut. Opportunity was given to inspect the wide variety of items from Greene/Dreher's past, from a large spinning wheel and butter churns (the latter loaned by Luanne Bailey) to assorted oxen yoke and a giant, wooden wheel used as a barn hoist.
Pies and cookies baked by their members and ice cream made on a hit and miss engine over a century old- operated by Sam Cox and Luanne Bailey- rounded out the afternoon.
It was a celebration both of the region's storied past and the present dedication of their membership, committed to seeing that their history is not forgotten.
Ruth Altemier, president of the Society, explained that the Society has already outgrown the P.O.S. of A. hall, which became their first permanent home seven years ago. As agriculture in Dreher and Greene Townships has dwindled, many people have come forward wanting to donate large items, tools of past generations of farmers that they wished to see preserved. There was no room in the hall; the idea came to erect a barn.
They have only an acre of land, an odd triangle which includes the spot the South Sterling Methodist Church had sat, where it burned down in 1980. It was that same year that community historian Peggy Bancroft initiated the Society. In 2007 the Societyreceived the P.O.S. of A. hall and the adjacent church site.
On this parcel they built the barn as large as they were able to accommodate the space and Township requirements. Knecht's General Contracting, Waymart, erected the pole barn and installed the metal roof. William H. Polley Woodworking & Lumber, Lake Ariel, milled the hemlock siding. Jason Van Buskirk Construction, Greentown, put up the siding, windows and and doors
"We launched a capital campaign," Altemier said. "... In a year's time our members came through." They collected a total of $30,001, exceeding their goal by one dollar.
Their collections committee will be going through artifacts donated or offered to see what they can utilize. Altemier said they hope by next year to have interpretive, labeled displays in the barn. Jeanne Browne is their Collections Coordinator.
They also have in mind to renovate the old root cellar on the grounds.
Page 2 of 2 - Peggy Bancroft, who is 95, was unable to attend the function but was very active as co-chairperson of the campaign. She wrote over 100 thank-you cards to donors, said Altemier.
Brown stated that their members are very dedicated and giving. Because of them, she said, "we can continue to preserve, interpret and share the who, what and when."
The Society presently has monthly membership meetings at the Peggy Bancroft Hall, where they have special speakers and opportunity to enjoy the artifacts. Altemier said that they hope next year to be able to open the museum at least one day a week, depending on availability of volunteers.
On August 5th at 1 p.m. they will have a meeting with author Sigrid Wilshinsky, who will discuss, "Louis Hensel- My Life in America Before and After the Civil War."
For more information on the Greene-Dreher Historical Society, visit online at www.greenehs.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. They publish a history booklet started by Peggy Bancroft, The Greene Hills of Home, which is included as a membership benefit.