Historical Society Newsletter October 2023
October 1, 2023

Note to Members

Dear members,

We look to the changing seasons with mixed emotions. Some of us reluctantly bid farewell to the long, warms days of summer with the joys of harvest and those who enjoy winter sports and cooler temperatures will welcome fall and days of falling leaves and snow.  Whichever season you enjoy, the latter is like a springboard, launching us into the many holidays that this season brings. After carving pumpkins and handing out treats for those costumed “trickers”, we often turn to Veterans Day to honor those who gave their time and often their lives to allow us the freedom to enjoy those seasons to the fullest.  We then also give thanks to their forebears, who founded the original colonies in this land of plenty, on Thanksgiving.

Perhaps, one of the important events celebrated around Halloween has been the Living Dead Fest, started in 2005 in EDCO Park. It is now held in Harmony at the Steamfitters Union Building as it has grown to include all of George Romero’s films. Let us not forget that a groundbreaking epic in motion pictures and following genres, was filmed right here in Evans City. Regardless of anyone’s taste in entertainment, it has become a worldwide cult following and a vital part of our history.  To honor The Night of the Living Dead and its filming, we have designed a Christmas ornament, depicting the chapel as it appeared in the movie. Demand for such memorabilia has been sought after by visitors and fans of the film. Plans have been made to offer them for sale at the Living Dead Fest and at the Museum.  They will be available for $20.

Last year’s sale of Evans City Christmas ornaments was a success and we thought we had exhausted the trove we uncovered in our collections. Further exploration and discoveries at rummage sales has brought additional, but a limited amount of them that will be available for purchase at the museum.  The ornaments are $5. There are also several other Evans City items available at the Museum.  Stop in Tuesdays to check them out. 

Returning to our veterans, we will honor them this November with a tribute by way of exploring the Monument erected in their honor in the Evans City Cemetery. You may have visited the cemetery to remember loved ones buried there and pass by the tall structure in the center of the oldest part of the cemetery, but have you paused to remember and honor those souls enshrined there? May be this year is the time to do so. 

Rick Reifenstein

Evans City Historical Society:

November Meeting

Guest Speaker, author Polly Shaw on: Pittsburgh Harmony Butler & New Castle Railway, The Harmony Route. 

All are welcome to join your Historical Society for our November 27th Member Meeting. Learn about how it was started, where it went to and the end of the line.

November 27th at 7pm in the Evans City Committee Room, Evans City Library.

A Short History of  Evans City:

Soldiers Memorial Monument

Evans City Cemetary

The Soldiers Memorial at the Evans City Cemetery was erected to perpetuate the memory of the brave men who went into service from Jackson, Forward, Connoquenessing, Lancaster, Adams Middlesex and Penn Townships.

The Cemetery was incorporated in 1891. In 1892 the Memorial project was started by Captain William Stewart Post No 573, GAR of Evans City. The plot in the cemetery for the monument was donated by the Evans City Cemetery Association.

Solicitations were made to collect funds. Enough money was collected to warrant the appointment of a committee, consisting of D B Douthett, John Rohner, Dr Willima Irvin, Edward Dambach, Enow Barkey, Captain J P Boggs, H C Boggs and George Marburger. They were authorized to award the contract and supervise the erection of the monument. On December 6, 1893, the contract for the work was awarded to J B Evans of Evans City.  The cost when completed was about $1400.

The monument, of Quincy granite, is 19 feet 3 inches tall. It is surmounted by the figure of an eagle standing on a globe. On one side is wreath of crossed swords and on the four sides of the die are inscribed the names of the dead whose memory the monument is designed to perpetuate. They number 45 in all.

There is also inscribed on one side of the Soldiers Monument in plain and enduring letters, these appropriate lines:

“The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat, The soldier’s last tattoo;

No more on life’s parade shall meet, That brave and fallen few.

On fame’s eternal camping-ground, Their silent tents are spread,

But glory guards, with solemn round, the bivouac of the dead.”

When the tornado went through Evans City in May 1985, the monument was damaged but has been repaired.

Over the years many have visited this site for Memorial Day or Veterans Day for the celebration of friend’s and neighbor’s military service.

Evans City

Through the Eyes of Postcards

The popularity of Postcards from the 1880’s through the 1900’s was tremendous. These photos also help save a record of places, events and people that is unmatched. We are sharing with you some of the Postcards in our collection and their wide variety of views Evans City and the people who lived here. 

Sports has been a part of Evans City’s history forever. Baseball has been a favorite since the 1880’s. There have been a number of award-winning teams and local sons that have gone one to play professional sports.

Many beautiful homes have been built in our town. Some are still with us, some have been removed and some have been transformed. Those on the left are East Main Street. The Glenn house is on the right, know for many beautiful rooms and its garage with a car turntable.

Transportation was very important to the growth of our country and our area. Of course, horses were paramount in this growth before the 1840’s.
The train through Evans City brought many new people and things to our town. \

Main Street the hub of everything. The left picture below is from 1908 and appears to be the paving of Main Street. The right photo is from 1909 and the Old Home Week parade crossing Main Street. What a change. 

Ariel views of towns were very popular. The left photo shows a very different view of our area. Notice the lack of trees on the hill. The trains and trolley brought many visitors to our town. The right photo shows the three hotel that once grace the corners of Main and Washington.

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