Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Amazing Story of the Exposition Park Fire of 1908

 The morning after - charred remains of the fire's path. The Hotel Conneaut stands untouched in the background.

As the morning darkness of December 2, 1908, dissolved into daylight, a scene of utter destruction revealed itself along the shores of Conneaut Lake. Wisps of smoke twisted feebly from the charred debris of Exposition Park. The sight of such amusement for so many just months earlier now offered only sooty outlines and blackened, smoldering heaps made all the more pronounced by thin, ragged patches of snow.

Exhausted firemen and volunteers shuffled along gathering their buckets and hoses in preparation for the return to their stations. They had just battled what, for some, would be the biggest blaze they would ever witness, and certainly the most destructive in the park’s history. Had the fire occurred during the height of the summer season, the disaster would likely have been catastrophic. Instead, despite the loss of over forty structures, thankfully no one perished.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Baldwin-Reynolds Reflects Shared Dickens Era Past

Christmas Carol Illustration by John Leech
One of John Leech's Original Illustrations for A Christmas Carol 
With the Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum hosting their annual "Fezziwig’s Christmas Dinner" in just a few short days, some readers might be curious “what’s in a name” for this nearly sold out event. Charles Dickens’ famous novella, A Christmas Carol holds special meaning to all of us at the Crawford County Historical Society.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Settler Disputes with Land Companies and the Burr Conspiracy

Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton Duel

Crawford County does not have much of a history of domestic strife. The county was largely unsettled during the time of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 never touched the county, and political conflict never erupted into violence as Bleeding Kansas did. There is, however, one instance of a domestic dispute that divided the region for nearly thirty years toward the end of the 1800s.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

John Mathers -Photographer of the Early Oil Region

Cherry Run, Taken in 1864

A Passion for a New Art

Much of the world’s first oil boom was captured in the photography of one John A. Mather, an English immigrant whose love for his art allowed such a vivid picture of Crawford County’s history to be preserved. Though Mather did not travel to the US to pursue photography initially, he was enthralled by the prospects of the budding practice when he met a traveling daguerreotypist. This early photography was a dangerous art, with corrosive and hazardous chemicals needed to develop even a single photograph. But such is the burden of the artist, and Mr. Mathers bore the potential dangers of his trade well.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The 150th Pennsylvania

The colors of the 150th, on display at the state capitol

The year is 1862. The War of the Southern Rebellion has flooded field after field with blood and the dead. Though volunteers had already been sent from western Pennsylvania, being largely absorbed into the Erie Regiment, they were not the last. President Lincoln had, in May of the previous year, called for additional volunteers to be mustered and organized by their various state governments. One such regiment was the 150th Pennsylvania. The regiment itself was made up of men from across Pennsylvania, but companies C, H, I, and K all hailed from Crawford County. Their commanding officer, Henry S. Huidekoper was also from Crawford County. Though new, this regiment would serve with distinction in some of the most difficult battles of the last years of the war.