History Center installs new wheelchair lift

MANSFIELD – The History Center on Main Street, next to the Free Public Library here, now has a handicap accessible entry, making it easier for elderly or disabled individuals to visit.

It was purchased through an $18,250 grant from the Betterment Organization of Mansfield, said Joyce Tice, who owns and operates the museum.

The new lift was delivered earlier this month and installed by Ralph Wilston and his sons, Ethan and Nathaniel.

Tice purchased the former Neal house in 2011 and has started taking the steps needed to open it.

According to Tice, the lift is the final step in the process that will allow the museum to officially open. She plans to have a grand opening on Oct. 4-5.

The wheelchair ramp had its “maiden voyage” on July 19, lifting 94-year-old Ardene Seymour Tyler, of Springfield Township in Bradford County, who was visiting the museum for the first time.

Though not in a wheelchair, Tyler was seated in a chair in the lift, which “made it easier for her than climbing the steps,” Tice said.

Tyler said her experience with the lift was “great, very comfortable.”

After she had read Tice’s historical articles in various publications for years, Tyler decided she wanted to bring two genealogies she has done of the Seymour family and her grandmother’s family, the MacAfees. She asked her great niece, Joanne Hagar, of Coraopolis, near Pittsburgh, who was visiting the area, to drive her over.

Tyler said she still lives in the same house near Columbia Crossroads that she was born in and in which her father also was born.

“My grandfather bought the farm in 1854 and it has been in the family ever since, and now we have it,” she said.

Tyler said two of her own children also were born in the home.