Historical Society showcases Jersey Shore’s past

The Jersey Shore Historical Society is a treasure trove of its communityís rich past with archives and pictures and pieces from other eras flooding the rooms of the former home at 200 S. Main St.

“A lot of people are really good about donating things,” said Tina Cooney, historical society community outreach coordinator. “People find stuff from their families.”

Cooney and her mother, Olive Cooney, are happy that so many historical pieces have found their home there.

“I think this is just fantastic,” Olive said.

It was Olive who helped start the organization back in 1963.

Since that time, it has grown to some 200 members.

“It’s nice to have this,” said Tina. “The public has been very helpful in cooperating in the telling the history of the town.”

A tour of the three-story house, originally the home of Samuel Moss, a merchant, postmaster and stagecoach driver in the mid 1800s, yields plenty of history.

Some parts of the house are given over to certain themes, including a railroad room, which its rich offerings of equipment, tools, and other assorted train transportation items.

“We had the New York Central Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad (in Jersey Shore),” Tina said.

She referred to a picture of the Avis trainyard, which once served as a transportation hub. Avis was also the home to a cut glass factory and some of the artifacts from that business are stored in the museum.

Log books from a canal system that operated in Jersey Shore are on display as well.

“We have a lot of World War I artifacts,” said Tina.

She showed off an old helmet worn by infantrymen of that time and also pointed to a quilt with stitchings of each and every name of Jersey Shore men who served in that war, including the fallen soldiers.

Among other interesting pieces are a projector from Jersey Shore’s old Victoria Theater on Allegheny Street and an Edison Player phonograph from 1877 which was owned by Charles and Clara Marks of McElhattan. There is even a working telegraph.

“This is one of the oldest pieces in the house,” Tina said, pointing at an Alfred Benedict Fall Case Clock from 1798.

Tina said she especially likes to show off the crude surgical instruments used by Dr. James Davidson during the Revolutionary War. A portrait of Davidson hangs in the museum. He is buried in Pine Creek Cemetery.

Another room is given over to vintage clothing, which includes everything from bowling shirts to high school band uniforms.

Watercolors by Vi McClain, a local Twentieth Century artist, of covered bridges, barns, and other buildings of the area, hang from a wall.

Olive said when she and other townspeople first started the historical society more than 50 years ago, they had no place to store the period pieces they began accumulating.

The first real home for the organization was at the old Broad Street School in the early 1970s. Soon after, the present home was purchased.

She credited Jim and Betty Allen along with president emeritus Wayne Welshans with doing much for the organization.

The Allens take care of the museum, Tina noted.

The borough of Jersey Shore, she added, has also been supportive of the historical society’s efforts.

Tina said more plans for showcasing the community’s history could include the creation of a walk/bicycle path that follows the route of the old canal.

“Jersey Shore has a very rich history,” Olive said.