Tours of Muncy homes showcase history

MUNCY – Showcasing Muncy’s historical structures, the Muncy Historical Society led groups as they visited a number of houses during it’s Historic Homes and Walking Tour Sunday.

The tour was made up of seven stops, which included homes, a church and the historical society’s Heritage Park. Historical society members and homeowners were on-hand during every stop to talk about the properties and answer questions.

From stories about the homes’ current and past owners to their architectural design, there was something for all to be learned.

“We’re proud of Muncy. And, we try to get homeowners who have the same love of Muncy to open up their homes,” explained William Poulton, historical society executive director.

Poulton said they have different stops on the tour each year and many of the homes on Main Street have been a part of the tour throughout the years.

One such piece of historical information came from Mary Lyons, a volunteer with the historical society, who pointed out that medallions on the newel post of staircases represented a home without a mortgage.

Lyons explained that while a house was under mortgage, there would be a hole in the middle of the staircase post, which eventually would be filled in once it was paid.

While visiting another stop along the tour, the historical society commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with special exhibits at the home of Capt. John Rissel, who served in the Civil War from 1861 to 1864 and called Muncy home. Pat Jordan, an actress, portrayed President Abraham Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, at the home as a replica of the country’s 16th commander in chief’s coffin lay in the next room.

Bill Corson, a historical society volunteer, who was dressed in a uniform of a Union soldier, explained that there only were a few replica’s of Lincoln’s coffin made. He said the replica is exact to Lincoln’s actual coffin except for it not being lined with lead.

Also during the tour, guests were invited to look at the St. James Episcopal Church, which was the only property that is listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

Those on the tour had the option of enjoying the fall day by walking from property to property, or they could hitch a ride with a trolly as Poulton pointed out notes about Muncy and its history.

And while the structures are important, for Thomas Taber – whose house was part of the tour – it’s what is inside that matters most.

Taber explained that many of the items inside his home have been passed down from generation to generation within his family. A shelf full of books are dated from the late 1970s to early 1980s. He also has a set of China from the 1700s.

The value of having such items from past family members keeps him rooted in family history, he said.

“It ties your family together,” Taber explained. “If you buy them at an antique store, it doesn’t do that.”