Airport unveils historical display

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Cam Koons, board members of the Keystone Wood Products Association, left, Tom Hart, executive director the Williamsport Regional Airport, middle, and Nicholas Bisaccia of Bingaman Lumber were on hand for the unveiling of KWPA's new exhibit of the area's lumber heritage at the Williamsport Regional Arport Tuesday. Several panels of different types of lumber presents the history of lumber in the area as well as a interactive display.

More than 100 years ago, the forests of central Pennsylvania needed sturdy men to cut the trees and haul them from the woods to be transported to markets.

Those lumbering days have come alive at the Williamsport Regional Airport with a retrospective of the era.

Keystone Wood Products Association donated the educational display, which includes six hardwood panels and an interactive wall inside the airport’s new terminal.

“It’s a way of showcasing information with visitors to share the rich heritage of the industry,” said Stephanie Phillips-Taggart, KWPA marketing coordinator.

The six hardwood panels, constructed separately of ash, red maple, red oak, birch, hickory and cherry, display photographs of hardworking lumbermen from the 1800s and scenes from both that bygone era and the modern age, along with facts and figures of tree species and other information about the hardwood industry.

“We are really thrilled with it,” said Thomas Hart, airport executive director.

Hart said the displays have gained favorable reviews from travelers and other visitors.

“And it’s a good history lesson,” he added.

KWPA Board Chairman Nicholas Bisaccia noted the “clarity and depth” of the photographs found on the display panels.

“I am extremely thrilled with the way it turned out,” he said.

The project is the result of a team effort, according to Phillips-Taggart.

“The hardwood was donated by Pennsylvania College of Technology and profiled by Lewis Lumber Products,” she said. “Students and instructors at SUN Area Technical Institute manufactured the panels. The project was completed by Jim Vanderlin and Company, who assisted with placing the imagery and information on the panels.”

The Lycoming County Historical Society, Union County Historical Society and the Bill Brooks family collection donated many of the photographs. Pennsylvania Hardwood Development Council, Penn College, Dwight Lewis Lumber, Lewis Lumber Products, and the James Wood Co. provided modern day images.

The interactive monitor, allowing visitors to learn lumber industry information by a touch screen, can be found below a photograph of the Susquehanna River hick statue taken by Eric Stashak.

Former KWPA Board Chairman Scott Seyler said it’s the hope that the airport’s many visitors enjoy learning about the area’s lumber heritage.

“Through outreach efforts such as this, we are dedicated to preserving the past, embracing the present and securing the future of the wood products industry,” he said.