GRANTS AND RAFFLE KEEP HISTORY MOVING FORWARD

CTHS volunteers Pat Peltz, Sandy Wilmot, and Shirley Granger take a break to talk about their program’s big fundraising raffle and the newest display in the Museum of Local History inside Clifford’s Community Center. The Museum, along with the restored Hoover School and the Clifford Baptist Church, will be open to the public on the third Sunday of each month, 1:00pm-4:00pm, beginning May 21st.  Volunteer docents are available at each site to greet and inform all visitors. Easter Sunday all venues will be closed.
CTHS volunteers Pat Peltz, Sandy Wilmot, and Shirley Granger take a break to talk about their program’s big fundraising raffle and the newest display in the Museum of Local History inside Clifford’s Community Center. The Museum, along with the restored Hoover School and the Clifford Baptist Church, will be open to the public on the third Sunday of each month, 1:00pm-4:00pm, beginning May 21st. Volunteer docents are available at each site to greet and inform all visitors. Easter Sunday all venues will be closed.

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Much like history itself, the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS) is constantly marching onward. Collecting, documenting, and preserving the wealth of historical information and memorabilia relating to the early settlement of Clifford and the surrounding areas keeps the small handful of CTHS volunteers busy. But without funding, its collective efforts will fall by the wayside. And history could be lost and virtually unknown to future residents.

Volunteer efforts, in-kind contributions, and quiet donations are very beneficial to keeping organizations like CTHS thriving. Since its founding in 2006, various grants have provided CTHS the wherewithal to not only establish the Museum of Local History and its numerous indoor exhibits, but to restore and enhance the Hoover School, present the Clifford Baptist Church, as well as create and ensure the growing efforts of the new Children’s Garden, the new Agricultural Museum, and the ongoing restoration of Yarns Cider Mill at Suraci Farm.

“The majority of our grant resources have come through the Endless Mountain Heritage Region,” said CTHS President Sandy Wilmot, “which is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Through that program, another $16,000 is available to us for this year and next. Many previous grants have been matched dollar for dollar through our merchandise sales and the generous donations of volunteer labor, materials, and dollars from CTHS members and friends. But now we need more help to match this large $16,000 grant.”

Toward this end, CTHS recently developed an innovative way to help increase its funding to match the awaiting grant monies. “We’re currently running a 50/50 raffle of 1000 tickets at $50 apiece,” said Wilmot. “This raffle is the first major fundraiser since CTHS was founded eleven years ago. It will enable us to award 20 prizes ranging from $100 to $10,000, while giving us the much-needed funds to finish the Children’s Garden and complete the cider mill renovation, restoring its original apple-pressing equipment.”

Wilmot noted that raffle tickets can be picked up at a variety of businesses throughout the Clifford area, including the Endless Mountains Pharmacy, Clifford Supply & Auto, Greenfield Power Equipment, Ellie DeFazio’s Hair Salon, Dunnier’s Country Store & Six Pack Shack, and Cable’s Deli. Tickets are also available by contacting 570-679-2723 or swilmot@echoes.net; they are also printable from the CTHS website, www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. The raffle drawing will be held at 2:00pm on Sunday September 10th during an open house at the Cider Mill at the Suraci Farm. “We’re hopeful that our efforts to preserve the area’s history will merit the support of this raffle,” Wilmot added. “With only 1000 tickets being sold, each ticket has a 1 in 50 chance of winning – very nice odds!”

While the raffle is ongoing, CTHS volunteers are completing another fascinating new display inside the Museum. Beneath a sign that states “A person without knowledge of the past is like a tree without roots,” seven large display panels feature photos and other paper artifacts that depict 150 years of local history. Donated by area residents, these are primarily items that have not been previously included in the CTHS historical books written by Sally Fischbeck and local historian Pat Peltz.

The CTHS continually benefits from local area residents and its dedicated volunteers who share their time, countless talents and skills, as well as their own ancestral memorabilia to help further the group’s works and enhance the community’s education of area history. Those who have any historical items that they would like to donate or lend to the Museum is invited to contact CTHS at 570-679-2723 or www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org.

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

SHOP AND MAKE A CHARITABLE DONATION AT THE SAME TIME

 CTHS volunteer-director, Sandy Wilmot, stands ready to greet customers at the new and fully stocked General Store in the Museum of Local History, located in Clifford’s Community Center on Cemetery Street.  Come visit on Election Day, April 26th, 8:00am-8:00pm.
CTHS volunteer-director, Sandy Wilmot, stands ready to greet customers at the new and fully stocked General Store in the Museum of Local History, located in Clifford’s Community Center on Cemetery Street. Come visit on Election Day, April 26th, 8:00am-8:00pm.

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Are you among the millions who shop online? If so, did you know you can make a charitable donation at the same time without spending another cent?
The next time you make an online purchase at Amazon, do it with a Smile and make a donation to the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS) while you shop.

“Apparently someone had done just that and initiated a new fundraising opportunity for us,” said CTHS President Sandy Wilmot. “But it wasn’t until I received a letter asking me to register a CTHS account with AmazonSmile.com and verify our 501(c)(3) status that we became aware of this painless fundraising opportunity. It’s so easy, and it can help raise money for all of our projects!”
As Wilmot recently learned, AmazonSmile.com is a website operated by Amazon that lets shoppers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as found on Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on Smile.Amazon.com, the AmazonSmile Foundation will automatically donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the eligible charitable organization of your choice.

“It’s simple and so easy,” said Wilmot. “We’re now officially registered with this program. So, the first time you visit Smile.Aazon.com, just select CTHS and then proceed with your shopping. Every eligible purchase made through this site results in a donation back to CTHS. You shop, and Amazon gives back to CTHS, with all donations electronically paid quarterly.
“Every little bit helps,” Wilmot added. “And it costs nothing … so why not!” To learn more about this fundraising opportunity, go to http://smile.amazon.com.

Among the newest displays at the museum is a mannequin in memory of local Civil War hero Owen Phillips. “Phillips was a private in Company B, 143rd regiment during the Civil War,” Wilmot explained. “He was one of our own from Clifford Township, and his fully dressed mannequin stands in a place of honor in the museum hallway. Phillips was promoted to Color Sergeant after saving his regiment’s colors at Gettysburg.”

As history relates regarding the battlefields of the American Civil War, perhaps no other symbol matched the influence of ‘the colors.’ Often, the colors were the only indication of the success or failure of a battlefield movement visible to a soldier. Contemporary letters and official reports tell us that every man in the ranks kept a close watch on those magnificent banners that were carried by a special few. Phillips went on to carry his colors and proudly represented his regiment until he was killed by a sniper in the Battle of the Wilderness.

The CTHS’s Museum of Local History will be open on Sunday, April 17th, from 1:00pm-4:00pm. “The new General Store is open and is fully stocked with lots of items for sale,” Wilmot added. “We’re selling homemade jams, jellies, and apple butter that society members make from local area fruits. We’re also selling CTHS memorabilia to help benefit our many projects. The General Store will also be open during the upcoming primary elections on April 26th, from 8:00am-7:00pm.”

CTHS volunteer-director, Sandy Wilmot, stands ready to greet customers at the new and fully stocked General Store in the Museum of Local History, located in Clifford’s Community Center on Cemetery Street. Come visit on Election Day, April 26th, 8:00am-8:00pm.
CTHS volunteer-director, Sandy Wilmot, stands ready to greet customers at the new and fully stocked General Store in the Museum of Local History, located in Clifford’s Community Center on Cemetery Street. Come visit on Election Day, April 26th, 8:00am-8:00pm.
Clifford Township’s Civil War hero, Owen Phillips, is represented in the hallway of the Museum of Local History.

Clifford Township’s Civil War hero, Owen Phillips, is represented in the hallway of the Museum of Local History.
Clifford Township’s Civil War hero, Owen Phillips, is represented in the hallway of the Museum of Local History.

The CTHS continually benefits from local area residents and its dedicated volunteers who share their time, countless talents and skills, as well as their own ancestral memorabilia to help further the group’s works and enhance the community’s education of area history. Anyone who has any historical items that they would like to donate to or lend to the museum is invited to contact them at 570-679-2723 or www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. The museum is open monthly on the third Sunday from 1:00pm-4:00pm.

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

Clifford Township Historical Society “GENERAL STORE” OPEN FOR BUSINESS

“GENERAL STORE” OPEN FOR BUSINESS

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Come one – Come all! The grand opening of the new General Store in the Clifford Museum of Local History has been scheduled for Sunday February 21st, 1:00pm-4:00pm.

As part of the Clifford Township Historical Society’s (CTHS) continually evolving efforts to preserve and display local history, the General Store is the group’s latest project to come to fruition. “We’re really so excited about this,” said Sandy Wilmot, President of the Clifford Township Historical Society. “The Museum of Local History has kept growing since it first opened in 2012, and the General Store has been a planned part of this all along. For years, we’ve been collecting all kinds of memorabilia and local historical artifacts to display in the store, and to have this project finished is great.”

Located in the Community Center on Cemetery Street, Clifford, the Museum of Local History comprises an ever-growing assemblage of all things related to the history and the people of the local area. The General Store has been designed and built within the museum itself.

“Our store was designed to be just like some of the old general stores that were once found throughout the Clifford area,” said Wilmot. “It’s comprised of two separate walk-in rooms and includes memorabilia as well as items for sale.

In the main room, CTHS has displayed numerous artifacts, many of which have been donated from friends throughout the community. “There’s a pot-bellied stove, a big old barrel where folks can play checkers, and on loan to us from the Kenny Bennett family of Harford is the original McCaskey cash register from Bennett’s Store,” said Wilmot. “The shelves are stocked with jams, jellies, and apple butter that society members make from local area fruits and sell to benefit our many projects. We’re also selling CTHS calendars, CDs and books about the area’s history, note cards and Christmas ornaments, mugs and more.”

The room off the store’s main area is a replica of an old doctor’s office. As Wilmot noted, “Around the turn of the century, the doctor was also the town barber. This room houses an antique tilting barber’s chair that’s on loan to us from Sarah Keating. We’ve also collected numerous old medical books, vintage jars and bandage tins, and many somewhat unusual items that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a doctor’s office of today — so many things have changed through the years. Being able to share some of these items from long ago is not only educational, but it’s a wonderful way for many of our donors to be able to pass along some of their own heritage.”

While the General Store has been designed to be as authentic as possible, perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of the store is its construction. The cedar boards that side the exterior walls were collected from the former Paradise Valley Dance Hall owned by Harvey White. “The hall is now being remodeled by Mike and Dave Prestys,” Wilmot added, “and they were more than happy to donate enough siding for our project. CTHS volunteer, contractor Jerry Lewandowski, carefully removed the siding and installed on the exterior of our General Store. It really looks great and adds so much authenticity.”

The CTHS continually benefits from local area residents and its dedicated volunteers who share their time, countless talents and skills, as well as their own ancestral memorabilia to help further the group’s works and enhance the community’s education of area history. Anyone who has any historical items that they would like to donate to or lend to the museum is invited to contact them at 570-679-2723 or www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. The museum is open monthly on the third Sunday from 1:00pm-4:00pm.

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

IMG_1287

CTHS volunteers Shirley Granger, Sandy Wilmot, and Marianne Pribula take a break while putting the finishing touches on the new General Store in the Museum of Local History, located in Clifford’s Community Center. The new exhibit will open to the public on Sunday February 21st, from 1:00pm-4:00pm.

A DECADE OF GIFTS FROM THE CTHS

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — As another year winds down, the holiday season is a wonder-filled time of year when folks take time to think about their blessings and the many gifts they have received over time. Here in Clifford Township, residents have been particularly blessed with some unusual but quite generous gifts … those reflected by an exciting history and a rich heritage.

Through the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS), these gifts have been continually brought to life through the many activities and events that the Society has endeavored to develop and grow since its inception during the planning of the township’s bicentennial celebration in 2006.

Recently, this writer reached out to a varied group of community members and organizations to gain their thoughts about the CTHS’ first decade and its many works. The comments received help paint a clearer picture about and give insightful life into each of this group’s projects and the people that help make things happen for the rural township they call home.

Throughout Clifford Township, history is realistically brought to life … from the initial founding of the Dugout Canoe that now ‘talks’ and literally provides a voice to the CTHS in its continually evolving Museum of Local History, to the Hoover School that reflects back to the time and stories of ye-old one-room school days. The Yarns Cider Mill at the Suracci Farm is an ongoing project of careful reconstruction, while the Agricultural Museum at the Clifford Volunteer Firemen’s Picnic Grounds will also continue to develop through the years. And the ever-growing Children’s Garden is perhaps one of the group’s livelier current projects, as its progression to date has literally brought together folks of all ages from in and around Clifford Township.

“Like all historical societies, the CTHS is the structured expression of a core group of players with a strong belief in the future of the community,” said Dr. Robert Powell, president of the Carbondale Historical Society. “Using the history and traditions of the community as a bridge to the future, the CTHS has demonstrated to the greater community that the path to the future is not only broad but accessible to all. As the CTHS has repeatedly shown, the journey down that path requires endless hours of hard work for all concerned. But it is a journey that is rewarding in a thousand ways to those who have the courage and foresight to proceed down that path. And in so doing, they bring into existence the future of the community.”

Comprised of approximately two dozen supportive and dedicated volunteers who give generously and tirelessly of their time and talents, their energy and skills, the Society looks to each of its historical projects as fun challenges to ensure Clifford’s past is indeed kept alive for future generations. One might say theirs are gifts of foresight that keep on giving.

But keeping history alive through major projects like these does not come without a cost. While volunteer time and donations in kind may be one thing, there are extensive very costly items that cannot be met without some serious funding. As a result, CTHS members have learned to apply for and write grants, through which such successful funding has helped to ensure the group’s continuance. For instance, “what the Society has been able to achieve with grant funds from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region is no less than amazing,” said Annette Schultz, executive director of the EMHR. “With projects like the garden and the cider mill, the Society has mobilized the wider community to actively participate in heritage projects, instilling pride and ownership, outstanding successes that we are thrilled to have supported.”

As Township Supervisor Barry Searle reiterates, “This historical society remains a critical partner in the plans of the Clifford Township Supervisors’ efforts to improve the quality of life for our citizens. The Society’s contributions – both as a group and individually – combine with the ‘community involvement’ fostered by spin-offs, such as the Children’s Garden and Christmas Village group, which have enhanced the livability of Clifford far beyond what was envisioned just a few years ago. Without the dedication and contributions of the Society’s members, the progress made by the township in the recent past would not have been possible. And we continue to look for additional help for the good of our citizens.”

When the CTHS was formed a short ten years ago, no one foresaw the extent of its reach or the wealth of its findings. Back then, ideas were like wishes and dreams, and hope was something that was instilled in its originators. “But the Clifford Township of today is a different, better place than it was when we all celebrated its bicentennial in 2006,” noted Sally Fischbeck, who initiated the early meetings to help prepare for the township’s 200-year celebration and co-authored the book, Clifford Township – 200 years 1806-2006. “The largest agent for change has been the CTHS. The Society grew out of the bicentennial and has kept the positive momentum of the celebration going strong. It has a physical presence in the township through the museum and its ongoing projects. It is also an energy center for future projects and grants. Countless valuable pieces of Clifford Township have been donated and saved through their collective efforts. This all ensures that future generations will be able to learn from and understand our past.”

Former CTHS director Larry Wilson shared that “the CTHS has played a very large role in encouraging pride and volunteerism in our township. Their support for historical preservation, the Community Center, and the Clifford Park has been one of the reasons that we as a community have accomplished so much in these last ten years.

With its cited mission to “collect, document, and preserve historical information and memorabilia relating to the early settlement of Clifford and the surrounding areas,” the CTHS’s gift-giving decade of successes thus far will indeed “foster in our residents an appreciation of our area’s rich history through community programs.”

To learn more about this little society that does big things, or to become as a volunteer or donor, contact the CTHS at PO Box 161, Clifford PA 184113, swilmot@echoes.net, or at www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org, or call 570-679-2723,

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

cthslogo

PHOTO CAPTION:

The Clifford Township PA logo, designed by residents Helmut and Barbara Kunst, reflects a significant part of the Township’s history: (clockwise from top): the dominance of farming from the past to present; the natural beauty of the woodland mountains, wild life and stone walls; the volunteer work exemplified by the Clifford Township Volunteer Fire Company; the importance of the community, its churches, the one-room schoolhouses, and its residents. Clifford has a long tradition of people working together to make the community a better place for all.

A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU Synchronized Musical Light Show 6 to 9 pm Dec 11 through Jan 3

A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU
Synchronized Musical Light Show
6 to 9 pm Dec 11 through Jan 3

At the Clifford Community Center
119 Cemetery Street Clifford Township 18421

Brandon Freely, Mt View senior assembled the twenty minute loop
with support from the Clifford Township Supervisors.
All are welcome to enjoy – free of charge.
A sample of the Light show is also on Cliffordpa Facebook page.
Enjoy the Season !!!
More info- Contact Twp secretary 570-222-9364 or email cliffordtownship@yahoo.com

THE ‘TALKING’ CANOE

THE ‘TALKING’ CANOE
CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — Since the initial discovery of the Mud Pond Dugout Canoe in 1976 and its eventual acquisition nearly three decades later by the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS), this particular canoe has led to some welcomed recognition for the township and its small group of resident-historians. Most significantly, the canoe itself has been primarily responsible for the development of the Museum of Local History in Clifford, which, in effect, has helped put the 41-sq.-mile rural township of nearly 2,500 residents more prominently on the map.

Add to this the fact that the canoe now talks, well, that is certainly a map maker!

With thanks to collective grants from the Bradford County Regional Arts Council, PA Partners in the Arts, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, and support from Adams Cable, funds were recently provided to essentially give a voice to the historic canoe display. “The overall display has developed into something not only very beautiful, but it’s informative and educational,” said Sandy Wilmot, CTHS President. “It authentically tells the story of the Native Americans who once lived in our area, what their lives were like, and how their being here helped lead to the development of Clifford Township.”
As Wilmot explained, “To create the effect we wanted to complete the canoe display, we needed more than signs that visitors could read. We wanted the canoe and the overall display to literally come alive. We obviously have the visual … we needed audio. The display needed sound, music, and an actual vocal presentation of what’s in the display itself. We joked that the canoe needed to ‘talk.’ Unfortunately, none of our small group has the capability to create something like this from our ideas alone.”
At her son’s suggestion, Wilmot reached out to Magdon Music in Olyphant. “These folks were wonderful!” Wilmot exclaimed. “In barely three hours, Joe Loftus and his brother, Bob, literally gave a voice to our canoe display.”

“Sandy came to us with all of her ideas. But, admittedly, creating exactly what she wanted was a bit new to us,” said Loftus, a professional musician and owner of JL Studios, located on the lower level of Magdon’s shop. “It was a trial and error learning curve for us that required a bit of research. We have the equipment, but making things work exactly to fit Sandy’s ideas required pushing the right buttons. It’s an art form, much like putting a puzzle together. Once everyone’s input was there, it all came together fairly easily.

“Sandy wanted to include Nature’s background sounds with chirping birds, a crackling fire, swooshing water, and flute music was an absolute must for her,” Loftus said with a laugh. “Added to these, she needed clear vocals to include the descriptive information. That’s where my brother came in with the voice-over. He’s a former DJ who added to a great team effort. We developed the audio tracks, edited things as Sandy listened, offering her give and take, and she left here very happy with the end results.”

As Wilmot added, “Frank Little Bear is a Native American and a friend of CTHS who has often helped us with our historical presentations. He’s also part of this audio tape, as he literally takes visitors on a journey through the display. He talks about the canoe, how it was made and used. He also talks about the clay used in local pottery, the Lenni-Lenape who gathered wood and stones for their villages, the animals who were considered sacred.

“It was absolutely amazing to me when we were all done,” Wilmot said. “We left Joe’s studio with a great sound tape, and Mike Magdon ordered and installed the equipment necessary to synchronize everything, including some special lighting effects. These fellas literally created our ‘talking canoe.’ Now visitors can push a button and listen to 20 minutes of local history that’s presented much like museums in large cities. Everyone in our society holds themselves to a set of standards for excellence in everything that we do. This tape is a very professional addition to the museum, something which Clifford can be proud to have in its town.”

When the canoe was first displayed during the 2008 Chautauqua, it held mild interest. It was an exciting find for the society itself, as well as the township’s supervisors who have helped support and sustain the CTHS and its ongoing works to develop the museum and its ever-growing collections, events, and activities that bring visitors to Clifford. But at the time, despite the especially handsome find that it is, the canoe merely sat in a room devoid of much else. When early visitors stopped by, local historians and docents talked about its surprising discovery and the history of the Native Americans that once lived in the area. To further tell its story, a beautiful mural was painted in 2011 by local artist Michelle McLain, depicting scenery that authentically reflects the canoe’s 1692 lineage. Today, the canoe now has a voice to further share its own story and the related history of Clifford and its surrounding area.

Through years of fundraising and grants whose well-written verbiage has been thoroughly researched, the society has continually added to its museum, which is located in the Community Center on Cemetery Street in Clifford. The museum (open monthly on the third Sunday from 1:00pm-4:00pm) includes memorabilia, historical artifacts, art works, and more that are all part of Clifford and its people. Additionally, the CTHS continually benefits from dedicated volunteers and citizens who share their time, many and various talents and skills, as well as their own ancestral memorabilia to help further its works and the community. “And to think … it all started with a dugout canoe that has been the key to helping open the doors to sharing Clifford’s history with others,” said Wilmot.
The CTHS was born during the planning of the township’s bi-centennial celebration in 2006. But as the CTHS has grown and earned non-profit status, the little society that does big things keeps getting bigger. For additional information about the CTHS or to share and participate in their various activities, contact them at 570-679-2723, via swilmot@echoes.net, or at www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org.

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

IMG_1146

#1 Brothers Joe and Bob Luftus at work in JL Studios, Olyphant, helped create the new audio tape for the Clifford Township Historical Society’s canoe display.
IMG_1142

#2 The Mud Pond Dugout Canoe display in the Museum of Local History in Clifford is now complete with an audio tape that presents some of the local history of Clifford and the region.

IMAGINATIONS GROW AT CLIFFORD CHILDREN’S GARDEN

IMAGINATIONS GROW AT CLIFFORD CHILDREN’S GARDEN
CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA–A very special place continues to come alive in Clifford Township. Since last spring, the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS) has been working tirelessly to raise funds, to collect designs and ideas, to build, install, and plant to literally ‘grow’ the group’s newest and most unique project: a Children’s Garden.

“It’s an ongoing and wonderful project that involves so many people,” said CTHS President Sandy Wilmot. “All summer long, everyone has been coming together so supportively to turn the Children’s Garden into a reality for Clifford. Since the beginning, lots of local children have been especially helpful and very hands-on involved to move this project forward. They’re not bashful either, as they’re always coming up with new, fun, and very imaginative ideas to make their garden extra special.”

The concept for Clifford’s Children’s Garden was initially developed to create a safe and interactiveplace for children to play and was modeled after the Ithaca Children’s Garden. Looking beyond mere swings and slides, the CTHS offered a way in which children can play while also learning about nature, the area’s own rich history, and its inherent ecology. With the enthusiastic support of the township supervisors, the one-acre site next to the Community Center has literally been growing throughout the summer months, as countless volunteers have shared their time and lent their helping hands to turn a fun-filled idea into an expressive reality. Funding for the project has been provided through grants and donations.

“The Historical Society received a $4,000 mini-grant from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region to initially help construct the garden,” Wilmot said. “It required a 100 percent cash match, which we’ve happily surpassed through the amazing donations that have generously come from so many area folks.”
“Clifford’s Children’s Garden is unusual in that it’s a different and very unique way to engage kids in fun and creative play, and all within a safe environment,” added Annette Schultz, Executive Director of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region. “And with the teaching elements of history involved to help visitors better understand the background, the people, and the lives of those who were here before us … well, that’s a definite added asset.

“I visited the Children’s Garden site a few months ago and could see the remarkable things that were happening in Clifford,” Schultz continued. “There’s so much imagination and creativity involved, it’s really amazing. But looking beyond the garden itself, this project has some great potential to become an asset to all of the four counties of our region. Over time, it could perhaps serve as a pilot for other towns throughout the region to help jumpstart new and developing ideas of their own. I can’t wait to see the garden’s completion and to help promote Clifford’s idea to other towns throughout the region.”

Working toward that completion, about a dozen children aged 2-15, along with their parents and friends, gathered on a recent fall weekend to paint the four doors of history, install sign posts, plant the 180-foot willow tunnel, hand-shovel dirt and carry unwanted sticks to a clean-up pile, erect standards for a musical mountain, create a human-sized checkerboard, hand built a giant dinosaur’s nest, and so much more. They also ‘seeded’ a self-created mine shaft that replicates the old Clifford Shaft, which was the area’s northernmost end of the anthracite coal vein. “It was an amazing work weekend,” Wilmot said. “We made great progress. The kids went home tired and dirty – it was great!!! There’s still much more to do, but seeing everyone come together like this was absolutely motivating. I hope to schedule two or three more such events before winter.”

Among some of the jobs still to be done, Wilmot said, “We need to plant several donated berry bushes, finish building the log cabin and lean-to barn, install the concrete horses, turn an old farm wagon into a covered wagon, and install a bathroom in the house. Throughout the winter, some of the older kids plan to do some of the research for the signage and story boards that will be located throughout the garden. Then in the spring, we’ll build the Indian village with its long house and sister garden. It’s definitely an ongoing project, but one that will be enjoyed and shared for generations to come.”
For additional information about the CTHS or to share and participate in the Children’s Garden and their various activities, contact them at 570-679-2723, swilmot@echoes.net or at www.cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. Known locally as “the little society that does big things,” Wilmot believes that the Children’s Garden will be another project that will make the Society, the youth involved, and the entire community proud.

Conrad, Christine, and Ava Depew of Clifford have fun gathering cornstalks to sell as a fundraiser for the Clifford Children’s Garden.

Conrad, Christine, and Ava Depew of Clifford have fun gathering cornstalks to sell as a fundraiser for the Clifford Children’s Garden.

Gage (age 4) and Ryker (age 2) Mead of Clifford busily paint the human-sized checkerboard for the Clifford Children’s Garden.
Gage (age 4) and Ryker (age 2) Mead of Clifford busily paint the human-sized checkerboard for the Clifford Children’s Garden.

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

 

A SPECIAL PLACE IS ‘GROWING’ IN CLIFFORD

PRESS RELEASE
TO: Local News Media DATE: May 10, 2015
FROM: Karen Bernhardt Toolan
For the Clifford Township
Historical l Society

clifford_childrens

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA – What could pumpkins, a dinosaur nest, and a blue stone labyrinth possibly have in common? And what part does a grape vine tunnel, four colorful doors, and a Native America long house play? Add some youth to this fun scenario, and the answer is really far less puzzling than it might seem.

“We’re building something very unique to the area,” said Shirley Granger, a retired teacher and co-coordinator of the new Children’s Garden being built by the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS). “The idea was first conceived by Sandy Wilmot, our group’s President,” said Granger. “Sandy had visited a children’s garden with her twin grandchildren in Ithaca NY and came away absolutely enthralled with the concept. It didn’t take her long to plant the seeds of her idea among the members of the township’s Park and Recreation Committee and get things rolling.” Blending Mother Nature, the area’s own rich history, and its inherent ecology, Clifford’s one-acre Children’s Garden — which will be built adjacent to the current playground and alongside Cemetery Road — promises to be more than just a local playground. “Children’s gardens are a growing trend for active community playgrounds,” Granger added. “And ours will be a very special place where children can do more than play on swings and a slide … they’ll learn too, as the garden
will offer excitement and fun in a safe, fenced-in-atmosphere that both youth and adults will find educationally enjoyable and literally enchanting.”
While Wilmot conceived and promoted her initial concept and she and Granger have countless ideas as to what to include in the garden, nearly a dozen local youth have already shared their own thoughts about the project and look forward to its construction throughout the summer. “The small-scale layout I’d presented to the Recreation Committee has served as a basis,” she said. “But during get-togethers in my kitchen, the kids themselves came up with some great ideas for planning and building the garden. The intention is that the kids take ownership of the garden … it will be theirs to help plan, paint, pull weeds, build, and enjoy for themselves and future generations.”
Elkdale’s ten-year old Tyler Keating and his sister, Isabel, 13, got involved “because this is going to be our garden, and we want to help plan what’s going to be in it,” Tyler said. “I love building things with my erector set, so working on this garden is going to be fun. My favorite part is the life-sized dominoes area that we’ll set up because we can then crash them down like I do with my erectors! I’m really excited about the music meadow, too, and the instruments made of recycled materials. We can bang on them and make lots of noise.”
“We can use our imaginations with some silly stuff too, since a lot of the garden will be made with natural materials and things we can create ourselves,” Isabel said. “My friends and I like history, most of us have grown up in this area, and there’s a lot to learn about things around us. The garden will also be a safe place for kids to play and learn, and there will be storyboards throughout the garden. Our parents and grandparents can come too. It will be good for the whole community.”
Keating’s neighbor and Wilmot’s part-time farmhand, 14-yr. old Josh Myers, said he is especially looking forward to building the long house. “Frank Little Bear will come back to continue teaching us about the Native Americans. We’ll learn how to scrape the tree bark to build the house and the surrounding camp. It won’t be just a teepee like on TV, but a real house that kids can go inside to play and learn while having fun. Frank Little Bear will be teaching us and telling stories about the times long ago.”
Among some of the many other special items planned for Clifford’s Children’s Garden will be a mini-mine shaft. “This will really be cool,” Josh added. “It will be a replica of the old Clifford Shaft, which was the area’s northernmost end of the anthracite coal vein. We plan to use actual coal like they used to dig.” The youth themselves also conceived the idea of the design’s four colorful doors, replicating entryways to the past that connect yesterday to today and lead to tomorrow. A “sister’s garden” will also be included amid the Native American Village. Helping to further make nature and history fun for everyone, corn will be planted upon which pole beans will grow, while pumpkins will sprout and grow beneath the stems and stalks, each plant helping its ‘sister’ to grow stronger and healthier.
The model of the Children’s Garden is on display at the Endless Mountains Pharmacy in Clifford. As Wilmot explained, the eventual Children’s Garden will be cost free for everyone to enjoy but funding for the project is being provided through grants and local fundraising activities. “The Historical Society is applying for a $4,000 mini-grant from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region to help construct the garden, and it will require a 100 percent match,” she said. “So, local fundraising is very important. To help toward this effort, the kids have distributed pink piggy banks throughout 11 local Clifford stores to collect donations,” Tax-deductible donations may also be sent to the Clifford Historical Society, PO Box 161, Clifford PA 18413.
For additional information about the CTHS or to share and participate in their various activities, contact them at 570-679-2723, or at www:cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. Known locally as “the little society that does big things,” CTHS Director Sandy Wilmot believes that their group’s “supporters and volunteers are the backbone of our rural Society. We’re grateful to all of them for their time, talents, and donations. Without each one, we wouldn’t be able to preserve our region’s history.”
Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

Tyler and Isabel Keating and Josh Myers

NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY COMES ALIVE IN CLIFFORD

frank_little_bearby: Karen Bernhardt Toolan

For the Clifford Township  Historical l Society

CLIFFORD TOWNSHIP PA — As the heavy tones of drums mystically blend with the lyrical flute sounds whistling through the air, music will help bring shared stories of yesteryear and local history together. On Saturday and Sunday April 11th and 12th, the Clifford Township Historical Society (CTHS) will present an all-family event: “The Native American Story of the Dugout Canoe.” The free-admission program will be held in the gym of the Museum of Local History, located in the Clifford Community Center, 119 Cemetery Street, in Clifford PA. Free refreshments – similar to those that might have been eaten by local tribes — will be served, and Native American items will also be available for sale. And at 1:00 each afternoon, families can have their photos taken with Frank Little Bear by Chrystal Photography ($2 ea.).

As told by Native American Frank Little Bear of the Cree Nation Tribe, visitors can learn the tale firsthand of how a three-century old canoe came to rest in Clifford Township, how the Native Americans of that era lived their lives, and how this area’s life has evolved since then. Beginning at 2:00pm, Little Bear will dramatically present historical stories and perform — through music, dance, costume, and inter-active narrative — the story of the canoe and the Native Americans who lived in this area long ago.

Our culture and everything in Nature is a gift,” said Little Bear. “My son, Thomas Little Thunder Eagle Dance, and I want to help everyone better understand their own local history and how life really was for all the people who shared this beautiful Earth back then. We will have authentic Native American artifacts with us, through which we’ll share real stories and explain how and why our people continue to use things like beads, wood, and rocks in our daily lives. We want visitors to see and feel the vibracity of such things that Nature gives us. And as part of Nature, we will also talk about some of the many animals – rabbits and deer, turtles, snakes and such – and how they also continue to play an important part in all our lives.”

While inspired by his own Nation’s traditions and beliefs, Little Bear’s stories will further encompass things that involve how all people live and act today. “In the end, life is all about choices,” he said. “There is good and bad in all of us throughout the world, and it’s important to understand the different cultures and various aspects of life as it has been given to us.” Through his traditions and sharing his voice to educate others, Little Bear wants visitors to “come with an open mind” to learn something new about Native Americans. Hopefully, they will take away not only something important and memorable about us, but how we and our cultures interacted yesterday and now actually come together in all our lives today.”

Frank Little Bear is a renowned lecturer of Native American culture and is also a musician and artist. He has been written about nationally and internationally, has appeared on TV and lectured on radio, and is recognized by numerous universities, colleges, and historical societies. Little Bear has also furthered his knowledge of other indigenous tribes and their ancestral spirituality throughout the US, Canada, and South America. Through his studies and devoting his ongoing life’s work to researching the histories and customs of First Nation peoples, Little Bear has dedicated himself to educating audiences on the diverse social, traditional, and contemporary lifestyles of indigenous people both past and present.

This exciting weekend-long event will also kick-off the CTHS’s newest addition to the Museum: The 10-minute voice-over by Little Bear that will be installed with the canoe display. Since the semi-sunken canoe was first discovered in Mud Pond (on private property in the far northwest corner of Clifford Township) in 1976 and donated to the Society by Jim and Valerie Cole in 2006, its quiet story has continued to be a source of curiosity, interest, and preservation to those interested in local history. The CTHS initially displayed the canoe at the Chautauqua held in the summer of 2008. And after several years of trying to discern its origin and history, the canoe found a home in the Museum of Local History. It became a major focal point of the museum when artist Michelle Jaconia McLain painted the background mural as part of its permanent display. Through McLain’s painstaking research into the Native American’s way of life, the beautifully colored mural came to depict countless parts of the Native American’s existence. And since there was no written language, and minimal evidence exists of these people from centuries ago, little is known about the actual day-to-day activities of the local Native American tribes. Through Little Bear’s presentation, he will help visitors gain a first-hand perspective and a better understanding of some of this region’s wonderful history.

The CTHS continually invites anyone with items and information of local and/or regional area historical significance to contact them at 570-679-2723, or on their newly designed website, www:cliffordtownshiphistoricalsociety.org. Known locally as “the little society that does big things,” CTHS Director Sandy Wilmot believes that their group’s “supporters and volunteers are the backbone of our rural Society. We’re grateful to all of them for their time, talents, and donations. Without each one, we wouldn’t be able to preserve our region’s history.”

Written by Union Dale freelance feature writer Karen Bernhardt Toolan for the Clifford Township Historical Society, with thanks to the Susquehanna County Room Tax Grant Fund through the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

FRANK LITTLE BEAR

frank_little_bear_and_son

FRANK LITTLE BEAR and his son THOMAS LITTLE THUNDER EAGLE DANCE