Portage Area Historical Society


Grand Reopening

After approximately 18 months of being closed, the Portage Station Museum has reopened (Wednesdays 1-4; Saturday and Sunday 1-5) with a display featuring collections and collectibles from area collectors. The Portage Area Historical Society will be celebrating the museum's Grand Reopening on Sunday, October 14th from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. You are cordially invited to attend. With the renovations, there is definitely a new look to the building.

A ramp provides access to the first floor for those unable to walk steps. New doors with large windows allow more light to enter, as dos the opening of the transom over the emergency door that had been closed in. the original copper gutter is in place at the top of the building.

Displayed are Match Box Cars made in England. Bells to Music Boxed provide a musical theme. Ashton Drake Porcelain Dolls to Teapots and miniature Tea Sets of silver add brightness to the display. Delicate etched Pink Depression Glass and items of legendary Blue Willow Ware occupy a case.  Travel around the world with carvings from many countries; view a stone, jade and onyx  African Collection, and see figurines made in Occupied Japan. Ride the rails with Bertha, Fargo, and Chief, the Cairn Railroad Sculptures made of clay by Dr. Tom Clark. Get a sneak preview of our Christmas Display with a collection of Santa Claus figures. See the kitchen, which displays household items from the 1800's through the 1900's including a drop leaf table that was "homemade" sometime between 1849 and 1861. The Ticket Master's Office contains artifacts from the Pennsylvania Railroad. All of this may be seen on the first floor.

The second floor, reached by a staircase which is well-lighted by the opening of the two boarded-up windows, contains the Mining and Allegheny Portage Railroad display. The window at the top of the stairs allows an excellent view of the railroad. When you visit the Museum, please notice the hardwood floor  discovered when the tile flooring was removed during renovations with the wood beautifully restored.  The diorama of Portage, a map of the area, is located here. There is also a library and you may sit and browse. A table and chairs have been provided.

We hope to have the case for the bottle collection built and the bottles in place for the reopening. This collection has been popular with our visitors and will be returning to the Museum thanks to the heirs of the original owner.

Our future plans are to continue showing Collectibles through January 2002. Those currently on display will be replaced in November 2001 with other objects, particularly Christmas items. Nativity Sets, Angels, Santa Claus figures, ornaments, etc. are being sought. If any of our readers have such a collection or a few of such items and would willing to have these objects displayed, please contact the Museum (814-736-9223). This display will last from November 2001 until early January 2002 when the Museum will be closed for the winter months until March. 


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"A Night on the Town"

On Friday, August 10, 2001, the Portage Area High School Gymnasium was transformed into "A Night on the Town" as the theme for one of the kick-off events for Summerfest 201, the annual Summerfest Ball. The sophistication of New York City, with its skyline and lights, was the decor of the interior decorations. There were life-sized silhouettes of dancing couples suspended from the ceiling behind lighted screens, tables were adorned with live flowers and candles, and an overhead crystal ball added a perfect touch of twinkling stars.

Music was provided by the big band sounds of the eleven-piece orchestra of Tommy Phillips. The Tommy Phillips Orchestra is well known throughout the area, attracting people from many surrounding communities. Finger foods and cookies were served in the outer lobby and soft drinks were served in the gymnasium. Many thanks to Pat Koenigsburg and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lutz for the preparation and presentation of the food.

A special thanks to Bennie Adams, chairperson of the Summerfest Ball Committee, his wife Janet, and Phyllis and Dan Wess for all of their time, effort, hard work, and long hours spent on making the Summerfest Ball a success.

Thanks, also, to all of the Summerfest Ball Committee members for their time and effort: Patricia Gardner, Vivian Kunko, Velma Madigan, Ardith Maul, Barb Prostejovsky, Marge Slanoc, Jo Steward, Nancy Troxel, and Barbara Yetsko.

The Portage Area Historical Society wishes to extend thanks to the following people who also donated their time and work to this effort.

Cookies for Dessert

Mrs. Marie Bozich
Mrs. Betty Gordon
Mrs. Patricia Adams
Mrs. Jen Feathers


Mr. Bryan Adams
Mr. Matt Pisarski
Mr. John Pollock
Mr. Cory Fuller
Mr. Paul Lutz

Set up and Tear Down

Mr. Daniel Burket
Mr. Ryan J. Adams
Mr. Thomas Gordon
Mr. Charles N. Adams
Mr. Charles J. Adams
Mr. Bryan Adams
Mr. John T. Jordon, Jr.
Mr. John Bertuzzi, Jr.
Mr. Jim Koban
Mrs. Heidi Panick
Mr. John Helsel
Mr. John Helsel, Jr.
Mr. John Havrilla
Mr. Gary Gouse, Head Football Coach
Portage Area High School Football Team
Ms. Kassie Jo Maurer
Ms. Whitney Myers
Ms. Jenn Richardson
Ms. Catherine Tremel
Ms. Nicole Panick

Assisting with the Soda Machine Problem

Mr. John Tremel

If you had a good time at Summerfest Ball, tell your friends. Let them know that they missed an enjoyable evening. Maybe we'll see them along with you next year. We urge you to attend next year's Summerfest Ball and we thank you for your past support.


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Author Visits P.A.H.S.

Chris J. Lewis was at the Portage Area Historical Society Station Museum on august 26 to read excerpts from and discuss his book entitled Two Generations on the Allegheny Mountains. The book is a true story of the Allegheny Portage Railroad and two generations of men who worked on the railroad for twenty-five years. The men, the Humphreys, were his direct ancestors. Copies of the book are available at the Museum Store.






The Portage Area Historical Society
Box 45           Portage, PA 15946
The Portage Station Museum
400 Lee Street   Portage, PA 15946
2001 The Portage Area Historical Society
All Rights Reserved











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