December 2002

Portage Area Historical Society

Happy Holidays from the Portage Area Historical Society

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSFire Escape

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSMemories

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSFrance' and Nancy

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSGenealogy Requests

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSSummerfest Ball

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSTour of Portage Churches

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSSchool Day Memories

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHS2002 Christmas House Tour

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHSChristmas Light Tour

Seasonal Best Wishes from PAHS Home

Shop for Gifts at the Museum Shop!  Memorabilia, Carved Coal, Books, Videos, Memberships, Memorial Plaque, and more. Give a gift of history from Portage.

Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS Fire Escape



We are happy to announce that we will receive a $2500 grant from the Community Foundation for the AIIeghanies toward building a fire escape. We are required to have matching funds of $2500 in order to receive the grant. Bids are being requested. We already have in hand the architect's plans, which include an observation deck for "train watching". Also, the second story door to the planned fire escape is already built.

Many thanks are due, not only to the Community Foundation Board, but also to our own John Havrilla who did such a good job on the grant application.

If any of you out there would like to contribute toward the matching funds, we will be very grateful.




Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS Memories


We thought it might be fun for our contributors and our readers to pass along some old memories. If any of you would like to write us about your memories of Portage , please, just send them along to Portage Area Historical Society, Attention: Memories Column, P.O. Box 45 , Portage PA 15946 . Following is an excerpt from a letter by former Portage resident, Jean Campbell Ziebron, presently living in Carson City , NV


"My parents married when my Dad returned to Portage from WWI. During the War my mother played the piano for the silent movies in Baird's theater. She often told me that after a movie she would stand up on the stage and sing "The Rose of No Man's Land." She was dressed as a Red Cross nurse. She would sing the ending of the song for me, as I remember, "There mid the curse stands the Red Cross Nurse, she's the rose of no man's land."




Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS France' and Nancy



We have suffered two great losses this summer with the deaths of France’ Stager and Nancy Troxel. France’ died in August, very suddenly, and Nancy died in September, after a long valiant battle with cancer. Both were generous, loving and giving people, and both were mainstays in our organization.


France's help mostly came from behind the scenes. As a member of the Stager Enterprises, she was very instrumental in their providing us with the former Pennsylvania Railroad Station where we have established the museum. She supported us in many other ways, from financial contributions and memberships to bringing us beautiful flowers to brighten up the outside of the building.

was one the hardest workers we had. She started helping set up exhibits and served as treasurer from 1994 until 2000. Nancy was our "Computer Person", and she put many records on the computer, including church (death, marriage, etc.) and cemetery records. She did all our genealogy research, and served as a docent (and chief cleaning person) at the museum. 

We miss them!






Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS Genealogy Requests


Genealogy requests should be directed to the:

Cambria County Historical Society

615 North Center Street

Ebensburg , PA 15931

Web Site:















Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS Summerfest Ball


The Summerfest Ball was held on August 9, 2002 from 9 p.m. to 12 midnight . It was held at the Portage Area Elementary Gym. Everybody danced to the big band sound of the Tommy Phillips Orchestra. The theme this year was "God Bless America ". The colors of red, white and blue abounded through the gym in all of its glory. Much of the design of the beautifully decorated gym was coordinated and assembled by Ben and Janet Adams and Dan and Phyllis Wess. Thank you for all of your, time and talent which made the Summerfest Ball a success.


The twin towers stood at the back of the gym shrouded in gray cloth and trimmed with blue lights. The structures were 2 ft wide by 16 ft tall and were a very effective facsimile. It was very touching when everybody stood and sang "God Bless America " along with the orchestra.


Finger foods, snacks and soda were served. The food was wonderfully prepared by Pat Koenigsburg and Annette and Paul Lutz! As a special treat our high school hosts and hostesses served apple pie and ice cream to everybody at their tables.


The Summerfest Ball decorating Committee once again did a wonderful job. Thanks to -Vivian Kunko, Ardith Maul, Velma Madigan, Marge Slonac, Barb Prostejovsky, Barbara Yetsko, Pat Gardner and Jo Steward.


A special thanks to Coach Grouse and the 2002 Mustang Football Team and to our Student Hosts: Jon Pollock, Cory Fuller, Matt Pisarski, Paul Lutz, Eric Skutch, Kassie Maurer, Nicole Panick, Whitney Myers, Kathryn Tremel under the direction of Toni Koenigsburg, and the school janitors.


Many thanks to these volunteers who so generously donated their time in assisting the Committee Members with the decorating and the dismantling: Ryan Adams, Charles J. Adams, Charles N. Adams, James Koban, Don Burket, Eleanor Fisher, Katy Gressick, Tom Gordon, Frank O'Shaben, Greta Thomas, Paul New, Mary Kostan, Chris McQuillen, Jean Kinley, Jane Onderko, Mark McQuillen, John Bertuzzi, and Lori Miller.


Thank you -Corporate Sponsors for your generosity:

Stager Chevrolet and Buick

1st Summit Bank

John Karduck, M.D.

Ray Oil and Gas Company

Jean H. Kinley Funeral Homes


Thank you for your contributions:

Allan Diehl

Randall Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge-Jeep Inc. 
Portage Area Women's Club

Star Printing


We hope to se you at Summerfest Ball 2003!





Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS Tour of Portage Churches


The Portage Area Historical Society will sponsor a tour of some of our local churches decorated for Christmas. The tour will begin at 6 p.m. on the evening of December 27th and the churches in the tour are: St. Joseph 's - Caldwell Ave , St. Michael's Russian Orthodox  - Blair St. , Ss. Peter and Paul Byzantine -Church St. , Trinity United Methodist -Caldwell Ave., Bethany United Methodist -Farren St., Our Lady of the Sacred Heart -Hammer St., First Lutheran -Caldwell Ave., Church of God -Hammer St. The bus will leave from the Station Museum on Lee St. at 6 p.m. We hope it will be a joyful occasion to share the various Christian traditions during the holidays. Each church visit will be 15 minutes.


Advanced tickets will be available at the Station Museum for a $3.00 donation. Tickets will also be available the evening of the tour.


Cookies and coffee will be served at St. Michael's Russian Orthodox, which will be the last stop on the church tour.

Happy Holidays!






Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS School Day Memories


In conjunction with the Portage Area School District's "Mustang Celebration of Education" under the direction of Mr. Michael Duffy, the Museum is displaying artifacts from the Portage Borough and Township Schools. There are also item from St. Joseph's and Sacred Heart Parochial Schools.


Desks, photographs, banners, trophies, etc. are being shown in the cases. One case contains writing instruments including a computer board. A replica of a Horn Book, which is an early form of textbook used in the time period of the Pilgrims and Puritans, is included.


Continuing this theme of Education, the museum Christmas Decorations are being done by Mrs. Vi Kiel. She is gathering, preparing, and arranging them. These decorations will be in place by Thanksgiving weekend.


We urge members, non-members, students, parents, visitors, etc. to visit the Museum, especially at this holiday time, to show their support for school educational programs and the museum displays.






Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS 2002 Christmas House Tour



Our annual Christmas House Tour has been steadily growing in popularity, and we have a very exciting tour planned for this Christmas season. It will be held Sunday, December 8, 2002 , starting at 4:00 p.m. and ending alt 7:00 p.m. The self-guided tour begins at the Portage Station Museum , 400 Lee Street , which will be uniquely decorated. Vi Kiel has graciously agreed to be responsible for planning the decorations. Vi has a reputation as a great decorator, and she is full of good ideas and the skills it takes to implement them. There is an eight-foot tree, recently donated by Stanley Olszewski, is decorated to harmonize with our current exhibit on educations, and honors our 2003 graduates. The other is an old-fashioned tree, to fit in with our 1930's era kitchen. When you stop at the museum you can pick up your shoe covers (to use when you go into the homes) and the brochure giving the addresses of the homes featured. You may visit the homes in any order you choose.


Tim and Debbie Kaufman are opening their 1999 Colonial ranch style home for your enjoyment. They designed and built it themselves, and are still completing the finishing touches. Tile foyer and living room boast ten-foot ceilings and the stone fireplace adds a cozy feeling. The Christmas decorations have been gathered over the years by Tim and Debbie.


Polly and Ray Vandzura's 1922 colonial Revival home has the distinction of being listed in the National Registry for Historical Buildings. The decorative plaster detail in the living room is an unforgettable feature of this classic home. The Christmas decorations, collected by the Vandzura's, are a mix of old and new, and are used harmonizing with the age of the building.


The home of the Koban Family is already famous in Portage for its outside decorations! And now Jim and Gail have agreed to share the inside of this delightful home with the tour group. Gail uses over 3500 lights outside, with two Nativity scenes. The house is a modified ranch, and extensive renovations have been made to the already classic design. The basement area was enlarged to include 2 bathrooms, walk-in closets and a playroom. A bar and built-in cabinets were added to the family room, which features a stone fireplace. Remodeling included new windows, skylights, and a sunroom that was made into an office. The kitchen and dining room were recently updated, using cherry cabinetry, modern appliances, and granite counters. The inside includes two Christmas trees, a Christmas village, and other decorations.


The final treat on our Christmas Homes list is the home of Greg, Karen, Courtney, Travis and Jeffrey Jones. Here is a poem in their own words, to tell you about their home:

Built seven out of seven

          As each brick was laid

By family, Andrew and Stanley,

          The Jones' house was made.

This house has a story.

          High in the rafters hangs

A bridge suspending the second floor

          Because Andrew made a bang.

When he opened up his car door,

          The pole was in his way,

He knocked it to the floor and said,

          "'This pole simply cannot stay."

So, come enjoy the festive decor,

          That we put up every year.

This is a true home for the holidays

          And we'd be glad to have you here.



The $5.00 tickets for the tour may be bought at the museum during regular hours Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, or the day of the tour. Come and enjoy.






Happy Holidays 2002 from the PAHS Christmas Light Tour


In keeping with our annual Christmas events the Historical Society will sponsor the light tour. For a small donation you can view our areas beautifully decorated homes. There will be treats for the children. The tour bus runs every half hour. 

Won't you join us December 14, 2002 from 6:p.m. until 9:p.m.








We hope you can join the Portage Area Historical Society in all or any one of these Christmas time tours. Bring a friend for twice the fun!




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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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