Our Town: Penns Valley

>>Welcome to the community
of Penns Valley, a collection of villages, towns, and boroughs
nestled among the mountains of Central Pennsylvania. This region, boasts a rich
agricultural heritage, a thriving art scene, and
a community calendar packed with a wide variety of
fairs and festivals. But if you ask anyone on the street they’ll
tell you it’s the people that make this region
such a great place to live because the community
of Penns Valley and its surrounding areas
exemplify the spirit of giving. Join us for WPSU’s
first regional Our Town as local residents
share everything that make their community
a great place to live. Your friends and
neighbors welcome you to our Town Penns Valley. Support for Our Town
Penns Valley comes from HealthSouth Nittany
Valley Rehabilitation Hospital providing quality post-acute
rehabilitation services after illness or injury. HealthSouth right by your side
at nittanyvalleyrehab.com. Jr’s Quality Tile and Hardwood,
2041 General Potter Highway, Centre Hall offering
complete flooring services to refresh your home and
office jrsflooring.com. The Meadows Psychiatric Clinic
offering a continuum of care that includes inpatient,
outpatient and crisis intervention along
with the community commitment to mental health awareness
and stigma reduction. Information at themeadows.net. Tamara Trunzo State
Farm insurance, 2836 Earlystown Road
offering auto, home, life and financial services. Information at 814-364-2181. Penns Valley Building Supply,
3602 Penns Valley Road, Spring Mills providing
building materials and supplies for over 25 years
PVBSonline.com. The Grange Fair proud to be part of the Penns Valley
community since 1874. Information on Facebook
and at Grangefair.com. And from viewers
like you, thank you. [ Music ]>>I’m Cyndy Engle, I’m
from Millheim, Pennsylvania and I’m here today
to talk about photos that I take around Penns Valley. I always took some pictures
of the family and everything, but in 2010 I joined a photo
group, an online photo group, where we did a picture
a day project. We started off with 60 of
us we ended up with a dozen by the end of the year. People started to ask me why
aren’t you just taking photos of this beautiful
area that you live in. So I started going and
trying to tell a story. Many people think that things
don’t change around here, it’s slower out here, everything
moves a little bit slower. But things change all the time
barns fall down, roads change, the Amish community grows. There’s a street that’s just
by us it’s called Long Lane and it comes out of town,
so there’s town shots, but then it goes by Amish farms and then it flows its
way into Penns Creek. I find that I have a lot
of different shots that are on that road just because the
seasons everything changes. There’s also another road
it’s predominantly Amish. Ahmed has farms on it,
it has a schoolhouse and so I go and do that. The thing about Penns Valley
which you have is your roads run like streams here and so around
every bend is another story, it’s another shot and it can
change with the time of day, it can change with the season
and it’s all the same shot. It can be the same
barn, but it’s — I’ve shot it 25 different
ways and it’s marvelous and it’s a surprise every time. I’ve often said that I
have to hold my breath when I take a picture,
but that’s not hard to do because your breath
is taken away. People started seeing what
I was putting on Facebook and said could you print this
for us we’ll sell it at auction to help raise money for non-profit organizations
and so this was done. Well anything from the icons of
like the round barn to events that go on because
there’s quite a few events that are here in the valley. Everybody thinks Penns Valley
they think Grange Fair, but there’s so much
more that happens here. There’s the Dutch Fall
Festival, there’s Oktoberfest, there’s Crickfest, we have
Mary Millheim at Christmastime. And that’s the other side
of Penns Valley I love to take pictures of the
mountains and streams, but there’s this community
too that comes together and this is an opportunity
for me to show the people when they come together and celebrate what
we have around us.>>I’m Jeff Frazier
I’m from Centre Hall and my topic is historic
sites of Penns Valley. Penns Valley Grandview I took that from the top
of Nittany Mountain. Supposedly that was the spot where Colonel James Potter
was the first white man to view the valley back in 1759
and came there with a companion. He turned to his
companion when he saw it because it was a lush
meadow, a beautiful place for raising livestock and
so forth at that time. He turned to his
companion and said, why heavens Thomson I’ve
discovered an empire. Old Fort Hotel was actually
an old stagecoach stop and it still stands today, the old stone building
is there today. Potter’s Fort was nearby the old
stagecoach stop and it was one of the three settler’s
forts built in the valley it was called
the Upper Fort built there by Colonel James
Potter and was used as a refuge during the
Indian work troubles in Pennsylvania Penns Valley. The Jacob Standford Cabin
is about 6 miles up the road from the location
of the Upper Fort. It was a site of an Indian
massacre back in 1758, in May of 1758 the Stanford
family was massacred there by Indians. The old log cabin still stands
today, the original log cabin. The Indian Lane Monument marks
the spot where two soldiers from the Upper Fort, Potter’s
Fort, were guarding reapers and they encountered
five Indians who were attacking the reapers. And there was a battle
hand-to-hand combat there. One of the things the early
settlers had to contend with in the old days
were the wild animals and that included mountain
lions and packs of wolves. And it was said at one time
that if a lonely traveler caught in the woods at night heard
a pack of wolves howling and to them that howl was
more frightening in some cases than the war whoop of an
Indian raiding party was back in the old days when there were
Indian wars in Pennsylvania. Boal Gap Road that’s
another site where a gentleman was
attacked by a pack of wolves. He was coming home from
Penns Valley Butchery into his one room log cabin
out there on Boal Gap Road. Wolves attacked him
and he threw pieces of sausage meat he was carrying
back to them to keep them at bay until he got home
safely to his cabin. Greenbriar Gap is a site
of a wolf encounter back in the old days and the log
cabin that’s sitting there today is still a site original
homestead that was built back in the old days there. And it’s still a wild country
people say they still hear the coyotes howling in the
mountain that night. Round Barn is just a
major tourist attraction in the valley. It was built there in
1910 by Calvin Neff, Aaron Thomas was his
master carpenter. The logs for the barn were
sawed off in the Bear Meadows and today they say that some of the sawing was
excellent examples of craftsmanship
even equal to some of the master sawing
today that you see. Woodward Cave is one of
two natural attractions in the valley that
attract a lot of people and Penns Cave is the other
natural attractions in the area, it’s what they advertise as
America’s only all water cavern. And of course, the
legend connected with Penns Cave is an old
Indian legend and it has to do with Princess Nittany for
whom Nittany Mountain is named and for whom the Penn State
Nittany Lions take their name. Penns Valley has deep
roots, a lot of the people that own land here
are descendants from original settlers that settled here,
including my family. I grew up here and I also like
to hear the old timers talk about the legends and
folktales of the area. And then when I moved out after
graduating from Penn State and settled in New Jersey I
was homesick and this was a way to stay in touch with home. I would come back and
talk to old timers and so forth it was
just fascinating to me, it still does today. It’s my roots.>>My name is Keri Miller
and I live in Spring Mills and my story is on
the Old Gregg School. The Old Gregg School
has a rich history. It started out as just
a home and it was sold and became the Gregg
Township Vocational School. It became an elementary
school and once that closed in 2006 people fought
to keep it open. Once they realized that
wasn’t going to happen a group of people came together
and formed a board to make the Old Gregg
School Community Center and they really poured
their heart and souls into making this
what it is today. This community center
is now home to many different
businesses and organizations, a lot of them non-profits. A couple of those are the
Penns Valley Youth Center, Tree Yoga of Centre County, we have a dance studio
upstairs Horizon Studios, and there is a thrift store
at the end of the hallway who has been in operation
since this changed to a community center and she
is one of our strong tenants that helps keep this
place moving. A great piece at the community
center that reminds us of what used to be
here is the artwork that lines the hallways
and the classrooms. There are different murals
painted by the students in the classrooms where the
cinderblock is the students get to paint a cinderblock of things that interests them
at that time. And so it’s neat to
kind of walk through and see what was
interesting to the kids and what they decided to paint. And we try to keep those
walls from being painted over. This community center is so
important to the community because it brings
people together. It is a hub of the community, especially to my kids
the Old Gregg School is like a second home. We’re coming down here every
day, playing at the playground, looking at books in the library. People remember going to school
here they come and tell stories and pass it on to
the next generation. And when new people move
into the community it’s great for them to have a place
to bring their kids. So the great thing about living
in Penns Valley is the sense of community that it builds. It creates a sense of family. The way the Old Gregg School
is still operational today is because everybody
gives a little bit. It really enhances what
that family is like.>>Hi I am Kurt Grotz, I’m
with the Waterhouse Studios in Aaronsburg and I’m here to
talk about the Aaronsburg Story. In 2013, I moved to Aaronsburg
and one of the main reasons that I purchased my house was
I discovered that it was right above the Salem Lutheran Church,
which I learned was the site of the Aaronsburg Story. The Aaronsburg Story started in
the late 1700’s when a gentleman by the name of Aaron Levy
donated land for a church which became the
Salem Lutheran Church. And he gave the parishioners a
very fine pewter communion set made by a top pewter maker
in the city of Philadelphia. And the long story short, in 1949 after the Holocaust
a gentleman by the name of Arthur Lewis was an
aide to Governor Duff and he was traveling
across the state and came through Aaronsburg and saw that they were celebrating
150 years of this church. And he found out about the gift
from Aaron Levy who was Jewish to the Christians and
thought the story was so great that the state should
join in the celebration. They ended up having
a remarkable event at the fields next to the Salem
Lutheran Church in Aaronsburg. A large mass of people descended
on the town of Aaronsburg, politically speaking it
was a mixture of Democrats and Republicans, but everybody
was there on the same page to talk about tolerance
and religious freedom. There were three main workshops. One of them dealt with
religious tolerance in America. One of them dealt with
racial equality among people. One of them dealt with
prejudice, how you identify it and how you deal with
people that are prejudice. It was 10 years before
Rosa Parks and 15 years before
Martin Luther King and it was just an amazing, amazing event right
here in the valley. There’s markers around
that keep the story alive. We’re planning to have
some sort of recreation or a concert or an
event in 2019. My plan actually is to
turn my house and property into a retreat, a peace retreat. We’re really looking forward
to this story being a catalyst for further discussions and
activities along those lines.>>My name is Bonnie
DeBrasky and I from Aaronsburg and my story is about
making donuts at the St. Peter’s
United Church of Christ. We do it every year. As I understand back in
1939 a group of women from the church started
making donuts to raise money, it was a fundraiser to raise
money to keep the church going. It went until 1989 and then
they didn’t have enough people in the church to do it and
then in 1996 they started it up again and it’s still going. A lot of people in
Aaronsburg were Germans. They started this because
they had old potatoes left from the year before, so
they started making donuts with these potatoes and
it was called a fasnacht. The usually made
them Shrove Tuesday, which is the Tuesday
before Ash Wednesday and Ash Wednesday is
the start of Lent. We get our ingredients donated
and it’s quite a process. We make about 24 to 27 batches,
which makes 4 dozen a batch and we make the whole
donuts and the donut holes. We have probably 10,
12 people that help us. We have people that take
off from work and help us. People do expect them. We have a big donut sign that we
put out along the road and a lot of people will stop in and say
oh I’m glad you put your donut sign out because I didn’t know
you were making them today, so it really is a nice
fundraiser for us to do. It’s a community and a family
tradition in Aaronsburg. My mother was a big start of it
in 1996, she really got involved with it because she
went to church forever. And as my sisters and I
grew up we also got involved and I’ve been doing it for
a long time and I enjoy it.>>I’m Fred Johnson
from Rebersburg and my story is dowsing, which I
learned to do 20 plus years ago. Dowsing is finding
something with a stick. The gentleman that I
was with that taught me to do it was Randall Stover, he did well over 100
wells for people. There’s only four that he knows
of that ever went with him that could do it and
I’m one of the four. The stick that I use
is just an apple stick, it’s a wide stick off of a
tree, one of my apple trees. But amazingly, the stick will
show you where the water is, it’ll point out the
sides of the aquifer, it will tell you how
deep down the source is, and how many gallon per minute. I don’t know how it works,
I don’t know why it works, it’s a mystery to me,
but I do know it works. What you need to do is if I
may show you hold the stick and put it in what they
call a cocked position and then you ask the question and I’m sure the
stick doesn’t know, but for some reason it’ll bend
when you want — it’ll go down. But I also found that you can do
many other things with the stick and the one I did was dowsing
for remains in the graveyards. You would tell the stick
to find the remains of the person you
are looking for. Then you begin to turn in
a circle, 360 degree circle and it’ll usually most of the time will point
in a direction to go. Then I try to walk that distance
or approximately reset the stick and ask it all over again until
I come to the grave itself. I’ve spent time with the
Pennsylvania State Police finding bodies of people
who have long been gone. I’m just glad to help them out. I always use apple. I have an orchard with
approximately 15 apple trees and I’m the only orchard in
Rebersburg that have apple trees that do not have a Y
crotch in them anymore because I usually take
four of five sticks with me when I go to dowse. When I moved to Penns
Valley in 1966 I got a job at the Penns Valley High School as a history teacher
in the high school. It was almost like family. The whole community is
like a giant family. The faculty at the high
school was fantastic and I just have no
desire to leave. There was no better place
as far as I was concerned.>>Hi, my name is Patrick Smith,
I’m a resident of Centre Hall and I’ve been asked
to talk a little about Centre Hall’s
annual town-wide yard sale. It was the idea of a small
group of business owners in Centre Hall who were looking
for an idea to get people to come into town,
generate some foot traffic, maybe help support
local businesses. In their discussions they
noticed that there were a lot of individual yard sales
all throughout the summer. And they hit upon the
idea of what would happen if we invited everybody to
participate on one weekend and it has grown immensely. It is a Friday and a
Saturday, there are thousands of people now that come
through Centre Hall. It is truly a tribute
to the idea that one person’s trash is
another person’s treasure. You will find all
manner of things. If you have small
children and you’re looking for gently loved and used toys. If you’re looking for
clothing for children. It’s a great opportunity
to find things that can be reused and recycled. In fact, I know some parents
who claim they do the majority of their Christmas shopping
during Centre Hall’s town-wide yard sale. It’s also expanded
now you find antiques. One of the best things
that I see happening at the Centre Hall yard sale
is when somebody is looking at something and saying tell
me what this is or tell me where you found this and you
get a little bit of history, a little bit of back
story on well that came down through my family and I don’t have
anybody to pass it on to. And you come across
some of the oddest stuff and the oddest stories, but
the stories are great to hear. It’s also become a fabulous
opportunity for community groups and organizations to
make a little money. So you’ll find that a
number of the churches in Centre Hall during yard
sale days they’re doing burgers and hotdogs and selling
food and cold drinks. It’s a great fundraiser
for the fire company. The food and beverages that
they sell accommodate a pretty significant portion of
the money that they raise to help support obviously
new equipment purchases and training and
things like that. I’m a small-town guy I
like the idea of being able to take a walk late in
the evening with a friend or even alone and the
folks that are sitting on the front porch are the ones
that will wave and say hello. It’s a great place to live, the valley as a whole
is a beautiful, beautiful scenic place to live
and the people are friendly and everybody gets along
and has a good time.>>My name is Lyn Garling and I
live in Rebersburg, Pennsylvania and my story is about
agriculture in Penns and Brush Valley. Here in Penns Valley we
have kind of a sweet spot for agriculture in the sense that we have an incredibly
diverse community. Both of types of farmers, age
of farmers, the plane community, the so-called English community,
older farmers, younger farmers, you just don’t find
that everywhere. And it’s everything from
apples to zucchinis, from sheep to goats
to pigs to cows. A lot of small family farms
and some bigger commodity farms and somehow they
all work together. So we have this incredible
community that includes all
this knowledge. It’s hard to go someplace
and find people that know how to
do all this stuff. Also all the small farms no
matter what type they are know each other and help each other. So that’s an interesting thing
too you get to know a lot of interesting people who do
different types of farming and you can learn from them. For us our own small
farm we feel like we’re in the perfect place
because we’ve got welders, we’ve got auctions nearby
if we need to sell stuff, we’ve got farmers markets, we’ve
got, you know, direct market with our customers, we have
like people that know how to fix our tractor
because I don’t. In our area in Penns
Valley we have organizations that support farming, so we have
Pennsylvania Certified Organic, we have PASA Pennsylvania
Association for Sustainable Ag. We have Penn State. For me Penns Valley is a
fabulous place to live. I came here with no
intention of staying here. I didn’t come here with
the idea of farming, but once I saw the
opportunities available here, then I actually started
my own small farm which was pretty exciting. There’s so many interesting
people, there’s so many people that have unassuming,
but deep level of skills. You’ve got the best
of both worlds, the town life and
the country life. So for me it’s really
just the perfect spot. Everything you could
want is here.>>I’m Elody Gyekis, I live in
Penns Valley and my story is about the arts community
in Penns Valley. Millheim is a really small town
with just one traffic light and a really small population, but it’s in a very unexpected
way there are many amazing things there. There’s a fine art
gallery, the Elk Creek Cafe, which is a microbrewery
and restaurant and a live music venue. And other things that
you would expect to find in a much more urban area. So there’s a really high ratio
of talented people, artists and musicians there, especially
considering how rural it is. It’s a really amazing place. My art practice involves my
fine art and community art. I have a studio in the upstairs
of the Green Drake Gallery in Millheim and that’s where
I do most of my own work. I do a lot of different
kinds of work, mostly figurative
and landscape work. I love working with
portraits and people. I also like doing plein air
painting Penns Valley is an incredibly beautiful place,
so a lot of opportunities for working outside
rather than in a studio. I also do a lot of community
mural projects and other kinds of community art projects. I’ve been doing community
mural projects since I was 18. The Millheim project
was very special to me because I took this idea
of working with community and talking with community
members about what the identity of a place is and translating
that into a big mural project. And I also make the mural to
be entirely paint by number and have lots and lots of
people involved in helping to create the mural itself. And I took that into
my own community so it was really special. The Green Drake Gallery is the
fine art gallery that’s located in Millheim. Karl Leitzel it was
his brainchild and he is the energy
that runs it.>>Having grown up here I
know the valley very well and being outdoors oriented
know the wildlife very well. Those are some of the
many subjects I paint. I think artist just
like a writer does best when they paint what
they know best. So I concentrate
on those things. I’ve lived here so long I
know almost every little nook and cranny of the valley and
so I kind of have an idea when I see a beautiful sunset for instance I have an
idea well we need to shoot over to this place or that
place to get some photos to work from if that’s what
I’m going to do.>>They have a lot of incredible
artists, regional, local, national, international. We have poetry readings, music
events, all kinds of things, it’s a really amazing space. Right now I’m just
finishing up the Book Benches of Centre County Project there
are fiberglass sculptures of books in the shape of
benches that you can sit on that can be painted
and there’s 25 of them and they’re going all
over Centre County. In addition to the professional like individual artist painted
benches I did several community painted benches that
were on some of those community generated
themes, but I made paint by number like the murals. Penns Valley is a
really incredible place because despite being so rural
it has incredible culture, but the benefit of having all
that culture in a rural place is that it’s just stunningly
beautiful every day driving around you just see
incredibly beautiful landscapes. So it’s the perfect marriage
of culture and nature.>>Hi, I’m Jeff Wert
and I’m here to talk about the Civil War monument
in Rebersburg, Pennsylvania. The monument on the main
street in Rebersburg, which was my hometown was just
put there during the depression. It was hard to believe
that people of the area, Penns Valley area would raise
over $400 to honor the men who on August the 25th,
1862, stood in the streets of Rebersburg and were sworn into service with
the Union Army. If a man signed up to
serve he would be paid $50 and that money was not from
Centre County government that was from wealthy
individuals who agreed to donate that money to get
these men to enlist. And a company generally
consists of about 100 men, 103 if you count officers. Centre County will
end up in the month of August raise seven companies and it becomes 148th
Pennsylvania volunteers. It’s known as the
Centre County Regiment. There is a small stone there. That stone was there in 1862. In fact, the recruiting
officer from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania his name was
Lieutenant George Fetterman he came up and he stood on that
stone to swear the men in. He rode into town that morning,
he’s in uniform, patriotism is at a high pitch and I’m assuming
he got a lot of free drinks. By the time the ceremony
came and this would’ve — we’re not sure, but somewhere
around 1 p.m. They told him to stand on the stone. He stood on the stone
and fell off. They got him and they
asked him again to stand on the stone and he fell off. So two men from the audience
came up that weren’t being sworn in and they held him on
the stone and he sort of mumbled some kind
of oath of allegiance, which he was supposed
to give to the men. It’s granite stone, I don’t
think it’s quite 6 foot high. And then the front of
it is a bronze plate that covers the whole monument
and it all the names of the men of the 85 men who were
there plus the men who would eventually go
in to service later on and join the Regiment. The men who came were from all
the towns from Centre Hall, Spring Mills, Aaronsburg,
Millheim, Madisonburg, Livonia, Woodward. If you go through the names
you have Bierly, Wolf, Potter, Spangler, Stover, Gilbert
they’re still here, you know, they’re still in the
Penn Valley area. I’m a descendant of a couple
of the men who stood there and they were my
great-great uncles. My family, my wife’s family have
been in the Penns Valley area for at least 200 years. So I don’t know whether we’re
too stubborn or other things not to move away, but I think
you see that with the men who stood there that
day in Rebersburg. Their direct descendants
are still here, it’s just one of those places.>>Hi, my name is Jim
Zubler and my feature is on the Penns Valley
Conservation Association. The Penns Valley Conservation
Association began back in 91. Since then we have diversified
and broadened our scope and really made a true
impression in the valley. The Penns Valley
Conservation Association looks at the upper Penns
Creek watershed. It basically spans
all of Penns Valley. We attempt to do a number of
conservation practices on farms and landowners that share
that passion as well. We look at all types
of landforms, wetlands, we worked with a number of landowners throughout
the valley. Worked with them on best
management practices like installing mud
sill or log veins. We also look at cattle
crossings. Sometimes you’ll see tree tubes. Chances are we had some
influence with that landowner or that property owner as well. We’ve employed an
environmental educator in the Penns Valley
school district since 2002, so our students are
leaving Penns Valley with a much higher level of
education in the environment. It’s all about environmental
quality. Penns Valley Conservation
Association is also involved with highway cleanup, a
spring cleanup, we’re involved with the river songs event to welcome the opening
of trout season. Crickfest is a major event which is held the
Sunday before Labor Day. We’ve had a whole influence with the Millheim
farmers market working with the Penns Valley
Learning Garden. And we’re also launching
a community radio station and that’s coming up very
soon and that’ll be WSOB. I grew up on a farm right
near Heckman Cemetery. The passion I have for the
valley is because it’s home and because of the
people that have made it and continue to make it special. There’s a saying that what you
see now may not necessarily be there in 10 or 20
years without planning. So those types of institutions
that you want to see you need to be able to support, you need
to be able to put, you know, some things forward
that make a difference.>>My name is Agnes Homan, I
live at Old Fort in Centre Hall and my story is about arrowheads that my husband found
in the farm. My husband and I have
lived there since 51, so he farmed the
land for 50 years. He was always looking
for arrowheads and then in the spring of the year
is when you look for them when the ground is turned
over and when you’re plowing or harrowing and he would
come in at noon time and have something in
his hand and of course, he found another arrowhead. He just found them. I mean we weren’t history
buffs he just found them and of course, everyone he
found we’d bring in and wash off and put in our little bucket. We have four frames
and we have many more. We just found them we really
didn’t know anything about them. We had an archaeologist at
our farm several years ago and he knew more about them, but we have one that’s
3,000 to 1,000 BC. They all look nice. You can tell some of them
the points are broken off, so they probably got
something with that one. I often wonder what animal
that they got with it because well they would’ve had
deer and bear and groundhogs. It took a while to make
an arrowhead you can tell that because each side
is a little bit different from the other side. I’ve always lived there. I was born where I live now. I really never have
lived any other place but in Centre Hall vicinity. When I was a child every farm
had just the house and barn. Now it’s kind of growing, but
it still has the country feeling to it I think it’s a
good place to live.>>My name is James
Lesher and I’m here to talk about the Rhoneymeade
Arboretum & Sculpture Garden. It’s a 6-acre garden situated on the historical
farmstead of Leonard Rome. He was very active in the
betterment of farm families, particularly in this area
and across the state. He was involved in the
Grange at the local level, the county level, the state
level and the national. And within that 6-acre
garden we have cited about 26 sculptures
on the grounds. It became a sculpture garden when the recently deceased
owner, Richard Morgan, in 1984 moved there, bought
the house, fixed it up. He asked his friends
about sculpture gardens, which were becoming en vogue at
that time and he said can I do that and they said
well sure you can. And so one by one he
acquired sculptures. His first sculpture I think he
acquired was from a sculptor who exhibited at the
arts fest downtown. So you can see the
effects that the arts and culture have in that way. My favorite one is actually
a deaccession sculpture from Penn State University, it’s
called Grupo Uno, it’s a bronze of a couple figures
cascading over each other. We just this year
initiated a volunteer program and they have helped us do a
considerable amount of work. Some people from Penns
Valley and some people in from State College and
Lemont anything from weeding to watering to planting to
maintaining, trimming trees, the works, it’s never boring and
it’s never the same each week. Right now it’s Sundays
we open it to the public, but we have memberships. In particular we started
an artist pass membership where artists who like to paint
outside can come on the grounds. We bring in camps now which is
a great new use of the place and anybody who wants to set
up an appointment can come. We hope to eventually
go to full weekends and then five days a
week, but it’s a process.>>My name is Mary Kay
Williams and I’m here to talk about some awesome preservation
efforts that my husband Greg and I have made in Penns
Valley over the years. We moved here in 1990 and when
we moved we found a real diamond in the rough, the Cooke Tavern. It is a wonderful
historic property. When we bought it, it
was really in bad shape. We had some contractors
work with us and they really thought we
should just tear the place down, but we really felt that
Penns Valley deserved better than that. We restored the property and
we named it after James Cooke who built the property in 1808. After we were done with that,
we decided to put a barn up. And we did an Amish
barn raising. That’s another thing
we’re really lucky here in Penns Valley is to
have the Amish community because they also do
a lot of restoration. They do a lot of preservation. My husband has a business
there Cooke Tavern Soups and we also do weddings
and events there as well. We also have property
that is on Penns Creek. We turned it back
into a wetlands where we do environmental
education and community members
come in to do birdwatching and we do a lot of
education efforts. Penns Valley has a lot
of wonderful people here and wonderful community members
and there’s been an influx of people from other
communities. We really believe that
that helps the valley and that it helps create that
renaissance, that newness because when you’re from other
areas you realize the great things that we have here. We feel really fortunate I think
to have this influx of people from other communities
to join together with the great community
members that are already here. We really feel like we’ve
made our part of Penns Valley which is in Penn Hall, a little
bit outside of Spring Mills that it’s our town, our place by
really making it a special place for not just us, but for many
of the community members.>>My name’s Kevin Sims
and I’m the president of the Aaronsburg Civic Club and
that’s what I’m here for today. The civic club, which I’ve
only been a member of for about a year and a half,
but it goes back to 1944. It was formed by the
end of World War II and it was just a group of
community leaders who wanted to just have an organization
that was there to help residents and sort of preserve like
a good communal spirit. Eventually they bought the
Aaronsburg school which has since that time been the
Aaronsburg community building. And then they bought
a piece of land that is now Don Wert
Memorial Park. They’ve maintained that and
used that for various festivals and events and also make it
available for public use. One of the biggest
things they’ve doing for the last several years
is the Dutch Fall Festival, which has been happening
since 1976. It’s the civic club’s
biggest fundraiser, but it’s also really
the big festival that happens in Aaronsburg. There’s a lot of food,
but it’s food made like in big iron kettles like
apple butter and ham bean soup, scrapple and then
there’s sticky buns and apple dumplings
and things like that. So that sort of focuses on the early Dutch
heritage of the area. It draws a lot of tourists
from outside the area, but also really serves
as a big sort of community celebration
as well. In addition to maintaining the
Aaronsburg community building and the park in recent
years we’ve started to offer some programming there. So we do some educational
programs after school class, cooking class, we do like a
soup kitchen in the winter. The community building, the old
school, has a commercial kitchen in it, so that’s available
for people to rent. But then we also
hold dinners there. That’s where the cooking classes
happen and things like that. And there’s a big event
space that people also rent. I moved to Aaronsburg
two and a half years ago, so I haven’t been
here for very long, but I think it’s a
very beautiful town. I like the town, I think it
has like sort of a nice spirit. Getting involved
straight into something like the civic club makes you
feel that inclusive feeling. I think if you just move
into a new place and stay in your house it’s
hard to feel included. So I thought it was very
special to arrive there and see oh here’s this group
of people who live here who are meeting there and
then through that I’ve gotten to know a lot of people
and not just know them, but work together on projects. And yeah, I made some
good friends that way, so it makes it a
pretty good place to be.>>I’m Tim Stecko, I’m a
volunteer at the Millheim Pool and Soldier and Sailor’s
Park and I’m here to tell you about what we think is a real
gem of a resource in the valley. I got involved with the pool when my daughter got
involved with swimming. She was about eight
when she got started, she swam for about four years. And when I was there I just
saw that the park had needs and being a very type A
antsy person that can’t sit around I just started
asking what can I do. Can I clean this
up, can I do that? And that just sort of blossomed
into some bigger and greater — more great involvement,
helping with the Millheim Tri. Working with the Lions Club who manage the property
outside the fence that we call the pool
part of the park. My daughter no longer swims,
but I have a healthy team of volunteers of parents who do
have children on the swim team. Some of them are also just
citizens that live in Millheim. There’s days when I might
have 15 to 20 people helping with getting the pool
repaired and up and running. And this is all volunteer. The triathlon, we
must be in our sixth or seventh year of
the triathlon. It brings in 10 $12,000, maybe
a little more weather dependent. All the proceeds that we now
get during the triathlon all of it goes right
back into the pool. It’s all volunteer labor helping
us, every dime that gets spent for the registration fees and
contributions and sponsors that all goes into managing
and maintaining your pool. The athletes come from
more than just Millheim, from more than just
Centre county they come from out of states. They really like this triathlon. Some of the best
compliments we had about it was they
said it was one of the more energetic
nicely run small triathlons. But I think it’s that
small size that kind of captures the Penns
Valley feel that we have. It’s a small community, but we’re an energetic
little community. And numerous athletes mention
how they think we have one of the nicest cycling
courses in triathlons that they’ve ever been to. I’ve lived in the valley since
1990 and it’s to the point now where you got to really take
time to count the years. The sense of community
you can feel it if you come out to the park. It’s meeting your
fellow community members. The first time I signed up for
the sand volleyball league. I’ve seen the faces around town,
but I didn’t know their names. So then you finally
get to meet them and they bring their children out to the park while they’re
playing sand volleyball. Everybody’s running around, your children are now
mingling with each other. In fact, my daughter met her
best friend out at the park and if it wasn’t for the park
it would have been a best friend never met, never made and
wouldn’t have it to this day. So it’s a place where
you can make friendships that can last a lifetime.>>My name is Debra Heller
and I live in Spring Mills and I’m here to talk
about the farmer’s market. On Saturday mornings I get up
and I go out there and I check out all the different vegetables
and the different farmers. They know me all by name. Farmers are so warm
and kind and generous. They set this whole thing
up it’s like a table for the whole community and
it’s just such a treasure. And the food is amazing. We’ve got organically
grown vegetables. There’s cheeses and meats,
there’s free range beef, pork, chicken, we’ve got breads
and there is somebody there who always has different kinds
of hot foods and cold foods and there’s cookies
and pies and quiches. You could just eat right there. It’s very social,
there’s a lot of people that visit and catch up. It’s not a huge market,
there’s not tons of people there and tons of vendors, but everything you need
is there, it’s there. After the market I come home
and I go oh my gosh look at all this stuff, but everything is so
crunchy and fresh. There’s nothing like that
food, it’s heaven and a half. I was born in Pennsylvania,
but I grew up in the suburbs of Long Island and people
don’t know each other, people don’t connect with each
other not the way they do here. I love that people are still
living on a human level. People connect with each other. People take the time to visit. If I go to Burkholder’s it’s a
visiting time too, I mean I got to make sure I’ve got
enough time to get my food and to have time to listen to
anybody who may need some care. So it’s a beautiful place to be.>>I’m Bill Markle,
Spring Mills, Pennsylvania. I’m here to talk about
the Nittany Antique Machinery Association. The Nittany Antique Machinery
Association is a group of people that own old tractors
and equipment and we get together twice a year
to display the equipment and put on demonstrations and so on. Well it actually got
started back in 1975. My dad, Richard Markle, and Russell Mark met
somewhere at a similar show. They got to talking and they
said do you think we could start something like this in
central Pennsylvania. They did actually get a show
going the fall of that year, even though it was small it
was a pretty good success. They decided to have
a spring show too. The thing kind of
ballooned from there. The spring show first they
called it the Spring Gas Off just to get the equipment out of
storage and back in operation. We have a sawmill
running and a cider press and make apple butter
and of course, a large flea market also. The other show is the fall show. It’s the weekend
following Labor Day. Those same things that are at the spring show plus we
have thrashing and baling, thrashing wheat and
bailing the straw. We usually get about six
or eight steam engines, the steam traction engines
there were forerunner to the farm tractors. And then we have a lot of
gas powered farm tractors. At especially the fall show
we probably get upwards of 10,000 people that attend. It’s a nostalgia
thing mostly I think. A lot of people grew
up on the farm you know and they know how things
were done years ago and it just brings back memories when they see the
thing in operation. I like Penns Valley,
it’s a beautiful place to live, it’s nice and quiet. Now it’s primarily
a farm community. It’s just beautiful countryside,
just a nice place to live.>>I’m Keith Bierly, I
currently live in Centre Hall, but I grew up in
Rebersburg, Pennsylvania and my story would be about
how great it was growing up in Rebersburg. The kind of community it
was then and is today. The definitive history of Centre
County was written by Linn and it lists my
great-great-great-great grandfather, Anthony Bierly, as driving the first
wagon into Brush Valley. So he come into the Rebersburg
area, laid the town literally and it was originally
called Bierlyville. Built the first school,
first tavern, first church. That was 1791, 225 years ago. So my family history
goes back literally to the start of Rebersburg. But I was born and raised there, played Little League
baseball there, my father was the
postmaster there, my mother was a clerk
in the post office. It was the kind of community
that you just loved to grow up in, you had that
sense of security. In many ways it’s
the same in the sense that Hettinger’s Grocery
Store is still there, it’s been there for
60 or 70 years. The fire company is still vital. The three churches
are still there and the elementary
school is still there. There have been changes, but I think in some ways
we’re on the way back. Some of us have tried to
establish new businesses there and try and get the town coming
along the lines that Millheim. The kind of experience
and progress that they’ve experienced. There are new younger families
moving in and we hope that more of them come to Rebersburg
because it’s a great place to raise your children. Christine Wolf is a lifelong
resident of Rebersburg, she worked for the bank
that was in Rebersburg, now works for a bank
in Spring Mills.>>We do have three churches within our small community
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, St. Peter’s United
Church of Christ, and also Emmanuel
United Methodist Church where I am currently a member. During the time that I’ve been
in the community I have attended or been a member of
all three churches, which is rather unusual.>>Vicky Welshans
is a young mother of four children all whom have
attended the Miles Township Rebersburg Elementary School.>>The painting here
was wonderful. He moved in not knowing anyone and within the years it
was just like family. And the neighbors
were just so close.>>Eric Miller is
a long time chief of the Miles Township
Fire Company.>>We provide a lot of service
obviously to the public. We have 62 active members, 14 of
them are in the Amish community. We strictly rely
on the community for their support
with fundraisers.>>Mary Hettinger
worked for Richard Mann in his grocery store for years and then purchased the
store I believe in the 70’s.>>So we bought the store and it’s been a family
business ever since then. And the reason I don’t retire
I don’t know what I would do.>>It always comes
back to the people. I mean Rebersburg
it’s about the people, it’s about the longstanding
families that have lived there, have raised families there. I know when I was
growing up the people that were my oldest
brother’s age have gone on to become doctors, attorneys,
university vice presidents, accountants, teachers,
ministers, very important people in the community and that’s the
kind of people that have come out of Rebersburg and
hopefully will come out of Rebersburg in the future.>>My name is Betsy Forsythe
and I grew up in Millheim and my story today is about
the East Penns Valley Library. The library was first started
in 1968 and it would open in Aaronsburg in a church
that was built in the 1860’s. When it first opened it was
an all-volunteer library and then they merged
with Centre County. And then in the late 1990’s
Centre County had a lot of budget cuts and
unfortunately we were cut from the Centre County
Library funding. When we were thinking about keeping the library open
we did have a community meeting and we felt that the
community was behind us enough to keep it running. So since 2013, we have been an
all-volunteer run library again. When you would first walk into the library you would see a
rather large collection of books for a small town library. It has an old school feeling
because it was an old school at one time, which was actually
my fifth grade classroom that the library is in. It’s important to have a library
in I think a lot of communities for education purposes. A lot of people come
out and use the internet that don’t have internet. Not everyone does have a
computer in their house and in Penns Valley sometimes
it’s hard to get internet. So they can come in they can
fill out job applications, students can come do research, and a lot of people
still like to read. That’s an art that
will never go away. Penns Valley is a hometown,
everybody knows everybody. When you walk into a
restaurant you’re going to know someone else
that’s in there. You’re going to know the
waiter or the waitress. If you walk down the
street everyone says hello. Growing up in Millheim
my father had a business in downtown Millheim and
people still refer to me as doc’s daughter
and that was — he’s been gone since
1976, it’s hometown.>>My name is Kay Gray, I
live in Millheim Pennsylvania and I’m going to be talking about the Penns Valley
Area Historical Museum. The mission of the Penns Valley
Museum is to discover, collect, preserve, and display
artifacts and any history of the Penns Valley area. The museum itself
consists of four buildings. The main building is called
the Rudy-Corman Building and two floors of that
are full of exhibits. There’s a very extensive
genealogy library and then another building is
called the Craftsman Building and in that building
we have a country store and post office exhibit. And we have a carriage house and in the carriage house
there’s a very extensive antique tool collection and
then there’s a barn and in the barn we
house larger items, such as there’s a hand-drawn
fire truck in there, there’s old church
bells in there, there’s old farm
equipment in there. The Aaronsburg Story is one
of our permanent exhibits. We want to commemorate the
memory of the Aaronsburg Story because that’s what
Aaronsburg is known for. We have all kinds of
mementos from the story. There’s lots of programs,
loads of pictures. We have some costumes. The other thing it’s not from
the story, but it’s related to Aaronsburg that
we’re very proud and we just recently acquired it
is in 1786, a map of Aaronsburg, it’s the original map, it’s on
parchment and it’s hand written and signed by Erin Levy. And Erin Levy was the
founder of Aaronsburg. I wasn’t born and raised in
Penns Valley, so when we moved to Penns Valley I
found the people to be, you know, very friendly. Volunteering, you know,
through the museum I met a lot of wonderful people and
just feel more involved in the community and
it’s a beautiful country. It’s a very relaxing nice
place to raise children and a good school system. And so I’m very high
on Penns Valley.>>Hi, I’m Jim Pierce
and I’m here to talk about the Learning Garden at
the Millheim farmers market. It’s a very good idea
that started in about 2010 and I’ll start by telling
you what our mission is which is growing food, sharing
skills, building community. There are 13 beds
of annual plants and we sponsor those beds. So I’ve got one and, you
know, anybody can sign up and take over one of the beds. We sort of coordinate
what we want to grow, but then it’s mostly try
stuff out and see what works and learn from each other. A lot of what we try to do
is promote the farmers market so more people come. So we put on demonstrations
and, you know, we walk through the herb garden
and permaculture demonstration and show how our
irrigation system works. We’ll do cooking demonstrations,
we set up a little table at the market, but it mostly
says come out into the garden and look around and
ask questions. Right now we’ve got
a pumpkin patch going that the kids planted early in
the season and then the kids of course get to harvest in
the fall and carve pumpkins and taste foods and herbs that they’ve never tasted
and things like that. I like to come up on Saturday
mornings and set up the table and meet all the people. Always, always there’s somebody
with, especially with kids that clicks into that
sense of discovery and that never gets old. Typically Thursday afternoons
this year the gardeners come out and it’s like our little garden
party and we weed and water and transplant and share stories
and that’s very informal, it’s just always a good time. Community I’m thinking
you’re going to find from all of these interviews is
something that makes this end of Penns Valley a
very special place. I’m not from Penns
Valley we transferred here about five years ago, but
the Conservation Association and the Learning Garden
were two of the things that pulled us in quite quickly. This has certainly become our
home and it’s the community that his made it home.>>Hi my name is Scott
Mitchell and I’m here to talk about the Penns Valley YMCA. I’m the chief operating officer
so I handle the operations for YMCA Centre County. We have four buildings
across the county. The YMCA of Centre County really
wanted to provide services in the Penns Valley area. In 2009, when we decided to
merge the State College YMCA and the Moshannon YMCA one of
the motivating factors to do that was to be able
to share resources that we can provide better
service to our service area in the Penns Valley area. Seven months ago we were
able to open a facility in the Penns Valley community. Penns Valley specifically
is more of a community center,
program center. We do have a fitness center
with wellness opportunities. We have spaces for cycling
and different classes. We also offer before
and after school care. And we also offer all kinds
of social opportunities. We try to focus on gathering
seniors, gathering kids, just gathering families and
trying to promote you know that that type of
experience in the community. The response from the
community has been great, I mean Penns Valley is really
an outstanding community. We owe a lot to a Chris Coons
who was very instrumental in getting a YMCA
facility in Penns Valley. Our goal is really
to just try to fit into an already great
established community. It’s very tight knit, it’s
a very proud community. It’s truly a throwback
when I say like if you need help someone
will be there to help you. You know, it’s kind of the old
you know go to your neighbor for some sugar or flour
type of community, but they are incredibly proud,
they are incredibly tightknit. And we are thankful that they’ve
kind of opened their arms and allowed us to come in
because really our goal is to try to figure out
how can we fit in here, it’s already an amazing
community. What can we do to fit in here and help make it even
better if possible?>>Hi, I’m Jimmy Brown and I’m
the Facebook page administrator of the Penns Valley Area
Historical Museum and I’m here to talk about the Civil War. I am a Civil War reenactor
and I’ve been reenacting since I was three weeks
old, so for 22 years. I’m a corporal, a
gunner and company clerk of a local civil war
artillery reenactment unit in Hamptons Battery F and I like
to incorporate the Civil War with the museum’s projects. A lot of veterans from Penns
Valley fought in the Civil War, including the 148th Pennsylvania
Volunteers Infantry. We have done a Civil War
display at the museum and we did incorporate some 148
Pennsylvania Volunteers Infantry artifacts from Penns
Valley area. As a company clerk I
basically fill out paperwork, I take statistics on the
soldiers that are available to go out in the field
and recreate battle, and also as a gunner I have to
give commands to the soldiers out front cleaning the
cannon, loading the cannon, and firing the cannon. I definitely feel that
history is very important, especially here in Penns Valley. It’s very important to
keep history alive here at Penns Valley so
we can preserve it and also getting the
younger generations involved since I’m a part of the
millennial generation. We’re basically going to be
the future and we’re going to be doing a lot of the things that the older generations
are doing so that the history can
be passed on, the stories, the artifacts and that’s when
historians come into play.>>My name is Shannon
Quick, I’m the director of Crisis Intervention Services at the Meadows Psychiatric
Center and our story today is about the Meadows Psychiatric
Center and the Stompers Project. The Meadows Psychiatric Center
is a freestanding psychiatric facility that people
can come to get better and it’s a peaceful environment
for people to come and heal and when they’re dealing
with emotional problems, a psychiatric illness,
a mental disorder. The Jana Marie Foundation
created the Stompers Project. They partner with different
agencies in the county in order to have a very specific
stomper for that agency and then that is partnered with them
for our own Stomper Project. They’re a parent child,
so our parent is recovery and our child is hope. They’re made out
of sneaker pieces. All of the staff at the Meadows
Psychiatric Center we donated sneakers and we collected those. The sneakers are then cut
into pieces and our staff and individuals receiving
treatment at the Meadows painted
all of the pieces. When someone is struggling with
things that happen in their life that becomes the story in
the fabric of their life and the Stompers Project
really kind of honed in on that and giving someone a voice and
that voice comes out in art, painting, construction,
deconstruction. Everyone’s, you know,
piece is different, it talks about their own story,
their own transformation. Once we have all the
sneaker pieces done, then they are attached to the
stomper, which is a wooden frame and that creates the person
as it looks as a stomper. The reason that we picked
an adult and a child was about that we do treat all
ages here in Penns Valley for psychiatric illness. And that really is to inspire
that every journey is different and people have the ability to
recover from a mental illness. I’ve worked at the
Meadows Psychiatric Center for approximately 18 years. I see the beauty of the
valley, the generosity of the individuals that
are in Penns Valley and we’re just really proud
to be part of that community and we think that being part of that community really does
help all of the individuals that come to our hospital
to heal and to grow in this environment because
it is a wonderful environment to be in.>>Hi, my name is Todd
Hillard, I am here to talk about the Millheim Fire Company. The Millheim Fire Company
was chartered in 1909. They built their
fire station in 1941. The building went through
a couple different changes, which enlarged the engine room
from a two bay to a four bay and then from a four
bay to a six bay. Our active membership is
about 50 members strong. That is when the tones drop
we have active members respond to the station to take any
emergency calls whether it be fire, rescue, lost
persons, any kind of event that the fire department
is requested. We try to do different things to keep the members
active in the fire service. We do battle with the barrel. We do multiple fundraisers. We do an Oktoberfest. We do our annual
carnival every year. It provides the fire
department with money for vehicle insurance, it
gives the community a chance to see the members that
are there to serve them in the capacity of raising funds to keep the fire department
moving and up and running. Since I’ve been with the
fire company I have noticed with Penns Valley it is
a very tight community. Everyone is out for the
good of the community. Whatever fundraiser you have
the community tries their best to come out and support it. I have been with the
Millheim Fire Company for approximately 26 years. I’ve been an assistant chief with the Millheim Fire
Company for 22 years. Once I became part
of it, it became sort of like a second family. All of us get together
and we do it as a group and it is an exceptional
group to be part of.>>I’m Catherine Smith
and I’m here to talk about ChicoryLane Farm. This is an old farm
near Spring Mills, the base of Brush Mountain. It’s like a lot of old farms
here except the difference is now it’s all in conservation and
that’s made a big difference. We came to that farm in
1974, but it has been in someone’s ownership since
it was surveyed in 1766. For the first who
knows how many hundreds of years it was all forest
and then for the entire 19th and 20th centuries
it was farmed. And the 21st century we
have taken it to habitat, preservation and conservation. So the farm has sort of
come into what it would be. This week just as part of
ordinary activities we’ve come across a woodcock, a ruffed
grouse, a turkey hen and chicks, not to mention the migrating
songbirds that are beginning to come through to get the
black cherries as they ripen and the barn swallows that
are beginning to leave. The wildlife has
come to live in it and that’s what we
love about it. Really about five kinds of
wetland on this 68-acre farm and each one of them a different
habitat for different wildlife. So I guess I’d have to say
the favorite parts are the wet parts, but that’s hard as soon
as I say that I want to talk about the hill up top, which
is the upper new forest area where we planted new farms. The views in both directions
are just spectacular, it’s the best place in the
world to watch a sunset from. I’ve come to respect when
historians use the term circa. I don’t think we’ll ever know
exactly when the house was built or exactly who built
it or even what kind of wood it’s made from. It’s placed where a settler
would’ve placed it in terms of the location of the house. It’s between two hills,
it’s near a spring. We don’t think of
ourselves as preserving it, it’s important just to live
in it and be respectful of the place as everyone else
who’s lived there has done in their way. One of things we’re trying
to do right now is think through the future
for ChicoryLane Farm. The future we want for it is
the one it has now its 21st century life. If it’s going to go forward we
think the conservation practices and allowing other
things to live out their life there too is the
future we want to have for it and we’re working
to achieve that. It’s where I want to
wake up in the morning. It’s a place where we
can live in the setting, we and the other things that
are there are just participating very directly in what the
light is, what the temperature, it’s the place we call home. We’ve come to love it and I can’t say I have loved
any other place I’ve lived like this one.>>Hello, I’m Sarah Frazier,
retired schoolteacher of Penns Valley School System. I have taught for 30 years. During those 30 years I
did elementary phys ed for three years. I went to 31 different
classrooms in a week. One of the things though that
I especially enjoyed were going to the 10 one-room
country schools. I enjoy physical education
and it was rewarding to me that my students
liked when I came and enjoyed doing all the
things I was teaching. We interviewed Dana
who lives in one of the schoolhouses,
Collier Schoolhouse.>>If you come in the front
door of the house and you walk in you’ll actually see some
original walls in the house and see some graffiti
that the kids scratched into the woodwork. Here’s a heart that they
carved in, the letter A, over on the other wall
down low there’s a W.>>I was a promoter
of girl sports. I started the first basketball and the first softball
team for girls. I learned that girls
could participate in competition activities
as well as boys. After I did the three
years of elementary I moved into the Penns Valley building. I like going into the
big building and being with the junior senior high,
but elementary were a joy. I am 92 years of age. I raised a family
in Penns Valley and they’ve all gone
to school here. In fact, one of my daughters
is a teacher at Penns Valley. So naturally I consider
myself a part of the valley. I think we have an
excellent school system. It was a joy to have
done all this.>>My name is T. J. Coursen, I’m
from Centre Hall and my story is about the Hope Fund
of Penns Valley. The Hope Fund was started in
2008 by myself and my wife, Kathy, as well as Dan
and Connie Genismore and Tom and Nancy Stoner. Our mission is dedicated
to helping people who are facing medical
emergencies or personal disasters. We’re an all-volunteer
organization and we’re completely
self-funded. The story starts I was faced
with a rare type of cancer. We found that there was a doctor
in Germany willing to operate. I had the first surgery and it was out-of-pocket
it was very expensive. I was at the bank and
I was doing a loan for the second surgery
and going home that night and Dan Genismore showed
up at my house he said, hey we’ve got some
fundraisers planned for you he said it’s a gift
from friends you’ll know what to do when you get home. We started looking at, you know,
hey what does our valley need? Over the course of about three
months put together a plan of what we wanted to do and the
Hope Fund was born then in 2008. We do several key
fundraisers in a year. We have a spaghetti dinner
fundraiser that we do. We do the turkey trot 5K. We also have done a 5K during
the Dutch Fall Festival. We also do the gala for
hope, which is held in April and we’ve been doing that
now for about six years. And another one of our big
fundraisers we have a program that’s called the
Ambassador Anchor Program. Folks can donate, you know, a minimum of $500 per
year to our organization. We’ve raised, you know, over
$150,000 with the program alone. One of the people that
we were able to help through the Hope Fund of
Penns Valley is Linda Solt. Her mother was sick, she needed
a ramp built for her house and we had approved
the funds to do that.>>And I said to my mom I said
I know mom I said you’ve got pride, but I said let’s
call the Hope Fund.>>Prior to that happening
though Linda’s mom took a turn for the worst and
she passed away. Linda and her siblings
really didn’t have the means and the funds for her funeral,
for her burial and that’s when we were able to step in and
we were able to assist Linda.>>It just blessed
us and I believe that the Hope Fund just
blesses the whole community.>>The people in Penns
Valley are just remarkable. They want to take care
of their neighbors. The Hope Fund I think
is a wonderful example, it isn’t our organization it’s
the community’s organization. The hope stands for helping
other people every day and we’ve seen that with the
Hope Fund, we’ve seen how people that we help then come back
and want to volunteer with us and they want to help, you know,
other people that are in need. It has exceeded our
wildest dreams, we thought we might be able
to help a couple of families and distribute a couple
of dollars and it’s grown into this, you know,
tremendously big organization and the community
takes ownership and pride in the organization.>>I’m Nancy Parks and I
live in the historic district of Aaronsburg Village in the
eastern part of Penns Valley and I want to talk about
the preserved farms that we have in Penns
Valley area. Penns Valley has had a
commitment to farming both in forestry and in
agriculture for over 200 years. We have terrific soils
and we have a lot of water and we have the ability to
produce food on a regular basis. In order to make sure
that that continues long into the future it is
important for us to preserve as many farms as we can. And the way that we do that is by applying agricultural
conservation easements on two parcels of land and
hopefully as we proceed into the future we can
actually preserve enough farms that they’re actually one
right after the other, they’re contiguous throughout
the valley and we’ll be able to assure good crops and good
food availability for all of Centre County
way into the future. It’s been important for me
to preserve my 27 acre farm because I want to provide a
lasting benefit for Penns Valley and for Centre County. I chose to do that by
donating development rights to the Centre County
Farmland Trust, which is a wonderful
organization that’s been there for decades. And it has preserved about
11 different farms right now throughout Centre
County and they preserved over 1,000 acres of farmland. It’s important that
we protect the soils and the water resources
because that will allow us to protect our vast fisheries
tourism industry that we have in Penns Valley and also to
preserve our groundwater, which we’ll be using
in the future for safe drinking water
for our communities. Penns Valley is a very
cool place to live. It’s so community oriented and
all the communities are involved with each other and
they support each other. They’re good people and
they’re good to other people, so it’s a very positive
and very successful region in Centre County.>>My name is Mark Engle I
live in Millheim, Pennsylvania. The reason I’m here
is to tell the story of the Millheim Theater
and why we live there. The Millheim Theater was built
in 1923, it was the brainchild if you will of the Ladies
Civic Improvement Club in East Penns Valley and
it first opened in 1924 and has been there ever since. If you were to walk into the
theater the first thing you would see is the lobby
and the ticket booth. There’s a concession
stand room to the left and then there’s three sets
of double doors leading into a 400-seat auditorium with full stage presidium
and the balcony. We came to live in
the theater in 1995. We were based in Pleasant
Gap, after about three or four kids we started
looking for a larger home and the real estate agent had
called me one day my wife was out of town and said hey,
I’ve got this property over in Millheim maybe you want
to come look at and I said sure. She took me over there and lo
and behold it was a theater and we walked into the
place and I just fell in love with it right away. Parents thought we were
crazy, told as much so. And what are you going
to do with a theater and the answer was
well what can’t we do. Our plan is to have it as public
space, to be an event facility. We don’t want it to be
just a movie theater or just a community theater,
but a facility that can be used for any number of things whether
it be weddings, auctions, receptions, concerts, plays. We would like to see it be
used like that in the future. When we first came to visit
the community it was — things were closing
down, stores were — windows were boarding up,
but its history is very rich. And at the turn of the last
century it was a thriving mercantile trade community,
multiple banks, hardware stores. We really saw that there was
an opportunity, you know, history repeats itself that could happen again
here and it kind of has. It’s already started and we
see that there’s an opportunity for everything that
happened at the turn of the century before
to come around again. It’s a great place to live.>>Hi, I’m Vonnie
Henninger, I’m here to talk about Gramley Schoolhouse. In 1838, the Gramley
Schoolhouse was built on a piece of ground east of Rebersburg that was owned by
Philip Gramley. At that time they had what
they called a two-mile school, so every 2 miles
there was a school. So there was seven two-mile
schools in the Rebersburg area. In 1924, they closed
the two-mile schools and bussed everybody
to Rebersburg. Some years later they ran out of
room for children in the school in Rebersburg so they wound
up moving the Gramley School into Rebersburg, they
completely dismantled it and moved it into Rebersburg. In 2007, I was contacted
by the school board that they were going to not
use this building anymore. The citizens of Miles Township
worked together and were able to acquire the school. We had to move it because it
was setting within 12 feet of the elementary school. It was considered a hazard because it was a
wooden building. We moved it 200 feet south of the present elementary
school building and set it up as a museum. We have a lot of
artifacts in there. We have pictures of children
that went to school at Gramley and a lot of other school
pictures, lots of year books, and pictures of teachers
that used to be there. We have a lot of genealogy. I also saved pictures
of families and so on so we can relate to
where our history used to be and the families
that are so prominent like the Bierly family
with Rubin Bierly. He started out as a contractor,
he built many buildings from Centre Hall to the
eastern part of the county. When he died I think it was
1912, they said that more than half of the houses in
Rebersburg were built by him. Our area is changing
tremendously somebody needs to preserve it. My father and grandmother
were great in history and I have a lot of pictures
and stuff from what they had and always wondered what I was
going to do with all this stuff that I could share
it with everybody. We have a lot of people
coming in and looking at what we do have
and remembering. I think one of the
biggest things is to remember how things
used to be. Everybody enjoys reminiscing.>>My name is Gary
Way, I’m the commander of the American Legion. I live in Spring Mills. I did a story on
living in Penns Valley. I’m with Post 779 [inaudible],
there’s another legion in Penns Valley Post 444. The American Legions are very
involved in Penns Valley. We sponsor youth baseball, we
sponsor Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts. We provide scholarships for
the Penns Valley students. We have an Easter egg
hunt for the children. We do toys for tots for the
children at the American Legion. It’s not just a club
for war veterans, we like to service
the community. Through the American Legion I’ve
gotten to know a lot of people that live in Penns Valley and I
wanted to capture their feelings of living in Penns Valley. I spoke with Larry Young
about living in Penns Valley and how he loves the area.>>The location is great, everybody around here
is very friendly, and if you need a helping
hand you can find it here in this valley.>>Bob Kline is a member of the American Legion,
he’s a war veteran.>>You’ve got a blend of
Amish, you’ve got a blend of [inaudible] farmers,
you’ve got a blend of people that work upstate college.>>Denny Bressler, a
very good friend of mine, we were drafted together, we went through basic
training together. We’ve been friends
for over 50 years.>>The big changes
I’ve seen being on a farm is farming has changed
in the valley [inaudible] horses and of course, we went to
the tractors and so forth and now in the balers. And now the Amish come
back into the valley and that has changed back
to where we used to do it.>>Hilda Putnam is a resident
of Penns Valley I think for 40 some years now.>>It’s a very nice
place to live. People are very friendly and I was well accepted
when I moved here.>>Rich Whitman is a
native of Penns Valley, graduate of Penns
Valley High School.>>At the end of the
day if I was looking to hire somebody I think I’d
tend to look in this direction because I know people
want to do a good job and give a good day’s work.>>Ralph Shope he’s
a very active member in the American Legion,
he’s quite the fisherman in the Penns Valley area.>>I love the serenity of Penns
Valley, I love the mountains and the beautiful, beautiful
valley of the farmlands and the people that are in
are so friendly and kind.>>Tom Kistler, Judge
Kistler, very instrumental in the restoration
of the Colyer Lake.>>Behind me is the 77-acre
Colyer Lake that’s owned by the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania. It’s managed by the Pennsylvania
Fish Boat Commission. It was built in 1966 and
like many of us who are over 50 it was showing its
age and needed some repairs. The Fish Commission had
a concern for the safety of the people that
live downstream from the dam closed the
dam and they drained it. They formed a corporation
called Save Colyer Lake and we mustered community
support, a lot of petitions. We also raised some money
to let the legislators and the Fish Commission know that this project had a great
deal of community support and we were interested
in seeing it restored. The contract was
let, the work was bid and it was successfully finished
in November and December of 2015 they started
filling it up.>>Penns Valley is special
to me, I’m not a native, but my wife and I we fell in
love with the Penns Valley area. The people are very friendly,
it’s a hometown atmosphere.>>My name is Heather Smith,
I live in Spring Mills and I’m going to talk about some
biking routes in Penns Valley. It’s a beautiful
area to go biking that really clears the mind and it’s just really
nice being out in nature. It doesn’t matter whether it’s
a small group or a large group or by myself I find it
to be very therapeutic. You do see friends and family
and neighbors and you can stop and say hi, you can stop
and have a conversation, and it’s just a very
neighborly thing to do. I have a few favorite
routes in Penns Valley. I like Spring Mills to Coburn
or Spring Mills to Woodward, the Creek Road, lots of
wildlife, lots of water birds. There’s a ride I actually
do from my front door and that’s the great thing
about Penns Valley is a lot of times you can start the
ride at your front door. I can leave my house and
go to Green Gove Road to Penns Cave Road to Allison
Road and it’s just, you know, anytime of year actually it’s
just a beautiful place to ride. The vistas, the views,
anytime of year. So it may be the same
route that you’re riding, but it’s never the same ride. There are plenty of backroads, you really can’t
make a wrong turn. You can make a right, you can
make a left, you can go straight and it’s just beautiful. It’s one of our — I think one of our secret weapons
in Penns Valley. We have lots of out-of-towners
come and bike. A lot of different groups from
outside the area they just come in and enjoy it like we all do. It’s just a really great day
when you’re out on your bike.>>My name LeDon Young, I live
in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania and my topic is the Grange as
it pertains to Progress Grange in Centre Hall and subsequently to the Centre County
Grange Encampment and Fair. Progress Grange was
begun in 1874. A local resident, Leonard Rhone,
he always wanted to be a farmer. When his father passed
he bought the family farm from his brothers and sisters. He found out about
an organization that had been started
in 1867 in Washington, DC called the Patrons
of Husbandry. This was the time of
organizations of unions and guilds, so I hesitate to
say that the Grange is a union of farm and rural people, but
it is an association for them. The unit of the Patrons of
Husbandry is called a Grange. We call the members of the
Patrons of Husbandry Grangers. Leonard Rhone felt this
was an ideal organization and he started the first
Grange in Centre Hall. In 1874, he had established six
Granges throughout the county and he said to the members of
the Progress Grange let us join with our sister Granges to have
a picnic to let everyone know about this organization and
that was where Grange Picnic and now today’s Grange
Fair started. People were bringing their tents
to Grangers Picnic because at that time it was two days. Leonard Rhone to encourage more
people to come rented tens, 50 of them from the
National Guard. They decided in 1890 that
they needed to buy a park and that 24 acres that they
bought in 1890 is the nucleus of today’s 264-acre fairground. 2016 marks the 142nd Centre
County Grange Encampment and Fair. We went from 50 tents to
now we have a thousand. It has been our tradition that although the
tents are the property of the Grange Fair
we do allow folks to reserve them from
year to year. And so we now have
families that have been in the same campsite since 1890. Our Grange continues
to this day. I think the Grange
epitomizes what is so wonderful about Penns Valley
and that it is home. People look after
each other here. The salutation of the Grange
is that we place faith in God, we nurture hope, we
dispense charity, and we’re noted for fidelity. And I think all of those things
epitomize Penns Valley too.>>And that’s it for
our Town Penns Valley, a look at the community of Penns
Valley and its surrounding areas through the eyes
of its residents. Support for our Town
Penns Valley comes from HealthSouth Nittany
Valley Rehabilitation Hospital providing quality acute
rehabilitation services after illness or injury. HealthSouth right by your side
at nittanyvalleyrehab.com. Jr’s Quality Tile and Hardwood,
2041 General Potter Highway, Centre Hall offering
complete flooring services to refresh your home and
office jrsflooring.com. The Meadows Psychiatric Clinic
offering a continuum of care that includes inpatient,
outpatient and crisis intervention, along
with the community commitment to mental health awareness
and stigma reduction. Information at themeadows.net. Tamara Trunzo State
Farm insurance, 2836 Earlystown Road
offering auto, home, life and financial services. Information at 814-364-2181. Penns Valley Building Supply,
3602 Penns Valley Road, Spring Mills providing
building materials and supplies for over 25 years
PVBSonline.com. The Grange Fair proud to be part of the Penns Valley
community since 1874. Information on Facebook
and at Grangefair.com. And from viewers
like you, thank you. [ Music ]

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