Mountain Home, January 2024

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HOME Pennsylvania & the New York Finger Lakes

The Big Save 100 years ago, J.P. Ward’s foundry rekindled the coal town of blossburg By Don Knaus

E FasRtheEwind Let Them (All) Eat Cake in Wellsboro A Williamsport Theater Taps into History When Johnny Didn’t Come Marching Home from Elmira JANUARY 2024

Wishing you a Happy New Year with many bright days ahead.

Local and Member-owned 2

Volume 19 Issue 1

14 The Intersection of

The Big Save

Suffering and Grace

By Don Knaus 100 years ago, J.P. Ward’s foundry rekindled the coal town of Blossburg.

By Karey Solomon

Elmira Prison Camp and John W. Jones Museum tell a civil story.

24 StacyKay’s Takes the


By Carol Cacchione

Wellsboro’s bakery is 100 percent gluten-free and 100 percent delicious.

6 The Stars Come Out in Williamsport

28 ’Tis the Season

for Snow

By Gayle Morrow Community Arts Center’s thirtieth season continues to dazzle.

By Kirk House

But sometimes Twin Tiers weather is flakey.

30 Mother Earth

By Gayle Morrow

This new year, resolve to refuse.

34 Back of the Mountain By Curt Weinhold

Diamonds in the woods.

Cover design by Wade Spencer. Cover photos Wade Spencer and Courtesy Ward Manufacturing. This page (top) courtesy Ward Manufacturing; (middle) CAC chair stanchion by Steve Bagwell; (bottom) Ora Lerman, courtesy the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust.

16 Soaring Gardens Continues Ora Lerman’s Legacy

By Lilace Mellin Guignard One artist’s retreat in Laceyville is now a retreat for many.

20 3

m o u n ta i n h o m e m ag . co m Editors & Publishers Teresa Banik Capuzzo Michael Capuzzo Associate Editor & Publisher Lilace Mellin Guignard Associate Publishers George Bochetto, Esq. Art Director Wade Spencer Managing Editor Gayle Morrow S a l e s R ep r e s e n t a t i v e Shelly Moore Circulation Director Michael Banik Accounting Amy Packard Cover Design Wade Spencer Contributing Writers Carol Cacchione, Kirk House, Don Knaus, Karey Solomon C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s Steve Bagwell, Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown, Linda Stager, Curt Weinhold, Deb Young

D i s t r i b u t i o n T eam Amy Woodbury, Grapevine Distribution, Linda Roller


Happy Hour Jam with Bram Penn Wells Hotel

Celebrate k’s St. Patric


APRIL 6, 2024

Jazz Night with Bram & Friends Penn Wells Hotel

JUNE 6, 2024

‘A Night at the Oscars’ Auction Penn Wells Hotel


MARCH 17, 2024

Cormorant’s Fancy Penn Wells Hotel

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T h e B ea g l e Nano Cosmo (1996-2014) • Yogi (2004-2018) ABOUT US: Mountain Home is the award-winning regional magazine of PA and NY with more than 100,000 readers. The magazine has been published monthly, since 2005, by Beagle Media, LLC, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at and Copyright © 2024 Beagle Media, LLC. All rights reserved. E-mail story ideas to, or call (570) 724-3838. TO ADVERTISE: E-mail, or call us at (570) 724-3838. AWARDS: Mountain Home has won over 100 international and statewide journalism awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for excellence in writing, photography, and design. DISTRIBUTION: Mountain Home is available “Free as the Wind” at hundreds of locations in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties in PA and Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Tioga, and Ontario counties in NY. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $24.95, payable to Beagle Media LLC, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit

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h ec torh i d e aw ay. c o m


The Big Save 100 years ago, J.P. Ward’s foundry rekindled the coal town of blossburg By Don Knaus


ard Foundry, with its various names, was the foundation for the small town of Blossburg. The company’s payroll sustained Blossburg families like Helen Manikowski’s. In her words, “You’d take your paycheck to the bank on Friday, cash it, and pay the mortgage. Then, you’d start up the street. There was O’Donnell’s Pharmacy, Dr. Berzito’s office. (I skipped the bowling alley and bar.) But along the way you paid bills at the electric and gas company offices, stop at Martin’s Meat Market and the grocery store to buy food for the week, and pay your insurance at Demchak’s Nationwide. If you had anything left, you could walk down the other side of Main. There were two restaurants, a barber shop, Morely’s Jewelry, Monk’s News Stand, a department store, an appliance store, and the town library. I’d drop my girls off at Mabel’s Dairy for a milkshake while I rested in the library next door.” In truth, the foundry saved the declining town, turning Main Street into bustling businesses. And the people of the town saved the foundry. The founders, the Wards and Kusters, all worked there. But their employees were loyal, too. Kevin Lindquist was the third generation who worked his entire career at Ward. His father, Connie Lindquist, started as a laborer, then union president, and was so respected by management that he retired as a foreman. Kevin’s son, Derek, joined the family business when he punched in at the foundry. Howard Johnson and son Percy, Jake O’Conners and son Andy, Bill Wesneski and son Ron all worked over forty years at the place that mass-produced product from molten iron, brass, and stainless steel. The foundry fed many a family from the grocers and butchers on Main Street. See Ward on page 8


Courtesy Ward Manufacturing

Still giving that warm, molten feeling after all these years: the foundry continues to go with the flow of molten iron. On the cover, a composite of an early photo of Plant 1 merged with a current photo by Wade Spencer. 7

Courtesy Ward Manufacturing

Making tracks in the market: Designed by George T. Barton Sr. and built in 1938 under Charlie Ward and “Hap” Kuster’s young leadership, this building was placed to capitalize on the railroad tracks that run through town.

Ward continued from page 6

It also helped in some lesser known ways. Children of employees often worked summers to help pay for college tuition. Several former employees mentioned that they spent their first week “in the pit.” The pit was filthy, hard work with dust so thick one could hardly see, let alone breathe. Onetime Ward president, Bruce Eilenberger, smiles and says, “That’s where we sent kids who were wondering whether or not they wanted to return to college.” So, this is a story about a business. But it’s really a story about people, and small towns, and families, and giving back, and progress. Getting Started Patrick Ward, patriarch of the Ward clan, worked at Kennedy Valve in Elmira with his sons Joseph Patrick “J.P.” (foundry foreman), William (machine shop foreman), and John (molder). Patrick and his sons worked for Kennedy Valve for ten years when, in 1919, they started their own Chemung Foundry & Supply on Elmira’s Southside. The new enterprise fed the families, but J.P. and John had differing views as to how the business should be operated. After


four years, J.P left to start his own cast iron foundry, also on the Southside. He had the financial backing of Elmira attorneys Jim Lynch and Tom Finnell, former head football coach at Penn State. J.P.’s Southside operation was barely underway when he was approached by a group of Blossburg businessmen. Blossburg had been the center of operations for bituminous coal production, but, by this time, mining focus had moved to nearby coal towns in Arnot, Antrim, and Morris Run. In addition, the Hoyt Brothers Tannery, employing from 350 to 500 men, had closed. The coal miners, tannery workers, and a steady flow of immigrants were ready for work. So the town fathers of Blossburg promised J.P. two key things: a ready workforce and two 50-foot-by-150-foot fireproof steel buildings for his operation. J.P. accepted the offer and, in 1924, he moved his foundry to Blossburg. In less than a year, John A. Kuster, J.P.’s brother-in-law, brought his Kennedy Valve experience to manage the new foundry operation. Before we get “into the weeds” with all the products manufactured by Ward, let’s just agree that all the iron and brass types, sizes, tarred, galvanized, flexible, and more modern products could confuse a plumber. So we won’t list them all. And though the

operation took on differing names, Ward was always in the title so “Ward” might suffice. Or “The Foundry.” Off and Running… In 1927, J.P. purchased a small one-man foundry adjacent to the Ward facility and employed the worker as a molder. By 1928, J.P. Ward Foundry facilities had doubled in size to accommodate a rapidly increasing demand for their products. Oscar Sparling, former supervisor of the tannery, took on general maintenance. A year later, the Seymour House, the former grand lady of hostelries in the coal region, came up for sale. Ward bought the hotel, tore it down, and used the lumber to build an addition that would run right to the railroad lines. That addition made it possible for the installation of annealing ovens. The annealing process allowed the foundry to produce malleable iron fittings, malleable meaning bendable and not brittle and breakable like ordinary cast iron. These upgrades included equipment to produce malleable iron pipe unions—a plant innovation that quickly placed Ward in a much improved position in their product line. Next, Ward purchased an empty tannery in Troy, and salvaged the power station and boiler room.


welcome to The boiler gave the plants steam heat, replacing the old hand-fired stoves that were placed around the facilities. Using the power station, they could generate their own electrical power. The electric company quickly cut rates to the plants for sizeable savings. For some time the foundry had coated the cast iron with tar to prevent rust, but they soon had a galvanizing station. The zinc coating was more efficient and cleaner than the tar application. Two houses in Arnot were dismantled and used to build an office and shipping docks. Other improvements gave the foundry room to produce small (from half-inch to one-inch) brass, ells, tees, plugs, and bushings.

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In the depths of the Great Depression, 1936, some employees of J.P. Ward Foundry went on strike. More than half of the employees remained on the job. A single incident marred negotiations before J.P. settled the labor dispute. A worker stopped at a local watering hole for a beer on the way home. Asked by the strikers if he intended to continue working, he said, “Yes. I need the work.” Union men grabbed him, carried him outside, and pinned his arms to his side while three men assailed him. Chief Park Bateman promptly arrested the trio. J.P. and the workers settled in ten days. Charles Dickens had it spot-on—it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was 1938, a year that would measure the mettle of the managers and iron workers. The young sons of the founders, Charlie Ward and John C. “Hap” Kuster, were tasked to lead a new project. The company had purchased the abandoned Hoyt Brothers Tannery on Taber Street. The elders told Charlie and Hap to raze the remains of the tannery and build, from the ground up, the most modern foundry in the world. Charlie, just twenty-five years old, was tapped to head the project along with his equally young cousin—and best friend—Hap. They actually used the wood from the old liquor vats to build. Though it was officially the Ward & Kuster Foundry, the site was simply called W&K Foundry. Things were looking up. Then, J.P. died suddenly. There were thoughts of closing, but Charlie assumed the presidency and pressed on with Hap’s help. At the time, Charlie was the youngest corporate president in the country. Just as things began to smooth out and “hum” nicely, as Hap would say, on Taber Street, the Gulick Street main foundry and machine shop burned to the ground, killing one man. While embers smoldered, Charlie began planning a rebuild—a better facility. The erection of the new shops took most of a year and employed many of the out-of-work foundry employees. After that, things began humming again. In 1955, the company undertook the momentous task of erecting a new, highly-automated plant across from the W&K. This new facility helped support the needs of Ward’s customers as a result of the introduction of some of the fastest automatic molding machines in the world, and product additions including Class 300 fittings, brass-to-brass seated unions, and Ward Lox end fittings. In the late ’50s, Charlie and Hap flew to Germany to examine several more modern pieces of machinery. With the consulting advice from a German engineer, the two returned with another modernization—the “continuous caster,” which improved metal yield, quality, productivity, and cost efficiency.


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Courtesy Blossburg Centennial book

The face that launched a thousand fittings: Joseph P. (J.P.) Ward established a foundry in Blossburg in 1924 that is still glowing strong. Ward continued from page 9

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From the gravities of the Depression through World War II and beyond, Ward has helped local causes. Charlie, a superior athlete before polio sapped his skills, determined that Blossburg would have the finest baseball diamond around. With foundry seed money and foundry labor, the field at Island Park was landscaped, a new backstop was built, a four-foot wooden fence surrounded the field, dugouts were built, and bleachers were erected. Inspired by the results of the ball field, the foundry started a total restoration of Island Park. Later, when the town decided it needed a swimming pool, Charlie and Hap were the first to be approached for funding. Ward also funded the Little League fields. The foundry was a major donor for the town’s Memorial Library, its band, and its Veterans Memorial Park. After the flood that devastated the town in 1946, foundry leaders were instrumental in securing aid for flood dikes along Johnson Creek and the Tioga River. During that flood, Hap had risked his life guiding a bulldozer trying to channel flood waters away from the foundry. Hastily erected sandbag walls were failing. Rail tracks leading to W&K had formed a dam. In a desperate attempt to divert the water away, Hap used dynamite to blow the tracks. It worked. Behind the scenes, Charlie and Hap, wishing to remain anonymous, helped numerous people in need. They worked with the Blossburg bank board to establish the “Bank Scholarship” that saw deserving students go to college. By 1953, Hap, Charlie, and a number of workers noted an urgent need for better fire protection in the community. In Hap’s words: “We will establish a modern, effective, first-class fire department.” The department had been housed in a dilapidated wooden structure adjacent to the massive stone borough building. It was embarrassing, and they’d had enough. With Ward largesse and the efforts of townspeople—many of them Ward employees—the See Ward on page 12

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Courtesy Blossburg Centennial book Ward continued from page 10

fire department building, replete with garage to house equipment, came into existence. The foundry donated steel girders for the new facilities and sent a crew of foundry workers and a crane to erect the structure. Needing more land, Ward donated land for the department. The Blossburg Fire Department subsequently named Hap an honorary life member. When Hap heard that daytime fire protection had been spotty, as volunteer firefighters were working. To alleviate that problem, Ward management told firemen who worked in the foundry that they could leave work to fight fires. No sooner had the fire department building been completed, when Hap started an ambulance company, and was subsequently listed on the first roster of officers. Many foundry employees over the years took an active role in the department, including Steve Hall, recently recognized for his thirty years as department president, and Kevin Lindquist, also a long-tenured and valuable fire department officer. Steve was also honored for over twenty years of service as ambulance company president. Changes In 1978, Charlie and Hap had an offer to sell the company. The family had owned and operated the Ward foundries for fifty-five years, but they thought maybe it was time. Retaining ten percent of the stock and a five-year consulting contract for each, they accepted the offer and sold Ward Foundries to the Interpace Corporation. In April of 1979, the new owners hired Dick Hummel, who had previously served as president of a foundry in Lancaster, to serve as the new president. He was quickly positioned in Blossburg and retained most supervisory staff and management, including Jeff Harman and others. A year later, Interpace sent Bruce Eilenberger, assigning him to shadow Hap. His initial title was assistant foundry manager. The plan was for Bruce to replace Hap when Hap retired. Bruce says of his mentor, “John Kuster was an amazing, extremely 12

Molding a community: An employee photo taken in 1932­­­. Now Ward Manufacturing employs over 500 people.

smart man. I learned a lot from him.” They also sent a chief financial officer. They made no changes in the operation. Four years after the Interpace purchase, Clevepak bought Ward. They honored the consulting contract with Charlie and Hap, who retired within a year. Clevepak made no operational changes and retained Dick, Bruce, and the Interpace CFO. Two years later, the managers got word that Ward Clevepak was ready to sell. Bruce and Jeff organized a management group, secured financing, and bought the business. As Bruce notes, “After purchase, we added a ductile iron capability and that opened the door to becoming a major supplier to Ford and Chrysler, supplying car wheel hubs. And when we bought the foundry, we put Jeff Harman back in his role as CFO. Jeff was an amazing, dedicated man.” Bruce was elected president. Joining the group was Mark Meyer, who covered sales. Mark created markets as far away as Mexico. They controlled the flange industry nationally. “We changed the name to Ward Manufacturing,” Bruce adds. Ward Manufacturing’s entry into the automotive market attracted the attention of the Japanese firm Hitachi. The company is part owner and the major supplier to Nissan, as well as the largest producer of pipe fittings in the world. Hitachi bought Ward Manufacturing in 1989. At that time, Ward had been producing more than 3,000 tons of pipe fittings and auto castings per month. Hitachi sent Doyne Chartrau to be president of Ward Hitachi Metals Automotive Components—HMAC. As Bruce says, “Chartrau was very fortunate to have the finest group of employees on the planet.” After the Ward acquisition, Hitachi decided to expand its ductile iron automotive production with construction of a $100 million auto parts plant in Lawrenceville. The new plant would employ 500 workers with a payroll exceeding $10 million. The Lawrenceville plant would use state-of-the-art computer technology. Training for employees was a key to the intended success. The groundbreaking was early 1996. When the complex was built, it was hailed as the most modern plant in the U.S. The new facilities would include the See Ward on page 32 13

Courtesy Elmira Prison Camp Courtesy John W. Jones Museum

Free at last: Inside the replica of an barracks that served as a Union training post and as a Civil War prison camp; (inset) John W. Jones, who made sure that Confederate soldiers who died there were buried with dignity.

The Intersection of Suffering and Grace Elmira Prison Camp and John W. Jones Museum Tell a Civil Story By Karey Solomon


’ve always been a history nut,” explains Doug Oakes, board member of the Friends of the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp and a historical re-enactor. “I have an uncle born and raised in South Carolina, and we did a lot of talking and exchanging ideas, so I got the Southern point of view. I got into re-enacting because some units have drills so you learn how to maneuver the way they [the soldiers] did. You learn the terrain, how the ground actually is on the battlefields. I got into it to learn.” A chilly afternoon with snow in the air and wind blowing across the Chemung River is also a perfect time to learn, to experience the reproduction areas of the former Camp Rathbun/Camp Chemung. During the early Civil War years, it was used to train Union recruits; after the final group was shipped off in 1864, Barracks #3 became a military prison, desperately needed when the informal prisoner exchange system between the warring sides broke down in mid-1863. In July, when the first prisoners arrived, it was reasonable to assume tent housing would be adequate for summer,


though more barracks were hastily erected. The authorities estimated the facility could hold up to 4,000 men. Within a month of opening, there were 12,000. Disease flourished amid the overcrowding, partly because, instead of availing themselves of cleaner water in the camp’s wells, many prisoners instead drew water from Foster Pond, contaminated by waste from infelicitously sited latrines. “They [prisoners and guards] knew better,” says Schuyler County historian Gary Emerson. Almost a quarter of the prisoners, weakened from cold, inadequate clothing, and ungenerous rations, died from dysentery, smallpox, and other illnesses. Their guards suffered from some of the same maladies. The barracks, as exemplified by the replica at the site on the intersection of Hoffman Street and Winsor Avenue, was built to hold up to 100 men, though it sometimes held more. The structures were uninsulated, ventilated by doors at each end and a glass-free hatch above each bunk— the bunks were designed to hold two but sometimes served three. Doug spent a summer night in the barracks some years ago and reports the bunk, without a mattress,

was hard and uncomfortable. It was, after all, a prison. The heat source was the sort of industrial wood or coal stove manufactured for larger spaces like railroad stations, and the Army calibrated what they deemed an appropriate amount of fuel per day, down to the last stick of wood, says Doug. A few prisoners secured themselves a better chance at survival—and better rations—by renouncing their allegiance to the Confederacy and swearing loyalty to the Constitution and the Union, Gary says. Some of them were released, some were sent west with the Union Army, others were given menial camp jobs and a tiny wage. The prisoners became an unwitting tourist attraction after two enterprising entrepreneurs built platforms overlooking the camp, allowing paying customers to climb up and gaze at the captives while enjoying tea and snacks from their overlook. Not everyone thought the captured soldiers were receiving the treatment they deserved, Gary adds. “Some were sympathetic. There were religious groups donating comforts, like books and Christmas things. “Some [Confederate soldiers] brought

HAMMONDSPORT GAFFER DISTRICT slaves with them who were captured alongside their owners. The prison even housed a woman, who’d disguised herself as a man in order to fight.” Perhaps one of the soldiers summed up their collective plight when he was interviewed and asked how he’d gotten there. “No choice in the matter,” was his terse reply. Certainly there was callous cruelty here, yet it existed side by side with extraordinary compassion. That compassion was personified in John W. Jones, an abolitionist sometimes described as a self-emancipated former slave. John had made his way to Elmira at a young age, acquired an education and several day jobs, as well as a not-entirely-secret passion for helping others to freedom via the Underground Railroad—more than 800 people in a nine-year period. John, then sexton for the Baptist Church in Elmira, lived about half a block from the railroad line and had a friendly relationship with several conductors and baggage handlers. “He was able to sneak his ‘baggage’ onto what they called the ‘4 a.m. freedom baggage car,’” explains Talima Aaron, on the board of directors for the John W. Jones Museum at 1350 Davis Street. “Elmira was a small town then, where people knew what everyone else was doing. He never faced the consequences of fugitive slave law, although there were a lot of unscrupulous bounty hunters, and penalties were so stiff.” Talima never refers to John W. Jones as a slave or ex-slave “because that was not a circumstance he chose.” With the high mortality rate of the Elmira Prison Camp’s residents—almost a quarter of whom died in the year the prison was open—John took on another job, that of burying Confederate prisoners. One was the son of the slaveholders who owned the plantation where he was born. John “gave them dignity in death he could not get in life,” Talima says. “He saw the humanity in these young men fighting for their home. Of the 2,973 he buried, only six were unidentified, because of the respectful way he interred them.” Information about each was written down in John’s carefully inscribed ledgers, sealed in a glass jar in each coffin, and on the wooden marker (later replaced by stones) at each grave, precisely lined up, even in death, like soldiers. It is due to John’s care, she says, that, after the war, all but two relatives of the Confederate dead decided to leave their loved ones where John or his helpers had interred them in Woodlawn Cemetery. His careful recordkeeping led to the designation of Woodlawn as a National Cemetery. John and his wife, Rachel, are buried there, too, as is fellow abolitionist Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, who interviewed John W. Jones and declared that John should write his life story himself. That was one task John never got to. Instead, his story is retold at the John W. Jones Museum, open by appointment (it’s closed for the winter). Visit, learn more about the Elmira Prison Camp at, or visit the Chemung County Historical Society at 415 E. Water Street in Elmira, where one may also purchase Elmira: Civil War 18611865 by historian Terri Olszowy (Doug’s wife). As she says, “It pays to know where you’ve been—and it helps you know where you’re going.”

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Karey Solomon is the author of a poetry chapbook,Voices Like the Sound of Water, a book on frugal living (now out of print), and more than thirty-five needlework books. Her work has also appeared in several fiction and nonfiction anthologies. 15

Steve Bagwell

All the world’s a stage: But few are so grand as the renovated Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport.

The Stars Come Out in Williamsport Community Arts Center’s Thirtieth Season Continues to Dazzle By Gayle Morrow


hen you walk into the foyer and step through the doors into the Martin Theatre, you might feel as though you’ve gone through some kind of portal into another time and place. A place that’s elegant as well as welcoming, a place with unique and exquisite architecture—that octagon dome in the ceiling is jaw-dropping. “It’s always fun to watch people experience the beauty of the space for the first time—how they gaze up in awe at the ceiling and all the glowing details,” says Cindy Davis Meixel, writer/photographer at Pennsylvania College of Technology, which owns the Community Arts Center. “You see this, especially, on the faces of all the children. Just being in that space helps them ‘dream big,’ I think.” Williamsport’s Community Arts Center is a living mix of a hundred-plus years of community, beginning before the turn of the last century with the Sterling Hotel on the 220 West Fourth Street site, and continuing with the hightech, restored, refurbished multi-use facility it is today. From the first opening performance in May of 1993—it was the New York Pops with Skitch Henderson—to the upcoming Dancing with the Stars: Live!, CAC has been, for three decades, downtown Williamsport’s beating heart. 16

“We’re always happy to have an excuse to bring people to downtown Williamsport, whether it’s for a big show touring the country or a local organization or school showing off their amazing skills,” says Steven Ault, manager of marketing communications for CAC. It just so happens there will be a big show making a Williamsport stop on January 23. The pros from the hit television series Dancing with the Stars, including Brandon Armstrong, Rylee Arnold, Alan Bersten, Daniella Karagach, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, and Britt Stewart, along with Season 32’s Mirrorball winners Xochitl Gomez and Val Chmerkovskiy will spin, twirl, kick, and strut in an all-new live version of the small-screen favorite. Expect to see on the Martin Theatre stage the same high-energy, I-can’t-believe-they-can-do-that, big-smile-generating performances from these incredible athletes as you would on the TV show’s ballroom floor. In the thirty years since the CAC opened its doors, nearly two million guests have come through them to see nearly 1,500 productions. Those are impressive numbers for a facility that holds a little over 2,000 people. The list of national and international performers who have graced the stage is remarkably wide-rang-

ing—guests have enjoyed Lord of the Dance, Jeff Foxworthy, Z.Z. Top, Willie Nelson, Madame Butterfly, Weird Al Yankovic, Martha Reeves, Cats, Wynonna Judd…the list goes on, and will, because, as CAC Executive Director Jim Dougherty says, “It’s really important to us to create diverse experiences, and we work hard to offer something for everyone in the community.” “We love being able to host big national tours and bring celebrities to Lycoming County, but we also love being able to provide a showcase stage for amazing local talent,” Steven says. CAC is the performance home to the Uptown Music Collective (the Williamsport area’s only nonprofit school of music—uptownmusic. org), Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, Lycoming College Music Department, Repasz Band (, and numerous local dance schools. “Many other local arts organizations perform at the CAC multiple times a year, so that ability to act as a springboard for local talent is amazing,” Jim says. The Martin Theatre, with its lovingly and painstakingly restored, renovated, and replicated interior, is considered the heart of the facility, but CAC is also home to the Capitol Lounge, a venue in its own right. The bar opens an hour

welcome to before shows and an hour after, is open during intermissions, and also hosts the Comedy Zone, Murder Mystery Dinners, and evenings of local musicians and local breweries known as Tunes on Tap. The facility’s history is likened to a play, with Act I, Scene I, being the “death” by fire of CAC’s precursor, the Sterling Hotel, in 1924. An entity known as the Comerford Amusement Company subsequently built the Capitol Theatre on the site, with company president M.E. Comerford promising Williamsport “a new, beautiful, and modern and up-to-date vaudeville theatre.” He delivered. Billed as “the finest in Central Pennsylvania,” the Capitol was not only beautiful, boasting the unique octagon domed ceiling and an array of detailed and colorful accents throughout, it was truly wired for sound. Opening night was October 22, 1928, and the movie was Al Jolson’s The Singing Fool—a talkie, of course. Throughout the next twenty or so years, a variety of community entertainments and stage shows found a home at the theatre, along with the movies. A flood damaged the building in 1936, and though it was repaired and deemed structurally sound, the ensuing years were not kind to it. Ownership changed more than once, and, despite the efforts and determination of those various individuals to restore the theatre to its original grandeur, the building’s health continued to decline, as did its usage. It was June of 1990 when the Capitol showed its last movie—Driving Miss Daisy. All seats were one dollar. But it wasn’t the end, by any means. Because just six months before, the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation (now known as the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania), the Pennsylvania College of Technology, and the City of Williamsport had announced that the college would acquire the Capitol and transform it into a community arts center. The Foundation and PCT each committed $2 million; the City of Williamsport committed $1 million; another $2.1 million came via a public fund-raising campaign. Renovation, restoration, and replication were slow and difficult processes. Some of the Capitol’s most beautiful decorative accoutrements had been either destroyed or painted over after the 1936 flood, so the restorers were ecstatic to find a bit of original stencil work around the octagon. Only a tiny piece of original carpeting was available, but it was enough to match with the original manufacturer’s records and recreate the pattern. Murals were uncovered and recreated. Colors were revealed. The two-year process included updating electrical and sound systems, expanding the stage, and, later, improving some of the backstage areas. “Documenting the renovation and reopening of the arts center in the early ’90s was certainly a highlight of my career,” says Cindy. “It was a massive undertaking, and there isn’t a time that I walk into the current spectacular space and not think of how drab the old theater looked when the college acquired it.” Nothing drab allowed on January 23 for the presentation of Dancing with the Stars: Live! The show starts at 7:30, and a variety of seating packages are available. For tickets or more information about the DWTS show or the remainder of the thirtieth anniversary season lineup, visit or call (570) 326-2424. At this time, the last show scheduled for the season (the performance season typically runs from July to early June) is The Book of Mormon on May 2, 2024. “There’s something happening at the CAC almost every day, and it’s fun and exciting to be part of such a vibrant atmosphere,” Jim says.


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Regardless, the best way to make the short days speed by is to go outside where the world glitters.

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Courtesy The Ora Lerman Charitable Trust

(2) Lilace Mellin Guignard

A retreat of one’s own: Ben Cowan painted the Soaring Gardens Church during his residency in 2017 (acrylic on canvas); inside the second floor studio (top); an upstairs study in the house.

Soaring Gardens Continues Ora Lerman’s Legacy One Artist’s Retreat in Laceyville Is Now a Retreat for Many By Lilace Mellin Guignard


ong before—and long since—Virginia Woolf made the point in A Room of One’s Own that space is necessary for a writer, artists of all mediums have striven or longed for places to do nothing but create. Ora Lerman, a twentieth-century American painter, teacher, and advocate for women in the arts, worked in New York City but desired a serene and beautiful refuge in nature where she could do just that. In 1973, she bought twenty-three acres near Laceyville, Pennsylvania, that included a farmhouse and adjacent two-story machine shop, which she transformed into a studio. Ora died suddenly in 1998 from cancer complications but had made her wish known that Soaring Gardens, the name she gave her refuge, become an artist’s retreat when she could no longer enjoy it. Since then, 513 artists have painted, sculpted, written, practiced, and composed rent-


free, otherwise unencumbered by expenses or expectations. A lifelong world traveler, Ora fell in love with the country home Frank Gay had built in the early 1850s, using money he and his brother made in the California gold rush to buy the land. According to Ora’s husband, David Ostwald, who is also a trustee and treasurer of the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust, “For a residence sited on a hill in dairy country, half a day’s oxcart ride from the village of Laceyville, the house makes some odd claims to grandeur. The narrow clapboard exterior is plain enough. But inside, it boasts two front parlors divided by a formal arch with unexpectedly elaborate moldings milled from local hickory trees.” These parlors come in handy as spaces for artists to gather or quietly enjoy the extensive library rich with art, artists’ biographies, architecture, psychology, liter-

ary works, and more. Artwork of Ora’s and from her collection fills the house. Windows flood the downstairs rooms and upstairs bedrooms and study with light and long views of the Endless Mountains. Four to five artists may stay at a time, and a live-in resident has quarters downstairs off the kitchen. The resident has a car and is available to do airport pickups, town shuttles, and take artists on requested field trips. But not cook. “As has been the case since the beginning,” David explains, “residents do their own shopping and cooking to give them the freedom to shape their days as suits them best.” A housekeeper comes between sessions. Thirty feet away is the studio building with two separate 750-squarefoot work areas. After finishing her graduate degree in painting at the Pratt Institute in 1968, Ora See Gardens on page 22

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Gardens continued from page 20

wished for a place in which to paint landscapes. Only a few years after she found such a place, her focus shifted from landscapes to figurative paintings, but her interest in her own grounds was invigorated in 1988 after a six-month residency at Claude Monet’s estate in Giverny. “She realized she could create a ‘Giverny’ in Pennsylvania,” states David. “By the spring of 1992, when I met Ora, the allée with the five arches was already in place and many of the old stone walls had been rebuilt. She had also created flowerbeds and erected curious trellises.” The wisteria, lilacs, clematis, peonies, lilies, irises, and tulips she loved are still in abundance, and a vegetable garden has been added that residents can enjoy. Hemlocks and black walnut shade the back of the house where a stone patio invites the muse to sit and enjoy the view of the gardens and pond. Before she died, Ora selected five trustees to manage her art, the property, and the modest endowment she left behind. The uninsulated plank walls of the old house meant it was realistic to offer residencies only between mid-May and mid-September. When first deciding on a selection process, David relates, “We were sensitive to the fact that Ora had an intense interest in young talent, as evidenced in her many years of teaching at Suffolk Community College. We also knew she was concerned about the particular challenges that confront women artists.” Actively working visual artists, writers, instrumentalists, and composers with at least two years’ professional experience since graduation may apply. Residencies are for three weeks. (If scheduling permits, two-week residencies will be considered.) There is no application fee and no fee to attend. Artists can apply individually or as groups. A limited number of $500 need-based grants are available. Grant applicants from historically marginalized communities are particularly encouraged. Applications are accepted from January 1 through March 31 and can be found online at In addition to Soaring Gardens, the trust has a second place a ten-minute drive away. A small church built in 1903 was converted into a home and painting studios by Cornelis Ruthenberg and her husband, Jules Kirschenbaum. After Jules’ death in 2000, Cornelis gifted the church to the trust. The downstairs is living space, and upstairs the former sanctuary is split into two studios. The motto of Soaring Gardens is “Create in Tranquility.” Residents are not tasked with producing a body of work or presenting for the public, though there have been some collective exhibitions over the years, most recently at the Hope Horn Gallery at the University of Scranton in 2021. Michele Godwin, a New York City artist who works in prints and ceramics and was a resident in 2014, appreciated the chance to be surrounded by more nature than concrete. She writes, “Living in the house in such close proximity to the studio gave me time to reflect and think about new ideas while being able to act almost immediately on those ideas.” She enjoyed being around like-minded women “to whom I didn’t have to explain myself.” So, while it’s important, for the sake of art and the artist, to have a room of one’s own, having fellow creatives to talk with, and to affirm that it’s okay to make art a priority, is another gift such a residency bestows—thanks to Ora Lerman and her trustees.

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(2) Courtesy StacyKay’s

It’s a cake walk down the aisle: Stacy Kay Lanzo makes cakes for weddings and other occasions, and while she can’t make them caloriefree, she makes them gluten-free; a wedding cake of many flowers (but not wheat flour) and cupcakes with strawberry filling are just two examples of her creations.

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eady to tie the knot? Say “I do!” to a gluten-free wedding cake from StacyKay’s Cafe, located at 17 Charleston Street in downtown Wellsboro. Stacy Kay Lanzo, who went to high school in Elkland and college at Kutztown University, says she’s “lived all over the U.S.” She’s now “settled back here” with husband Jason Lanzo and their three children, and is the owner, chef, and chief recipe innovator at StacyKay’s. What sets this bakery apart from others in the area is its dedication to providing 100 percent gluten-free foods and confections of all sorts—including scrumptious cakes for a bride’s special day. Stacy makes her own recipes from scratch. She admits to testing and tweaking them over and over until she gets things to her liking. “I’m more concerned about taste than appearance,” she says. “Gluten-free has gotten a bad rap. People don’t dare try it, or they think it’s going to taste like cardboard. I always make sure it tastes one hundred


times better than they can imagine.” On a wedding day, a bride needs that kind of assurance. With a gluten-free cake, there’s also the assurance every guest will be able to enjoy their piece. “It’s easier,” Stacy says. “I don’t have to worry about hurting somebody by cross-contamination.” She’s referring to people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder characterized by intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat flour used in baking. Some people without celiac disease follow gluten-free diets by choice or by doctors’ orders to decrease whole-body symptoms such as bloating, joint pain, and digestive distress. They feel better when they don’t eat gluten. Stacy follows a gluten-free diet, so making her business completely gluten-free was a no-brainer. She methodically reviews every ingredient she purchases to make sure her menu items live up to the disclaimer. Fortunately, there are many baking

flours commercially available that don’t contain gluten. Stacy says it depends on what she’s making as to which kinds of flours she uses. With cakes, unless the customer has other allergies, she starts with a mixture of white rice and brown rice flours, with a little bit of potato starch and tapioca thrown in for good measure. “You’d never know from the texture that it doesn’t contain any gluten,” says Thera, one of Stacy’s helpers. Kristen, who also helps behind the counter, adds that most people expect a gluten-free cake to be dry and crumbly, but Stacy’s are moist and fluffy, soft and yummy. Like the lemon lavender cake. Stacy made it originally as a cookie, but when a customer tasted one and asked if it could be a cupcake, Stacy adjusted the recipe and made it happen. From there, it was an easy progression to a cake. Stacy adds a smidgeon of organically grown dried lavender flowers to the batter to get the exact taste and fraSee Cake on page 26


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grance she desires. How much is a smidgeon? Thera and Kristen say Stacy is notorious for not measuring, or even bothering to write down a recipe’s exact ingredients. This understandably drives them crazy when they have to mix up the various doughs and batters for a day’s work. Stacy simply laughs. She’s always baked this way, and is used to winging it in the kitchen. Besides, Thera and Kristen are her official taste testers. They don’t seem to mind. Stacy’s baking repertoire is seemingly unlimited. It all depends on what the customer wants. Last year, for a June wedding, the bride-to-be requested a two-tiered cake, with one layer chocolate peanut butter, and the other vanilla strawberry. “Most brides get ideas for their cakes from the internet,” Stacy explains. “They bring me photos and ask if I can duplicate them.” She can, and she does. Beautifully. If she were designing a wedding cake for a winter wedding, she imagines a rich white vanilla cake, infused with raspberry. Or strawberry. Something to add some color and freshness to it. She constructs the recipe in her head while she describes it, simultaneously considering flavor combinations. She’s happy to concoct any sort of cake a bride would desire. All she asks for is at least a forty-eight-hour advance notice for a nine-inch two-layer wedding cake, and more time for larger orders. Her largest order was for a fully catered wedding for a bride who couldn’t eat anything with gluten. Stacy ensured every bite— from charcuterie-style appetizers to the piece de resistance cake— was completely gluten-free. Stacy relies on local suppliers for meats and produce to ensure quality and freshness. She doesn’t have enough room in her approximately 600-square-foot cafe for a walk-in refrigerator or freezer, nor does she have much storage space. Everything is purchased as needed. That’s why booking a consultation with Stacy and her crew well in advance of any wedding or large celebratory event is a must. She once accepted a cake order that put all her make-the-customer-happy abilities to the test. “It was a birthday cake,” Stacy recalls. “The woman had to have it gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and corn-free. So I did it.” Stacy whipped up a decadently delicious chocolate cake with a swirly chocolate chip cookie dough icing— no gluten, no dairy, no soy, no corn. The woman was thrilled. She hadn’t been able to have a birthday cake for twelve years because of all her dietary restrictions, and she had longed for one. Stacy made her birthday cake dreams come true. What gets Stacy up in the morning at 1 a.m. to start her day at the cafe? It’s no secret. Her customers inspire her. She’s had some who come in and look longingly at the bakery case and ask her what they can choose that’s gluten-free, and when she tells them they can have anything in the store they want, they start to cry. “They’ve never had that freedom of choice before,” she says. “It’s truly humbling.” Make your dreams come true with a 100 percent gluten-free wedding cake—or cake for any occasion—from StacyKay’s Cafe. Stop in Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., call (570) 404-5031, or check Facebook for daily specials. Carol Cacchione is an award-winning writer and Wellsboro native who knows a good story and a good slice of cake when she sees one.

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Courtesy Steuben County Historical Society

Better than a bus: Girls at the Davenport orphanage in Bath take a sleigh ride to school in the winter of 1940.

’Tis the Season for Snow But Sometimes Twin Tiers Weather Is Flakey By Kirk House


anuary can be a cold, hard month. It’s the depth of winter here in our parts, with the harshest season usually being New Year’s Day through Valentine’s Day. January (and February) of 1940 saw huge snowstorms, repeatedly dumping a foot or two. The girls (above) at Davenport Asylum for Female Orphans in Bath went to school by sleigh for a week. But back in 1816, “the year without a summer,” snow fell every month. All the crops died in the fields and on the trees, while the streams froze until April and started again in September. People thought the sun had lost its power. We now know that airborne particulates from a volcano were blocking the sun’s rays. Then, in 1817, folks in the Mountain Home region (and around the world) sighed with relief as things went back to normal. Snow and ice stayed where they belonged in the months around the turning of the year— mostly. Because snow can fall anytime, and when it does—at least since the invention of the camera— someone’s on hand to record it. Snow fell in Coudersport on May 8, 1906. Hope no one was planning a concert in that bandshell! The unseasonal weather was widespread, too. A correspondent in 28

Ingleside (near Naples) reported that it was “pretty cold for crops to grow.” But in Coudersport, at least the sidewalk was clear. “Dutch” mailed this post card up to Gibson’s Landing, on Keuka Lake. (1) Ice wine, anyone? Ice wine is made from grapes deliberately left on the vine to be frosted in place. But these Hammondsport pickers, probably wearing fully soaked wool, are just having a miserable day on October 11, 1906, just trying to salvage what they can. “Last week’s heavy frost did considerable damage to the grapes of the upper Lake Keuka region,” reported a newspaper in Bath. “All through Pleasant Valley the freeze was general and many vineyards will suffer a heavy loss.” (2) In that same issue, the paper reported on a visit with Uncle Zeb Atkins, about a mile up the creek from Canisteo. “The husk on the corn was unusually thick this fall,” Uncle Zeb assured readers, even as he watched snowflakes fall from gray skies. “That means a cold winter. The foxes’ fur is heavier, and all the birds have scooted south long ago. Yes, it’s going to be a hard winter and an early one too.” It was also a long winter. Avoca got several inches of late snow on May 11, 1907. The scene was lovely, but “Farmers are

regretting the backward season as very little planting has yet been done.” (3) After that unusually snowy winter in 1939 to ’40, upstate New York was not done with snow. Even in April, when one of the girls from the Davenport orphanage took one of the horses out for some exercise, measurable snow still covered the ground. We weren’t in it yet, but it was the first winter of World War II. Germany was invading Norway, Japan was invading China, Russia was seizing part of Finland, and U-boats were stalking the seas. Good brisk air and a ride down snowy lanes would have been a great way to leave the news behind—for an hour or so, at least. (4) Love it, hate it, or tolerate it—living where we do means living with snow. Might as well be like those smiling Davenport girls and find the joy in the season. Be glad when snow comes at expected times and not during your backyard cookout. Kirk House is a historian, writer, hiker, and birder from Bath, New York. He’s director of Steuben County Historical Society, and he also collects comic books.

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This New Year, Resolve to Refuse By Gayle Morrow


o you know the catsup bottle poem? Actually, there are two. The one by Ogden Nash goes like this: The Catsup Bottle First a little Then a lottle

The one by Richard Armour goes like this (I’m not sure it has a title): Shake and shake the catsup bottle, None will come, and then a lot’ll. You’ll notice both refer to catsup (ketchup, if you prefer) in a bottle. Made of glass. Not plastic. You’ve probably seen the pictures— bales of plastic, wrapped up, stacked up, boldly going nowhere. Or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, twice the size of Texas. Or the rubbish alongside the road—bags, bot30

tles, cans, fast food wrappers, pizza boxes, random articles of clothing. Isn’t anybody recycling? Yes, but… Recycling is challenging these days. Whatever borough, town, county, or state you’re in, the rules and regulations are not uniform and not static. In Pennsylvania, the state Department of Environmental Protection administers the state-wide recycling program. Local recycling programs vary depending on the operator—they can work in conjunction with trash pickup, whether that’s a municipal service or a private hauler, or you can take your recycling to a designated facility yourself. It’s similar in New York, except that state agency overseeing the program is the Department of Environmental Conservation. As much as some of us might like to think that recycling is altruism writ large, it’s not. Recycling is a business, and local

recycling programs have to change to adjust to industry trends. Whatdaya mean, I can’t recycle my #29 plastic anymore? Well, the market is saturated, or the company that used to take that type of plastic and transform it into something else, also made of plastic, just went out of business. Sorry. Around here, we’ve become accustomed to the blue bins—we dutifully fill them and set them out by the curb on recycling day, or schlepp them to the dump ourselves, usually on a Saturday morning along with everyone else in the world, thinking we’re doing “our part” for the environment. We are, I guess, but it seems like such a small part, because—holy cow! there is still a lot of stuff out there. Plastic seems to be one of the big recycling bugaboos at the moment, and not for nothing. says that in one year the average American generates close to 500 pounds of plastic waste and plastic re-

cycling. The problem with plastic, whether it’s recycled or thrown away, is that it never goes away. No one’s figured out yet how to make it decompose, thus the headlines in recent years about the omnipresence of microplastics in water, in our bodies. And because new plastic is typically cheaper to make, and of better quality, than plastic that’s been recycled—well, then, sometimes the demand for your empty laundry detergent jug or your single-use water bottle just isn’t there. Compound the demand problem with that of content. Plastic bags are not the same plastic as clamshells, or all the food product containers that used to be glass and are now plastic (think mayonnaise, olive oil, salad dressings, peanut butter—and isn’t that one a bugger to get clean for the recycling bin?), or the hard casing for that cute little DEWALT air compressor you just bought (yes, that was me), or medical supplies, or car parts. The possibility of any of those things being transformed into another life as a different plastic product depends on what’s in them and how they’re processed and how much money somebody can make from doing it. Different kinds of plastics have to be recycled separately, if they can be recycled at all. Single stream recycling is easier for us, the users, but more expensive and time consuming for the people on the other end wanting to make a buck off your discarded packaging. (Check out to find out how a Texas company wants to make money in Northumberland County using “circular manufacturing.”) If you’re cynical, you might think the petrochemical folks are pleased about all this, perhaps even had a hand in making it play out this way, but maybe it’s all just a quirk of the science. It’s certainly not a quirk of nature, though, because there is nothing natural about plastic, despite its ubiquity and our dependence on it. Still, there is a great deal of discarded material that doesn’t end up in a landfill (and, let’s hope, not in the ocean or the roadside, either), and that’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. In Pennsylvania in 2021, over 4.63 million tons of recyclable material was collected and processed. In Tioga County, 6,626.10 tons of recyclable material was collected, including 178.5 tons of glass. Data on residential plastic was spotty but included 40 tons of #1 plastic, 108.7 tons of mixed/other plastic, and 116.9 tons of rubber tires. You can get a state-by-state, best-to-worst recycling analysis at Maine is the best, New York is tenth, and Pennsylvania is eleventh. But there are no guarantees about where all that will eventually end up, or whether the carbon footprint of moving it around, changing its shape and chemistry to some other shape and chemistry, will be any better than if it’s just thrown away in the first place. Years ago, I read a magazine article about shoes. It was geared toward people who had problems—issues, if you will—with wearing leather. Dead animals and all that. So what about shoes made with man-made materials? Not so good, either. Chemicals, pollution, factories in some foreign country paying workers a few cents an hour. Sadly, the article concluded, there were no silver bullets, no real good solutions. Except to not buy so many shoes. All the “re”s—reuse, recycle, repurpose, rebuy—are great, and we should participate fully in their implementation, but possibly the best “re” is to refuse to buy it in the first place. And perhaps write a letter to the catsup people, asking them to please go back to glass. Maybe it would help a lottle.

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Bubbly Candeo 31

Ward continued from page 13

Automotive Cast Parts (ACP) Division. The plants make WardFlex, corrugated stainless steel tubing (introduced in 2000), and various fittings. HMAC brought technology from Annville, Pennsylvania, purchased a Wisconsin venture, Waupaca, in 2006, bought the empty Liberty Lingerie factory for warehouse space, and used the idle Wellsboro Dresser plant. It’s All About Community

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Famous Brands began in 1983, offering “famous brand” Famousand Brands in 1983, offering clothing footwear atbegan below retail prices. Since that humble beginning in a tiny storefront, we have grown to “famous brand” clothing and footwear at 30,000 sq. ft. covering 3 floors and half a city block, becoming abelow destination store for millions of Since visitors and localshumble alike. retail prices. that 32

beginning in a tiny storefront, we have grown to 30,000 sq. ft. covering 3 floors and half a city block, becoming a destination store for

In 1996, Hap was partway through a thirteen-year tenure as mayor of Blossburg, this following twenty-four years as borough councilman. Other Ward employees had also served years on the borough council. The various owners following the initial sale by the Ward and Kuster families have continued with community service, expanding aid and assistance to a wider area. HMAC created the Community Action Committee to help local causes. They have contracted with the Mansfield-based Partners in Progress for twenty-eight years—their workers have assembled millions of parts. Ward received the Susquehanna Health Lifetime Achievement Award when they donated $3 million toward the new emergency room at Soldiers + Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro. Their gifting and service includes: $400,000 toward the all-weather football field at Wellsboro’s high school; $365,000 to Mill Cove Environmental Education Center in Mansfield; annual Platinum Sponsor to the Endless Mountains Music Festival; $75,000 toward the Workforce Development Program in county high schools; scoreboard for North Penn-Mansfield football; annual sponsor and funding for Blossburg Coal Fest; erection of monuments on Island Park; donated land for Lawrenceville health clinic; cooperation with Blossburg Fire and Rescue; 700 pounds of pet food and cash to Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries—and so on. And so, for 100 years, the Ward foundry operation has been a steady employer and a boon to local nonprofits. The current president, Pete Guidi, rattles off a number of employees who had logged forty and fifty years of service. It’s a testament to the loyalty displayed by management and, of course, to the labor force that makes it all work. For the majority of its existence, Ward’s direction was steered by the Ward and Kuster families. Since then, the venture has seen changes in ownership, manufacturing upgrades, additional sites, and new leadership. For now, Ward seems to be in steady hands. Pete muses, “I love this place. You know, Charlie Ward was president for forty-one years. I’d like to match his record. But I doubt I can.” The goal all along wasn’t to just keep up. The management and labor force aimed to keep ahead of the now worldwide competition. The team effort has done just that. The enterprise now has a worldwide market, and Ward, with its home base still in Blossburg, is a recognized and respected product name. Retired teacher, principal, coach, and life-long sportsman Don Knaus is an award-winning outdoor writer and author of Of Woods and Wild Things, a collection of short stories on hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

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Diamonds in the Woods By Curt Weinhold


ate winter’s rising Milky Way glows over a Potter County hilltop near Cherry Springs State Park. It’s always a beautiful sight if you’re willing to leave a warm bed on a cold morning. This photo was made from several exposures in this dark Bortle 2 (darkness rating) area of the Pennsylvania Black Forest.




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