Mountain Home, March 2023

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FREEas the wind HOME MOUNTAIN Pennsylvania & the New York Finger Lakes A Scottish Geoscientist Maps Herself Home in Fall Brook
MARCH 2023 Ghosts of Mine Street Lounging Around Wellsboro Trumansburg Scrumptious A Town of a Different Elk MARCH DOWN MAIN STREET

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Ghosts of Mine Street

A Scottish geoscientist maps herself home in Fall Brook.

30

The Truth about Trumansburg

Come for the vittles, stay for the vibe.

Family businesses make Montoursville resilient.

3 Volume 18 Issue 3
Mainly Elkland
Cover illustration by Darryl Abraham, cover design by Gwen Button. This page: (top) Linda Kennedy by Lilace Mellin Guignard; (middle) courtesy Trumansburg Chamber of Commerce; (bottom) by Steve Bagwell.
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offers a bit of it all.
19th Annual Maple Weekend
If
This border town
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18
These Walls Could Talk
be Main Street
the
It wouldn’t
Wellsboro without
Penn Wells.
26 Field Notes
Where the pavement ends.
And
Andover...
Over in
Back of the Mountain
...You’ll find a village in a town in the Southern Tier. 34
spring.
Bridge to
Change, the More They Stay the Main
The More Things
6 28 22

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M A n A ging E ditor

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s A l E s r EP r E s E nt A tiv E

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c ov E r d E sign

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A Scottish Geoscientist Maps Herself Home in Fall Brook

It was the ’60s, rock was involved, and the Brits were everywhere. But this wasn’t the British Invasion of the 1960s I was seeing. Before me were weathered and lichen-covered headstones marking the final resting place of English, Welsh, and Scottish families who had travelled over an ocean to Tioga County, settling in Fall Brook in the 1860s. Here were Robert and Annie Russell from Cumbernauld, Scotland; Robert Muir from Glasgow, Scotland; and Robert Hambley from Cornwall, England. Like me, they were not familiar with warm and humid summers (hopefully they enjoyed them more than I do), and, like me, they would have had a first sighting of a bear, raccoon, opossum, a rattlesnake, and experienced their first mosquito bite. But that is probably where our similarities end. Why had they come, and what kind of home did they make in Tioga County?

6
on page 8
See Fall Brook
Oh, chute: Fall Brook’s three-story coal chutes (#2 and #3) drew sightseers from New York to watch as coal dropped into railroad cars. Above, on the Main Street level, chutes were loaded from carts pulled by ponies from the mines on small gauge tram lines.

Ghosts of Mine Street

Courtesy Coal Festival Museum (Lindie Collection)

Fall Brook continued from page 6 Company map?: Updated until 1887, this map (probably made by the Fall Brook Coal Company) was hanging in a museum storage facility. It was donated by the late Keith Lindie, born and raised in Blossburg, who was one of the organizers of the Blossburg Coal Festival and an amateur historian of all things Blossburg.

When I landed in Tioga County ten years ago as a newly hired geoscience professor at Mansfield University, I felt very much at home in these hills and valleys that reminded me of Scotland. The mining town of Fall Brook first came to my attention a few years ago after a student told me there were Scottish people buried in an abandoned cemetery in the equally abandoned town. So, I took a wee donner (stroll) to see the stones of my fellow countrymen and women, people who, over one hundred and fifty years ago, left Scotland, almost certainly from my hometown of Greenock, aboard sailing or steam ships on a three-week ocean crossing to an unknown land. What was this village? I had so many questions. Clearly, I needed to do some digging. As a professional archaeologist, I was up for that.

In the Same Vein

Fall Brook was a mining town, formed by the Fall Brook Coal Company. (Modern maps show it as one word, Fallbrook, but I’ll use the original spelling.) Like the nearby settlements of Morris Run, Antrim, Arnot, and Blossburg, it started small and grew—its population was 2,500 at its height. That’s only slightly smaller than Wellsboro today.

I didn’t know much about mining life, but I knew Scotland and northeast America were once joined. The coal fields of Pennsylvania and Scotland formed from organic sludge accumulated in large swamps that stretched across the tropical zone of the supercontinent Pangea millions of years ago. The fracture that eventually appeared and tore apart the supercontinent resulted in Scotland on one side and North America on the other, and these two areas of land, originally parts of a whole, drifted apart for the next 150 million years, the space between forming the Atlantic Ocean. I love to tell my students that not only are the Pennsylvania and Scottish coal fields the same geological formation, but that Appalachia and the Scottish Highland Mountains are also the same mountain range, again separated when Pangea broke apart. It connects me to my home country in some strange way—as if the coal seam were a Main Street stretching across the sea.

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Courtesy Coal Festival Museum (Lindie Collection)

As I read more history, I stumbled on a familiar name and nearly fell out of my chair. Sir Charles Lyell, whom I’d first learned about in school, one of the grandfathers of the geology discipline, had actually left England to visit the Blossburg mines in 1841. Upon his return, he published a paper in which he describes the rock/coal/fossils seen in Tioga County and how these rocks were the same rocks he knew so well in the UK coal fields. Though the miners didn’t have much formal learning, they, like Lyell, would’ve recognized the rocks of Tioga County—the shale and sandstone. These rocks wouldn’t have been foreign to them. But what brought the miners here?

The British Are Coming

Next, I paid a visit to Joyce Tice, director of the History Center on Main Street, Mansfield. Myself, Joyce, and her dog crammed ourselves into a small office brimming—spilling over, actually—with local history materials she has tirelessly collected and curated. With her help, I unearthed the 1860, 1870, and 1880 census returns for Fall Brook. Holy crow! So many familiar names. As I read, it was like I was back in school hearing the teacher take attendance: Allen? Anderson? Blair? Cameron? Hunter? Murray? Patterson? Pollock? Russell? These Scottish miners were part of a larger body of British (English, Scottish, and Welsh) and Irish miners who, combined, made up 60 percent of the Fall Brook workforce in 1860, increasing to 71 percent ten years later, with a few Swedish, French, and German miners filling the ranks. But I still did not know why they came.

Turns out it was unions that brought them across the sea. The Civil War (18611865) created a labor shortage just as Fall Brook Coal Company was getting started (incorporated in 1859). Simultaneously the UK—England, Scotland, and Wales— was experiencing an economic downturn. To reduce the mining labor market and keep wages high, British mining unions paid ship passage for entire families to a variety of countries, including the U.S. The Scottish Miners Union promised ten shillings from the General Fund to any miner who emigrated in 1862, and, although not a fortune, the incentive

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See Fall Brook on page 10 welcome to WELLSBORO

seemed to work. Throughout the 1800s, Scottish people boarded ships in Greenock, most likely as third class (steerage) passengers, and emigrated to all corners of the world (some voluntary, some not so much).

I’ve spent many hours at Greenock harbor, and I know the cobblestones, the grand central clock, and the large black moorings that are largely unused these days. I have seen old photographs showing tall ships stacked three deep next to the harbor wall, cargo ready for loading, and the blur of many hardworking people (some of my ancestors among them). It is now a quiet, restful place offering a magnificent view across the Firth of Clyde to the highlands beyond. As their ship departed Greenock, those long-ago crew members and passengers would have passed the Cumbrae Islands, Arran Island, and, weather permitting, viewed the ancient mountains of Argyll before heading out onto open ocean for three weeks. A very different travel experience from my own, comprised of a six-hour flight and one awful chicken dinner.

Gone, but not forgotten: The Fall Brook Hotel in 1890 (top); remnants of the store and post office foundation below Main Street, and where the railroad ran just behind it; (bottom) Mansfield University student Oliver Marvin mapping a tram line Linda’s class discovered in the trees paralleling Main Street.

Fall Brook Borough, incorporated in 1864, was a boom town that had, at its zenith, two schools, three churches, a variety of friendly societies, and a rather fancy hotel. There were eight named roads: Water Street, Mill Street, Main Street, Fallow Street, Second Street, Dublin Street, Canton Road, and Catawissa Road. Fall Brook’s Main Street is now known as Welch Mountain Road. Miners and their families resided in two-story wooden homes, each with a stone-lined basement used for storage, and heated with pot-bellied stoves. Antrim amateur historian Mike Krystoff describes how miners would build a rectangular wood structure in their homes, about five feet tall, known as a cubby. The cubby stood in front of the chimney, and the pot-bellied stove’s flue ran through the cubby into the chimney. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), miners often could not afford to purchase coal but instead scavenged hemlock to burn. The flue from the woodstove extended through the second floor, helping to heat the house, especially if a second stove was added upstairs. These homes, each a hub of joy, sadness, illness, fatigue, birth, death, and possibly homesickness, have now sunk into the soil. All of Tioga County’s coal towns suffered when the coal played out and coal companies left. As Mike notes, “That’s the sad fact of a one-industry town.” Fall Brook completely disappeared—the borough no longer exists, the buildings are gone, the railway is gone, the chutes are gone, and the miners moved on.

Telling the Ground Truth

Most of the land that belonged to the Fall Brook Coal Company is now state forest land. And as public land, it is perfect for me and Mansfield colleague Lee Stocks to use as an outdoor classroom for our students who need to learn and develop their mapping skills. In 2019, Pennsylvania completed a high detail elevation mapping project of Tioga County that shows undulations on the land surface in very high detail. Lee and I were waiting for these maps to be released to the public when covid struck and all instruction went online. When the maps were finally released in 2021, we were back to in-person classes. We jumped at the chance to take students to Fall Brook where

See Fall Brook on page 12

Fall Brook continued from page 9 Linda Kennedy Courtesy Coal Festival Museum (Lindie Collection) Lilace Mellin Guignard

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Fall Brook continued from page 10

MARCH

Dinner and

Dead Man’s Phone

Show

“It’s just a pile of rocks, Kennedy.”

WAREHOUSE

I look at the student who said this, then at the others. I can’t understand why they’re not excited. As I turn back to the rocks, I see the man of the house emerge. He walks past me, and I smell his wool jacket, then hear the crunch of hobnailed boots as he steps onto Fallow Street, turns left and walks down the hill to Main Street. I hear his familiar Scottish brogue as he calls to his neighbor emerging from an identical home on the other side of Fallow Street. The hobnailed crunch grows in volume as more and more men emerge. I know them, these men are my dad, grandad, and uncles, men who worked in the shipyards back home. Men who worked in a restricted man-world, only glimpsed by wee lassies like myself when the great big blue wooden gates opened at 5 p.m. and hundreds of men spilled out onto our Main Street, which we Scots call High Street. A sea of grey and blue boiler suits crunching the cobblestones with their hobnailed boots, laughing, joking, and telling each other stories that they will never repeat to their wives, daughters, or mothers.

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we could compare what they saw on the maps with what they could see on the actual ground. This is called ground truthing. Any feature on the map that was straight, square, rectangular, or perfectly circular meant something. Mother Nature typically does not create landscapes with such geometry, but humanity does. And there it was! Two rows of equally spaced rectangles running along either side of Fallow Street. That fall, we drove a van of students up Welch Mountain Road. The land was overgrown with brush and killer briars, all taller than my wee five feet. But I dove in, using my arms to sweep apart the vegetation, moving as if swimming in an upright position. In just a few minutes I found it—the collapsed rock of a stone-lined basement. The students looked at me, looked at the rocks, looked back at me.
welcome to WELLSBORO
Dress for progress: Visitors came to Fall Brook from New York in the 1890s to see progress in action. Here they stand at the mouth of Drift #3.

The school-age children are next to emerge. They pass me, laughing and squealing, and they also turn left and walk in the direction of Main Street toward the schoolhouses. I know these children. Like my own two sons, they were born here in America. They are Americans. All they know is this valley, and, to them, Scotland is the foreign country, a strange place a long way across a large ocean.

And finally, the woman of the house emerges, a small child on her hip and on the other a basket holding clean, wet nappies that need to be hung out. I know this woman. She is both my grandmothers. Women raised before electric appliances. Women with strong hands made rough by hours of scrubbing and hand washing. When she has finished cleaning up everyone else’s mess, she will tidy herself and her small child as best she can, and then take her turn to walk to Main Street. She will walk to the company store, as it houses the post office, and there will post a letter to her own mother back home, telling her only the good news and sparing her the bad. She will walk to the market and stop to talk with every other woman she meets, turning what could be a ten-minute walk into a two-hour walk. These women are threads, and as they come together, talk around each other, and then go on their way, they weave the social fabric that binds the community of Fall Brook. The woman is sure to be home in time to cook and have the tea (supper) on the table by shift’s end. The crunching returns and grows louder as the men leave their man-world and walk back home from Main Street. They are tired and covered in coal dust, but they laugh, joke, and tell each other stories they will never tell at the tea table.

So don’t tell me it’s just a pile of rocks. People were born here,

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welcome to BRADFORD CO. See Fall Brook on page 24
Courtesy Coal Festival Museum (Lindie Collection)

Mainly Elkland

This Border Town Offers a Bit of It All

At first glance, Elkland is in the “if you blink, you’ll miss it,” category. Even lifelong locals say visitors don’t often purposely stop there. It’s a drive-by on their way somewhere else.

But then they notice a former dilapidated eyesore is now a renovated restaurant serving flights of local hard cider. They hear laughter as a gaggle of kids leaves their weekly karate class at the new community center. They see brand new banners hanging proudly above the sidewalks, honoring the area’s military veterans. They learn that businesses on Main Street have either survived thirty-plus years, or are newcomers who’ve chosen to open in this diamond-in-the-rough of the Cowanesque Valley.

“We’re having an uptick in new businesses, which means a lot of new faces in the area,” says Renee Shantz, account executive at Wilkinson Dunn Insurance Company, which has operated at 113 West Main for

over three decades. “Insurance for the last few years had stayed pretty flat, but we’re seeing an increase as new businesses come in and properties sell.”

As they say, it’s “location, location, location,” and few can deny the perks of Elkland in that regard. Centrally located twenty-five miles north of Wellsboro and south of Corning, it’s just a short jaunt from Route 15 past the picturesque Cowanesque River along Route 49. With a population of less than 2,000, Elkland isn’t known for man-made aesthetics like gas-lit streets or brick sidewalks. But natural beauty reigns, and 360-degree mountain views are breathtaking in any season.

“I think the town is doing pretty well right now. It’s got a lot going for it, and there’s a lot here not in other small towns,” says Matt Baker, who has owned the Rainbow Rose florist with his wife, Lori, for over thirty-five years. Inside the shop at 117 West Main, you’re

enveloped by the smell of fresh-cut flowers in an impressive array of colors. The building itself has a storied history—it was formerly a shoe store, a hair salon, the telephone company office, and, around the turn of the twentieth century, Elkland’s post office.

Peggy and Jeff Thompson have also seen countless businesses come and go since they opened P&J’s Restaurant at 114 West Main in 1992. They recalled the Golden Thimble, a sewing and fabric store owned by Elaine Davis, that used to be next door. Across the street was an Exxon gas station where Mike’s Body Shop now repairs vehicles and rents out U-Hauls.

“When we came here, everything closed at noon on Wednesdays. We were the only ones who stayed open later that day,” says Peggy as she welcomes guests on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. The building where they serve up hot food and memories was formerly a five-and-dime. “Right there used to be the door to the other side,” says Peggy,

14
Caption lead: (from left) We will need new caption Anne Alexander (5) Kelly Stemcosky Hoof it to town: (clockwise from top left) The Rainbow Rose florist; karate kids at The Hub; Marigold Manor Bed & Breakfast; Anne Alexander at Higher Ground Welding and Art; Coates Heritage Museum; and Jeff Thompson of P&Js restaurant.

pointing to a spot on the west wall. “They had a huge counter over there with rows and rows of penny candy.”

Just a few doors down is Elkland’s newest eatery, Rack’s Brew House, at 204 West Main. It’s a cozy yet modern atmosphere, where thirsty patrons can sample locally made hard ciders. Rack’s operates in what locals remember as the Penn Elk, a popular watering hole that closed nearly twenty years ago. Resident Tony Daley renovated the building, also transforming the upstairs into short-term Airbnb rentals.

If staying in one of Elkland’s oldest Victorian homes is more your style, Marigold Manor at 231 West Main turns out to be just as charming and romantic as its name suggests. Built by the C.L. Pattison family in 1886, this stately residence started its life as an inn exactly 100 years later, in 1986, and is now a bed and breakfast.

And, if you forget your toothpaste, visit Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy at 206 West Main, a go-to spot since the Buchanans purchased Donley’s Drug Store in 1979. You’ll find the basics here, but also an impressive selection of seasonal gifts and home décor not available in large chain pharmacies.

New to the Main Street retail scene is Naturally, offering CBD, Delta H, and Kratom products targeted at curbing anxiety and depression in people and pets. Edward Kessler started the business in Lawrenceville four years ago, moved it to Mansfield in February of 2022, and in November opened a second location here at 103 West Main.

“When we were based in Lawrenceville, we used to offer delivery to Elkland and Knoxville, so this was closer to our customer base this way,” says employee Danielle Cloos.

On one side of the new store is a longtime staple, Pizza Barn at 101 West Main. Combining traditional dishes with unique flavors, it’s the only eatery in town offering delivery and online ordering. On the other side, at 105 West Main, is perhaps one of Elkland’s most unique and unexpected draws—Willy Nilly art studio. Artist/owner Brynn Pond hosts group painting classes (BYOB), and also arranges private painting events in-house or on the road.

A new old business, Bailey Jewelers, re-opened last July at 207 West Main, the very location where Weldon Bailey first opened the shop of the same name in the 1940s. Weldon operated the jewelry store and repair business at a couple different locations until 2015; it’s now been reincarnated by his son Dennis.

Creating a sense of community just down the street is The Hub, Elkland’s new community center at 210 West Main. The revamped building offers space for private or public events, classes for adults, like yoga and self-defense, and activities for kids, like karate or indoor soccer. Anne Alexander operates The Hub with her husband, Dwayne, who she calls the “driving force” behind its creation. They’re now offering youth leadership meetings focusing on community service. Anne, an artist and welder, also operates Higher Ground Welding as part of The Hub. She offers custom fabrication, repair, art, and a variety of instruction, including the two-hour Make-It/Take-It classes. In her words, “I have plenty to share with those who want to learn,” so fire up those torches and join this creative community.

Kelly Stemcosky is an award-winning writer who works as a newspaper page editor/designer. A Tioga County native, she spends most of her free time volunteering for animal-related causes and hanging out with her family and cats.

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If These Walls Could Talk

It Wouldn’t Be Main Street Wellsboro Without the Penn Wells

The heartbeat of small-town America was once Main Street, and the weekly outing to town was quite the social event for many a resident. A stroll through downtown Wellsboro today provides glimpses of that earlier life, one where you could buy groceries at various markets (vegetable, meat, and fish), purchase sundries at the general store, stop by the shoemaker for new soles, or perhaps conduct a bit of business at the bank or post office. Rich in history and style, Wellsboro’s Main Street has stood the test of time, even if the businesses have changed. One of its notable buildings and businesses is the Penn Wells Hotel at 62 Main Street, a downtown staple since 1926.

The current structure was built in 1869; however there has been a tavern, inn, or hotel on that corner since 1816. After a fire in 1866 burned the original building, the property sat vacant for three years until A.P. Cone

purchased it and constructed the building we see today. The first guests to the Cone House, as it was called, were not visitors here for leisure but workers in Wellsboro’s local industries. After Cone’s death, the hotel changed hands and names a few times—Holiday Inn (1873), Parkhurst House (late 1870s), and the Coles House (1885).

In 1896, major renovations were made to the hotel, including refacing of the original brick, painting the woodwork red, installing tin on the leaky hotel roof, and opening a new barroom. Ten years later, on a cold March morning, a fire would claim the hotel’s fourth floor and damage the other three.

The hotel was sold again in 1921, becoming the Wellsboro Inn. Improvements by the new owner were never completed, and in October of 1925, the doors were once again shuttered.

“The hotel was in danger of being torn

down at this point. A group of community members formed the Wellsboro Hotel Company, with hopes of preventing its demise,” explains Ellen Dunham Bryant, who, today, is president of that company. Among them were Leonard Harrison, Horace Packer, and Roy Dunham (local business owner and Ellen’s great-grandfather). Their efforts paid off and a complete renovation soon began, along with a new moniker: The Penn Wells Hotel.

“The hotel has two parts, the early period from 1876-1926, and from 1926 to the present,” says Ellen. The 1920s saw the era of Art Deco, which influenced the design and style of the interior. Hexagon tiles in the lobby, mahogany wood, and simple, clean lines throughout welcomed travelers to the area. The Penn Wells prospered and soon became a destination instead of just a stopping point along the Roosevelt Highway/Route 6

See Walls on page 20

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Carolyn Straniere Tucked away: Friends gather at the Penn Wells Lounge, where casual elegance never gets old.
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(which connected Chicago and New York), even during the Depression.

Regular bus service from New York City (a nine-and-a-half-hour bus ride at the time), along with trains from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, carried passengers to the Penn Wells. Even celebrities, the likes of Groucho Marx and Joan Crawford, enjoyed a bit of respite here.

“Back in 1926, Prohibition was in place, so the lounge was called the Assembly Room. It was where the Rotary held their meetings and locals gathered,” explains Ellen. “It didn’t become a lounge as we know it until 1937, even though Prohibition ended in December 1933. The stigma of women being in a bar lessened after Prohibition, and the lounge was never just a men’s-only venue.”

In 1931, the lounge got its focal point— the fireplace.

“When there’s a chill in the air outside and the fire is roaring inside, the best place to be is sitting in the lounge, enjoying the warmth of the fireplace,” says Shawn Bryant, Ellen’s husband and CEO of the company. “What’s nice about the lounge is that it’s tucked away from the main lobby, so it’s a bit

quieter and a great place to relax.”

There were repairs and updates to the lounge over the years, such as the addition of televisions in the 1950s, but nothing like the undertaking of 2020.

“It was more preservation than renovation,” explains Ellen. “We wanted to make it how it would have been back then.” Since the building is over 150 years old, that presented its own set of challenges.

“We wanted to be cognizant of keeping it how it was. However, materials used in the 1920s aren’t readily available now,” Ellen says. “How do you find mahogany that was locally sourced back then in today’s world?” But they did, possibly from the same timber pile.

Part of the recent renovation included replacing the fire brick and redoing the flooring. The bar itself got an upgrade as well. “It’s an L shape now, which added more seating, and the top is a beautiful black granite, reminiscent of the marble from the 1930s,” Ellen says.

Where old wallpaper in a bookshelf pattern had been, today you’ll see real bookshelves. The familiar beer steins have found a new home nestled there, and it all gives the room an even cozier vibe.

After decades of changes on Main Street, the Penn Wells Hotel has remained an anchor throughout. “We are part of Historic Hotels of America, a program dedicated to preserving historic integrity and architecture,” Ellen says. They were given that recognition in 2017, one of only 295 hotels in the country to have earned that title. No doubt the lounge played a role in that designation.

“It’s part of the entire travel experience— to sit, grab a bite to eat, and savor the atmosphere of an era gone by,” Shawn notes. “No wonder the lounge is still a favorite gathering place for travelers and locals alike.”

Find out more at (570) 724-2111, on Facebook, or pennwells.com. Winter lounge hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to close; spring/summer hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 4 p.m. to close. Close times vary.

Born in the Bronx, Carolyn Straniere grew up in northern New Jersey, and has called Wellsboro home for over twenty-four years, where she enjoys spending time with her grandkids and traveling. Carolyn lives with her four-legged wild child, Jersey, and daydreams of living on the beach in her old age.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Main Family Businesses Make Montoursville Resilient

Main Street, Montoursville, is Broad, both in name and size. Michael Callahan, Sr., hanging out in his son’s shop, Callahan’s Antiquities, at 381 Broad, says that early in the nineteenth century, the name of the street was Main, but was changed long ago. So long ago that John Franklin Meginness, in his 1892 History of Lycoming County , only used the name “Broadway” in referring to the principal business street in the county’s largest borough, geographically speaking. And it’s a good thing that General John Burrows, considered to be the borough’s founder, laid out a wide street, one that a century later could be U.S. Route 220. When the bypass was built decades ago, the big trucks and bumper to bumper traffic disappeared, making Broad Street charming.

It’s a long business district, over a mile and a half, interspersed with houses and churches. Someone new to the area could drive down the street and think (with the exception of the western end, which looks more like a small town’s business district) that it is simply a disjointed group of businesses. Looks are deceiving. When a person with deep roots in the area talks about the street, the family connections in these businesses becomes obvious. Michael Callahan, owner of Callahan’s Antiquities, describes the street’s current shops by referring to the former owners and the relationships between what is now there and what was. For example, the Goodwill, at 361 Broad, is where Boyle’s Department Store used to be, and the former Rainbow Market is now The Tattoo Shoppe, at 1220 Broad. The Christmas tree, now on

the Hutchinson Realty property and lighted by donations, is a tradition from 1947, when the property was owned by Sylvania. For many locals, it’s still called the Sylvania tree, though both Carol Cable, the company that purchased the Sylvania property, and Hutchinson have maintained the tradition with the borough.

Sprinkled throughout are the places that have not moved or changed, but have simply been passed down through families. These include Johnson’s Café, which opened in 1963 at 334 Broad, and Rosencrans’ Bakery, founded in 1956, with all baking on the premises and now open Thursday through Saturday at 345 Broad. The Blaise Alexander dealership has changed from selling Chevys to Subarus, but still sits proudly at 933 Broad.

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Family protects their own: Montoursville’s Broad Street is full of family-owned businesses, keeping the money and the decisions local. Steve Bagwell

One of the anchors on the east side of the borough is Elery W. Nau hardware, which has been at the same location, 917 Broad, since 1948. This is a business that boasts two generations of the Nau family. It was founded by Elery and his wife, Betty, and passed down to son Tom, daughter Patricia, and son-in-law Gary Oechler. Originally focused on electrical appliances and electrical service, it has become the kind of hardware store that every town wishes it had. Whether it’s hardware, electrical, plumbing, lawn and garden, or paint, the quality of both the products and the service provided makes it easier to do the chores around the house. This year brought a big change to Nau’s, as Tom and Gary have decided to sell. Normally, that would mean an upheaval in a business, but, in this case, the family sold the business to the store’s employees. As Paul Early, one of the new owners, says, “We didn’t want to lose this icon in Montoursville.” Together with Carrie Bennett and Jeff Allegrucci, they are the “new” management, but have been serving the town for years. The plan for the future? “It stays the way it is,” Paul says.

That might be the slogan for this Main Street. It weathered the rise of the malls in the 1970s east of the town. The empty storefronts and family businesses that went out in other places didn’t happen here. The recent pandemic, another business killer, mostly passed Montoursville by. “I don’t think we lost anyone during the pandemic,” Michael Callahan notes.

There are changes, but often the change is from one family business to another. The Callahans took over a barber/beauty shop for their antique store decades ago, making that location the home for another successful family business. Cellini’s Subs was a mainstay in the borough for decades, with an iconic blue and yellow sign. Last November, the sign changed to aqua and gold as Riss’s Place moved in to 378 Broad. The business came with its own family tradition, as Lori and Evan Mumma, owners of a sub shop in Muncy and a restaurant in Loyalsockville, open a second location in their hometown. Earlier this year, a sub shop with a long tradition in Williamsport’s Newberry section, Mileto’s, moved into the old Sunshine 6-Packs & Subs spot at 1244 Broad. Kristi Ardrey, greatgranddaughter of Mileto’s sub shop founder, had been looking for a new location for a couple of years.

“I love Montoursville—it’s the perfect place!” she says. By the second day of business at the new location, Kristi announced that one of the most loved subs of the old Sunshine, a seafood sub, is now on Mileto’s menu. Great-grandmother Mary Mileto would be proud.

But new people and new businesses can thrive, as well. Lee Ash, owner of Sonic Ascension on the west end of the street, 128 Broad, hails from Benton. With thousands of CDs, vinyl, and even cassettes, he also offers a “$1 Room” with thousands of albums and 45s. Hobo the dog is the official greeter. The emphasis is on vinyl, and he is always buying.

“I was looking for a storefront and this is the best spot,” Lee says. “It’s a nice town.”

With a bedrock of family businesses and steeped in tradition, Montoursville’s Main Street has room for old and new. Michael Callahan sums it up: “Shops here are not owned by companies from somewhere else. That means that no one outside of here can close you down.”

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Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, appraiser, and writer in Avis, Pennsylvania.

people lived here, and some died here, all in the small, wooden homes just above these rock-lined basements.

Mapping Stories

Shirley Welch and her husband, Richard, live on Welch Mountain Road. Generations of Welches have farmed land on the other side of the ridge from Fall Brook, and the story of selling potatoes to the residents of Fall Brook has been passed down in the family. They were not the only farming family to interact with the miners. During a visit to Fall Brook in 1864, company owner John Magee discovered that miners from Morris Run, a competing company, were living in Fall Brook homes and some Fall Brook miners were living in Morris Run. Magee did not take kindly to this and demanded that the Morris Run miners vacate. They refused and were supported by Fall Brook miners and their relatively new union. The Tioga County sheriff assembled a posse of 200 to 300 yeomen—local farm boys—and attempted to force eviction.

The miners banded together and trounced the local farm boys. Magee appealed to the Pennsylvania governor who subsequently sent the Bucktails, a local volunteer regiment of Civil War soldiers. The miners, knowing that they had met their match this time, backed down, and watched their Morris Run neighbors carted off with all their worldly possessions. Their new union was dissolved.

Annette Thompson, one of the directors at the Coal Festival Museum, helped me excavate through a ton of information the late Keith Lindie had collected. Keith was an avid local historian, and he’d saved every scrap of information he came across regarding Blossburg and Fall Brook. As Annette and I were leaving the museum’s storage facility, I turned to face the door and hit the motherload. Hanging there on the wall next to the door was a framed, utterly beautiful, hand-drafted map of Fall Brook Borough. Red, blue, and black ink on yellowed canvas. I was glued to the spot.

I begged Annette to allow me to open the frame to see if there was any information

on the back of the map that might provide insight into who made it and why. Annette trusted me with it over my Christmas break, but, unfortunately, there was no additional information. I scanned the map, making a digital copy for myself and the Coal Festival Museum. Did I already say it was a beautiful map? It was also the most detailed I’d seen, illustrating the location of barns, carpenter shops, tin shops, blacksmith shops, sawmill, residences, schools, churches, and the drifts— the openings to the mines. The streets were named. The buildings were numbered and now I knew the addresses, even though they no longer exist. The world that the Fall Brook miners lived and worked in was more alive to me. This was the best gift ever. Santa’s got nothing on Mr. Lindie!

The British Are Going

If they were to suddenly reappear today, these Fall Brook residents would not recognize the valley, my Fall Brook valley. Their valley

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See Fall Brook on page 32
Fall Brook continued from page
13
Don’t call this just a pile of rocks: Linda Kennedy can read lives in this leftover cellar.
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Field Notes

Where the Pavement Ends

Okay, so this is not a main street. I remember the first time I saw an unpaved road. I had spent the first decade of my life in New York City where green grass was regulated to a handful of parks. But the summer I turned eleven my father decided to venture into Pennsylvania in hopes of finding a way out of that concrete jungle. We stopped at a real estate office along Route 6 in Towanda and asked to look at land for sale. The agent said we could ride along to put For Sale signs up on a new listing outside of town. We piled into his pickup and away we went.

As we rode along the agent answered a ton of our questions. And then he turned off the paved road. It probably was a non-event to him, but, to me, it was like leaping through a door into another world. No pavement?!

Did they run out? Was it under construction? Were we even allowed to be driving here? As the dust plume eradicated my view out the back window, I felt like we’d just entered the Wild West and were pioneering to some unseen frontier.

My family bought that property that same day. Thirty-some acres tucked about a

mile back on a tree-lined, one-car-at-a-time dirt road. There were two dairy farms and five houses on that road. It saw more cows than cars. It was exactly what we were looking for.

There were a ton of adjustments ahead of me. In the city, I was pretty used to riding my bike to see my friends, and I knew the “safe” routes and where the traffic let you cross the avenue. But out here, I had a whole new set of challenges.

First were the hills! You don’t have hills when riding a bike in the city. What would have been an easy one-mile ride turned into a leg-burning-have-to-walk-it workout that made my legs shake. But then on the other side…going down the hill on a bike with pencil thin tires hitting rocks that felt the size of footballs…well that was just plain terrifying. And those were your two choices on our dirt road. You were either walking up a hill or flying down a hill. There were no flat spots anywhere on those two miles.

At least there were no cars to worry about. But it didn’t take you long to know to slow down going past the neighbor’s farm. The cows crossed the road there and sometimes left their

“pies.” Hit that going 15 mph and your pant legs would never smell the same.

I still live on that dirt road. Although I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, I still get that twinge of excitement when I turn off the blacktop. We have so many absolutely beautiful dirt roads in our area. Stunning views around one corner and serene meadows the next. Some carve through forested areas that make you feel like you are that pioneer, blazing the trail for others. Yes, there is dust and mud and rocks that clank under your car to remind you to slow down. That’s part of the magic. Go explore. See where that little road takes you. All sorts of great adventures start where the pavement ends.

David Nowacoski grew up on a farm in East Smithfield and lives just down the road a bit from it still, where he runs WindStone Landing Farms and Delivered Fresh (DeliveredFresh. Store) with his wife (and high school sweetheart), Marla. He made his kids pick rocks from the garden and believes that sometimes a simple life is a more wise way to go.

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The Truth about Trumansburg

Come for the Vittles, Stay for the Vibe

On a late winter afternoon, Trumansburg’s sunny Main Street, otherwise known as New York State Route 96, bustles with people and cars. In a traffic lull, the strains of an unseen bagpiper can be heard across Trumansburg Creek. The sunny atmosphere owes little to the weather. It’s more what natives and visitors sometimes call the Trumansburg “vibe.”

At the east end of the village, just past the school, the fairgrounds are the venue for the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in July, and in August the Trumansburg Fair. At the west end of the business district is the village park, host for Trumansburg’s farmer’s market each Wednesday, May through October. Between them is a thriving business district, somewhat concentrated in a four-block area between Washington Street and South Street, though residents are quick to point out there’s a lot more to see hidden in plain sight.

It’s been said many times that Trumansburg has three sorts of residents blended into one cohesive community. There

are families whose names are immortalized on street signs. Others are affiliated with one of the area’s many colleges, but prefer a rural lifestyle to an urban one. And then there are those who just sort of arrived and decided to stay.

“We’re the third category,” jokes Cornell professor Sam Nelson, whose wife, retired physician Veronica Guiry, owns One Green Horse books at 9 East Main. A sign on the door explains the store is open “Open by appointment, invitation & by serendipity.” When the open sign is out, it’s well worth a visit.

“We always wanted a bookstore, and we found the perfect spot and a perfect landlord,” he says. Above burnished oak shelves of carefully curated used books is a gallery of photos taken by his landlord, Ben Guthrie. Outside there’s decorative ironwork ornamenting the shop front. This witty storyin-iron created by retired local blacksmith Durand Van Doren follows the day of a happy bird nesting above a flower-decked clock tower who begins the day with coffee,

has a cup of tea in the afternoon, and a mug of beer at five. More of Durand’s ironwork can be seen ornamenting the balcony and patio overlooking the creek behind the Trumansburg branch of Gimme Coffee, 7 East main, which Ben describes as “the community’s living room.”

Trumansburg, from its earliest beginnings, specialized in farm-to-table cuisine. A few years after Abner Treman (the town named for Abner was officially changed from Tremansburg to Trumansburg by the post office in 1811) took possession of his Revolutionary War land grant here, the town boasted mills, mercantiles, churches, farms, and a plethora of inns, hotels, and taverns— too many, one historian noted a century ago. Today, from the Falls Tavern at the town’s east end to Ron Don’s (the juicy, thick burgers are recommended) and the Atlas Bowling Alley at the west end, the town abounds in amazing places to eat.

Main Street Market, at 21 East Main, is a place to get fresh organic produce, breads from the renowned Wide Awake Bakery, and

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Take a bow: Feel free to fiddle around at Main Street Market in Trumansburg. Courtesy Trumansburg Chamber of Commerce

a snack to take home to augment your dinner—or dinner itself. “I love coming here,” says Ithaca resident Helena Cooper, who drove to Trumansburg to take photographs of then-frozen Taughannock Falls. “It has such character, and the food they offer is always changing.”

“We’re rural but not out of touch,” says chef Matt Hummel, a native son who purchased Hazelnut Kitchen, at 53 East Main, late last year. “This is a very intelligent community.” Also one, he notes, that appreciates food made the old-fashioned way, from scratch. He makes his own breads, pastas, and butter, and says, “Everything has a local slant—apart from the seafood.”

On the other side of the street, at 4 West Main, a red-whiteand-blue sign indicates Creekside Café, where legendary and hearty breakfast and lunch is served for eating in or taking out on baguettes, buns, rolls, focaccia, or gluten-free bread.

“Some of the best bistro food you’ll find anywhere,” Ben says.

Fabrizio Gangi, owner of New York Pizzeria at 2 West Main, came to Trumansburg straight from Italy twenty years ago for love, this after meeting his American wife when she traveled through Italy. He bought the pizzeria seventeen years ago and has created several pizzas that have become locally popular, including his chicken-andbacon combo and a Spanish-influenced pizza featuring feta cheese.

At 49 East Main you can find more Mediterranean foods at Little Venice, including a variety of classic Italian foods featuring homemade pasta, submarines, wraps, burgers, and sandwiches.

Garrett’s Brewing Company, 1 West Main, is where the housebrewed beers and locally-produced cider and soft drinks complement a menu that seems, in part, to pay homage to the former Rongovian Embassy, a bar and eatery that occupied this space for more than forty years. If you didn’t already know it, you’d find out from the inscribed plaque set into the sidewalk, which identifies what was behind many of the storefronts in earlier times.

One institution that seems to have been around nearly forever is the Gemm Shop, a resale shop at 17 West Main that was established in 1970 to fund band uniforms. These days the volunteer-operated store raises upwards of $28,000 annually, donated back into a variety of community projects. Donations and consignments tend to be good quality and sometimes unusual; they’re mostly clothing but also housewares, Halloween costumes, and jewelry.

At 51 East Main, the other end of town, is the Homespun Boutique, a yarn and sewing supply business that flourished in Ithaca for nearly fifty years until proprietor Julie Schroeder opted to relocate. Enthusiastic customers followed, and new ones found her.

“Everyone is welcoming,” says Julie, who sees her role, in part, as helping people on the path of their projects.

There are always more places to explore, including occasionallyopen second floor artist studios where people are quietly crafting products that travel the world, an airy, welcoming library, and a playground built like a kid-sized village with a bell children can ring.

“There’s a lot of overlapping circles and a lot of pride,” Ben says. “And when you hear that bell ring, you know it’s a vital community because there are kids here, too.”

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 needlework books.  Her work has also appeared in several fiction and nonfiction anthologies.

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And Over in Andover...

...You’ll Find a Village in a Town in the Southern Tier

Walking into Main Street

Emporium at 44 South Main in Andover is like walking into the house next door. You know, the one where those interesting people live. It’s welcoming, comfortable, somewhat eclectic, and the prospects are decent that you’ll end up with a good, hot cup of coffee and something yummy to eat. On this day, the offerings include tomato/basil soup, grilled ham and cheese, grilled turkey and cheese, and a savory chicken/veggie/rice wrap. There are baked beans in the oven, and Wellsboro’s Highland Chocolates are available for purchase at the register. If you’re puzzled when you come in through the front door (it really is as though you’re entering someone’s dining room), the people already there will direct you to the

cups and the help-yourself-to-java station.

The big old building housing the Emporium used to be a newspaper office— home of the Andover News , says Dave Thorp, who runs the Emporium with his wife, Mel. They bought it around twenty years ago as they were getting ready to retire from jobs as traffic controllers (i.e. flaggers). The thought at the time, he recalls, was “Oh, should we make a stupid move?” The couple has other obligations, some of them familial, so they can’t keep the business open all the time; it’s best to call (607) 478-5009 before you head over. But when it is open, it’s a bit of a hot spot.

“We call it a service organization,” Mel says, keeping a weather eye on those baked beans. Dave, meanwhile, talks about the walls of old pictures in the room at the back

of the building, pictures that show some of the Andover that used to be. Lots of the old buildings are gone, he says. There was a train station that was disassembled and rebuilt somewhere else, there was a hotel that burned, there were silk mills that are now gone, there were once a hundred dairies in the surrounding community, but the milk plant is now closed. The theater with the second-floor ballroom, however, is now a thriving mini-mart.

“It’s like a lot of small towns,” in that “regular Main Street businesses,” started losing customers and declining, says Steve Walker, who owns and operates the wildly successful Walker Metalsmiths. His shop, at 4 South Main, is just down Andover’s short Main Street—you can see it from the Emporium’s front porch. He’s back from a

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(3) Gayle Morrow The Main Street Emporium: Mel Thorp, the empress of the Emporium, welcomes visitors (left); the porch makes a nice spot to have breakfast; Steve Walker pours himself some Emporium coffee (right).

gem show in Tucson, Arizona, and has stopped in the Emporium for coffee, food, and a meeting. He reminisces with Dave about the old pictures and the places they show that aren’t here anymore. Steve returned to Andover in 1984, and says “that was probably Main Street at its worst.”

But good news—“Since then, it seems like every year somebody improves something,” Steve continues.

He gives as one example the physical therapy office next to his own Celtic jewelry shop. It’s not a traditional retail business, but it works as a Main Street storefront, bringing people into the downtown and keeping a building open and thriving.

Andover, which is a village in the town of the same name, was first settled around 1807, incorporated in 1892 (the town had been formed in 1824), and sits at the junction of New York State Route 21 (Main Street) and New York State Route 417, in Allegany County. It’s a fairly straight shot and about an hour’s drive from here to Corning, and some folks do live in Andover and commute to the Crystal City. Native sons include Thomas Allen, a politician who became secretary of state for Wisconsin, and Patrick Henry “Patsy” Dougherty, an outfielder who was the first major league player to hit two home runs in a World Series game. The village is something of a bedroom community for Wellsville, Hornell, and Alfred, Steve muses, but there are several little “almost invisible,” albeit successful, businesses on its nearlytwo-block Main Street. Those include a property leasing company, a place that manufactures some of the products needed to make candles, and a business that makes ceramic cookware from shale originating from nearby Alfred.

The more observable (you can stand at one end of the street and see to the other end) Main Street businesses include Gaylord Guns and Ammo, at 34 S. Main; the Village Pub, at 5 Main, which has continuously been a restaurant for over 100 years; the library; a couple of hair salons; and, at 20 Main, Andover Medical Center, which is a satellite of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital. Steve says that another building, now in the throes of a restoration and re-purposing, will soon become a restaurant.

“Down around the corner is a really good hardware store,” he adds. The Andover Central School District buildings are just east of Main Street, and that proximity helps with “village vitality.” The first Maple Festival since covid is scheduled for April at the school.

“There really isn’t much of a vacant building situation on Main Street right now,” he continues. “I think we’re doing better than most. The main thing is to keep the heritage of the buildings intact and keep them useful and viable. We need to find a way to stabilize it [Main Street] and keep it attractive.”

A community’s “attractiveness scale” is based on more than one thing. Steve points out that “everybody keeps their sidewalks clear,” and that “there are no horrible eyesores,” factors which are, of course, important. But more important are the people and their relationships with one another. He relates a real estate story that happened a few years ago—it involved a complicated exchange of Main Street and other downtown properties, and the sincere desires of the individuals involved to ensure the community ultimately benefited.

“Everybody just trusted everybody,” he says, and everything worked out fine.

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Fall Brook continued

24 was treeless, every tree a valuable resource, cut to build a town and a mine complex. It might seem quiet to them, as their valley was noisy with the rush of coal tumbling down three-story high chutes into waiting empty carriages of whistling Fall Brook Company steam engines. Their valley was filled with smoke from pot-bellied stoves, the steam powered sawmill, and drift engines used to haul coal to the surface. My valley has grown a new generation of trees, and invited beaver back to build dams.

It has been 164 years since the Fall Brook valley was initially surveyed for coal. Between 1858 and 1900, mining here resulted in the clearing of a forest, establishment of a small town, a wash of British and Irish mining families, and finally abandonment. Most Fall Brook residents moved on to other local mine towns, others moved farther west, and some may have returned to their native countries. But some lived out their last days in the valley and remain there still. When I revisit the cemetery now, I am much more keenly aware of Fall Brook’s former residents. How many times did they walk behind a horse-drawn cart along this very path to bury a friend, neighbor, spouse, or child? I walk alongside them now, following their footsteps into that small cemetery and, when I do, I speak to those I know came from Scotland but who never left—I speak to them quietly in their native tongue and hope it provides some comfort so far from home. Because these are my people, my people in Tioga County.

Linda Kennedy lives with her husband and bassett hound in Wellsboro and teaches geosciences and archaeology at Commonwealth UniversityMansfield Campus. To unwind she knits and plays with glitter. Special thanks goes to Joyce Tice, Shirley Welch, Annette Thompson, LouAnn Rumsey, Mike Krystoff, and Heather Dietrich for their help researching this story.

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BACK OF THE MOUNTAIN

Bridge to Spring

This way, beckons the sun on the other side of the arch bridge at mile 4.3 on the Pine Creek Rail Trail. Whether walking or pedaling, something always pulls me farther than I’d planned, and I’m rewarded by new colors and textures in a place I’ve been many times before. Wild spaces are never routine.

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NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED.

AND THEIR FAMILIES.

UPMC Williamsport, part of the UPMC Magee-Womens network, has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a High Performing Hospital for Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy). But the greater honor will always be the trust that generations of women and their families have placed in us. To learn more, visit UPMC.com/WomensHealthNCPA.

BUT OUR GREATEST HONOR IS CARING FOR WOMEN
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