Salem Historical Society Celebrates 70 Years July 29

SALEM, Ohio – The Salem Historical Society is observing its 70th anniversary by hosting an old fashioned porch party, celebrating “70 and Strong” from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Everyone is invited to the party, which will have food and music.

Those attending can tour theexhibits between four serving stations near each building’s porch. Stations will be on South Lundy, Dale Shaffer Way, East Pershing, or Broadway Streets. The party will be held rain or shine.

On the evening of the society’s founding in 1947, Roy Wells Harris and Frank Yengling organized a community meeting at the Memorial Building. The group voted to start a society and to find a permanent home to preserve and display historic memorabilia. 42 charter members were enrolled.

For the next 23 years, members collected and stored artifacts in garages, barns, and attics all over town, according to the society. In 1970, Caroline Lehwald was appointed to search for a building to house the collection. The American Legion building was briefly considered but eliminated after speaking to Ray Pearce, a member of both the legion and the society.

In 1971, Lehwald was to be named president of the society. According to Dale Shaffer, at 5:30 p.m. just before the December meeting, Pearce called her at home and asked if she would like the building located north of the Methodist Church. Lehwald thought about how the money would be raised to pay for it, which she replied, “Is it historical?” He answered, “I don’t know if it is historical, but I bought it for you today.” The 1882 doctor’s residence at 208 S. Broadway opened on April 30, 1971, during Founder’s Week and was dedicated in memory of Elizabeth Pearce, Ray’s wife.

A building fund committee conducted a year-long campaign and raised enough by November 1975 to purchase the Schell building, next-door at 202 S. Broadway. It was annexed to the Pearce building and opened during the bicentennial in 1976. A new meeting space, the McKeown-Frankensteen addition was dedicated in 1979. Freedom Hall, a replica of Liberty Hall, was built on E. Pershing St. and opened in April 1988. Most recently, the Dale Shaffer Research Library opened in 2012, made possible by a bequest from its namesake, local historian, librarian and author. It also houses the society’s bookstore/gift shop, meeting space and offices.

Today the Salem Historical Society and Museum covers more than 60,000 square feet with more than 13,000 square feet of exhibit space.

It features a collection of items covering all aspects of local history. These include a car, plane, drones, boat, trailer, tractor, stoves, pumps, farm equipment, statues, paintings, military ordinance, a suit of armor, clothing, books, furniture, tools, and machinery made in Salem. Earliest treasures include a bible from 1556 and Quaker artifacts from the early 1800s.

 For more information, call the Salem Historical Society at 330 337 8514.

SOURCE: Salem Historical Society.

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