Usually it’s the letter and not the post office that’s marked “return to sender” — but every now and again exceptions must be made.
In the case of the Pine Glen Post Office building, that’s exactly what’s happening.
The structure itself was established in Burnside Township, relocated to Moshannon in 1912 and disbanded entirely in 1940.
Now it will soon be on its way home again, thanks to the ongoing efforts of a group of impassioned locals who call themselves the Burnside Township Historical Society.
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“We’re just really small and just getting started,” Nancy Narehood Taylor, BTHS founder, said.
The society was the accidental byproduct of a book that Narehood Taylor is in the process of writing about — what else — the history of Burnside Township. Her grandparents came to the area in 1936, but the author had envisioned a garden with much deeper roots.
She put out the call to friends and people in the community — stories, photos, documents — Narehood Taylor wanted them all.
Everyone that’s involved in the society is just enthusiastic and supportive of this idea of really finding out your history.
Nancy Narehood Taylor
What she ended up with was a small army of common allies, other amateur historians with a long gaze that was locally focused.
“Everyone that’s involved in the society is just enthusiastic and supportive of this idea of really finding out your history,” Narehood Taylor said.
Delbert Meeks has been with the BTHS since the beginning — almost two years now. A curious guy with a pretty good memory to boot, Meeks said that membership in the society has exposed some gaps in his knowledge that he is keen to explore.
“My family history is from Burnside Township and that’s always been an interest of mine,” Meeks said.
The society collects donations of historical significance, not just the typical old documents or photographs, more tangible (and heavier) reminders of days gone past like farm implements.
Every new scrap of information they come across is a new piece of a bigger picture.
“I enjoy discovering new facts and some things that I thought I knew that subsequently turned out to be false,” Meeks said.
In small strokes, their mission is pretty simple: preserve as much history as they can in and around Burnside Township. The broad strokes — the kind that involve moving an entire building — are where things start to get a tad more complex.
Once the historical society raises enough money to move and restore the post office — probably some time in the spring — Robin Steffan, a contractor, will cut the two-story building right below the roofline.
It’s amazing what we’ve uncovered because Pine Glen is a small town and we really don’t have a lot of our historic buildings anymore.
The two halves of a whole will be moved separately to the same stretch of land where the Burnside Township community building already resides. There, with a little spit polish and elbow grease, it will eventually become a museum.
To help raise funding for the project, Steffan’s wife, Beth, is helping the society coordinate an Apple Butter Festival from noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Pine Glen Community Building.
Beth Steffan joined the BTHS shortly after developing an interest in old maps. She brings to the table both a keen sense of historical curiosity and one heck of an apple butter recipe.
“It’s something that was a tradition in my mother’s family for a long time,” Steffan said.
She estimates that it will take them about eight hours to turn 22 gallons of cider and three bushels of apples into 11 gallons worth of apple butter. Those in attendance will be invited to help stir the ingredients and the finished product will be available to purchase by the jar.
There will also be food and items for auction.
For Steffan, bringing the Pine Glen Post Office back home is about replacing something that the society has slowly been trying to recover over the last two years.
“It’s amazing what we’ve uncovered because Pine Glen is a small town and we really don’t have a lot of our historic buildings anymore,” Steffan said.
IF YOU GO
What: Apple Butter Festival fundraiser
When: noon-5 p.m. Nov. 12
Where: Pine Glen Community Building, Burnside Township
Info: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org