2018-08-30 / Front Page

FCHS Museum To Feature 19th Century Storefronts

Gives glimpse into past downtown commerce
By Cassidy Pittman
STAFF WRITER


Jared Diffenderfer, left, and Brain Davis of Bunch Construction install the original window of the Fulton Democrat into the new Historical Society Museum Annex display. The Fulton Democrat is one of the three storefront displays that will be completed by Sept. 30. Other displays will follow. “News” photo by Cassidy Pittman Jared Diffenderfer, left, and Brain Davis of Bunch Construction install the original window of the Fulton Democrat into the new Historical Society Museum Annex display. The Fulton Democrat is one of the three storefront displays that will be completed by Sept. 30. Other displays will follow. “News” photo by Cassidy Pittman The Fulton County Historical Society Museum Annex at 211 Lincoln Way East has started a makeover that will celebrate shops once open on the Lincoln Highway in downtown Mc- Connellsburg in the 1800s.

Taking community members and tourists back in time, the exhibits will be completed in two phases. Phase one of the remodel includes walk-in interpretive displays featuring the Fulton Democrat, Stoner’s Furniture, and Stoner’s Stove & Tinware Shoppe, and each storefront will display antiques from when the businesses were alive and well. Phase one is set to be completed by Sept. 30. In phase two, construction will begin on a post office/ general store and a hotel lobby front. A display of the Fulton Theatre from the 1920s will be in the back of building where a few of the original theatre seats will be on exhibit. Plans also include a movie screen that could show historical films, silent movies, and the like.

The Fulton County Historical Society (FCHS) was awarded two grants to help make these exhibits a reality. First, they were awarded a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Cultural and Historic Support 2016-2017 Program grant of $4,000 to design exhibits and cover related expenses. FCHS was also awarded a $10,000 ‘mini-grant’ by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (with funding originating with Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) toward the design/fabrication of interpretive exhibits at the FCHS Museum Annex.

“With the grants and our dedicated volunteers, we were able to make this upgrade possible,” Historical Society President Mark Sheffield commented.

“We just have a lot to be thankful for.”

For the phase one workshops, Stoner’s Furniture will feature tools used by store owner William Stoner. Chairs Stoner made by hand will also be showcased. In the 1800s Fulton County furniture makers each had a signature finial that identified the craftsman. A key to the finials and examples of Stoner’s and other makers’ chairs will be on display as well.

The Stoner’s Stove & Tinware Shoppe display will feature tools and work benches used in the original workshop. For a limited time, Historical Society’s Glen Cordell will have on display some of the tin hats created for a long-ago McConnellsburg town celebration.

The Fulton County Democrat’s storefront will feature one of the newspaper’s original presses from 1850, as well as an original block typesetter and work table. It will also feature newspaper clippings from that time. The Historical Society hopes to be able to offer children at the Fall Folk Festival the experience of setting a ‘flyer’ with the original brass equipment to help them understand how far technology has come.

The displays are being built on the left side of the building so that visitors can have an 19thcentury ‘walk through town’ experience. The right side will still feature antiques for sale.

The annex, a historical treasure itself, is already a designated Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor building. The LHHC covers a 200-mile stretch in Pennsylvania and is part of Heritage PA, an organization committed to celebrating and preserving historical sites.

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