Lykens & Wiconisco Historical Society seeks growth
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    Lykens & Wiconisco Historical Society seeks growth

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    PHOTO Lykens Fall Festival visitors scan old photographs of Wiconisco, Lykens Glen Park, and the mining industry provided by the Lykens & Wiconisco Historical Society. Russel Bingaman of Tower City also brought his 1923 Model-T Ford to display during the event. The society, which is seeking new members, has been sprucing up its headquarters at the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall, 628 N. Second St., Lykens.

    LYKENS - A new organization seeks members and has been working to establish a permanent home to preserve history related to the Lykens and Wiconisco areas in northern Dauphin County.

    Sally Reiner, president of the newly-formed Lykens & Wiconisco Historical Society, welcomes input from the public.

    Reiner said the group is working on obtaining its 501-C3 non-profit status, and has worked to fix the water system and clean and paint the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall, where the group hopes to establish its eventual headquarters at 628 N. Second St., Lykens.
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    Besides Reiner, other society office holders are: Carl Slough Jr., vice president; Cathy Bopp, secretary; and Guy Bellon, treasurer. Betty Craft serves as membership chairperson.

    "Since 8th grade, local history was my passion," said Reiner, who has filled 65 albums with local newspaper clippings about Lykens and Wiconisco that she's saved. History gathered includes stories and photos about local school bands, choruses, sports teams, mining industry, businesses, military and local parks. Reiner's Lykens home has also been the storage area for historical memorabilia throughout the years. The drive to establish a local historical society had been considered and tried before, and just recently took hold once again.

    Reiner said she had some helpful members in the community who were willing to assist her with launching the society, and other citizens have submitted items they would like included in the historic collection.

    Traditionally, the group has convened at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the GAR Hall, since re-grouping in April 2010. However, depending on the severity of the weather, the group may meet in the Senior Citizen Center at the Lykens Borough Hall building during the upcoming winter months, until the GAR site is completed.

    Currently, the GAR Hall - a two-story, stone facility - belongs to Lykens Borough, according to Reiner. The building the society hopes to make its own home has historical significance itself.

    Planning for construction of the GAR structure began in 1848, crews starting building it in 1850, and tenants eventually occupied it in 1852 when it was first established as a church, she said. Over the years, the building has served in many capacities, as a library, a school, a hospital during an influenza epidemic, and as a meeting place for Civil War veterans, Reiner said.

    The upstairs of the GAR Hall includes a high ceiling with plenty of space for display, Reiner said, and the back room would be a perfect area to conduct research.

    To get the word out about their fund-raising efforts and membership drive, the society was scheduled to participate in the Lykens and Wiconisco Halloween Parades. Members also sold home-made chicken corn noodle soup at the Lykens Fall Festival at Glen Park on October 8.

    Tentatively, the society is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8. You do not have to reside in either community to become a member of the Lykens & Wiconisco Historical Society. Anyone interested in joining for a $10 annual membership fee, may attend a future meeting, or write: Lykens & Wiconisco Historical Society, P.O. Box 62, Lykens, PA 17048



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