'Thursday's Page' By Judy Rose
July 13, 2006
Nant-Y-Glo Tri-Area Museum
and Historical Society acquires
The Nant-Y-Glo Tri-Area Museum and Historical Society has acquired the former Community Center building, also known as the former Liberty Theater, as its new home. Blacklick Valley Community Association, Inc., president Ronald Rozsi, treasurer Nancy Cruely, and secretary Betty Lou Swanhart signed a resolution donating their organization's former building on Shoemaker Street to the historical society on June 26. The three Community Center board members comprise the association's last extant board.
The association purchased the building in February, 1974, from John T. Hayes, who stipulated that the association could turn the building over to only another nonprofit group.
Historical Society member Donna Davis, who researched the lot the building stands on and the building itself, reported that In 1912-1913 the lot was occupied by the Maxwell hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1918. A theater was built on the property in 1920-21, and the May 8, 1921, edition of The Journal, contains an advertisement for the Grand Theater at that address. The theater was rename the Family Theater in August 1936, and again as the Liberty Theater Theater in May 1941.
John T. Hayes of Commons Hardware acquired the property in September 1961 and sold it to the Blacklick Valley Community Association Inc. in 1974. Nanty Glo Senior Citizens used the building in 1995 and 1996 and the Food Panty currently uses part of it for storage.
Mrs. Janet Toth, Historical Society President said, "I'm happy about this because it's one of the last historical buildings in town. We have high hopes for this building. A lot of people put a lot of effort into getting this building for us, and for that we are eternally grateful."
Historical Society board member and local historian Bill Martin is very enthusiastic about the future the acquisition of this building opens up for the local Museum and Historical Society. "It enables us to finally take all the treasures people have donated to the society and put them on display for people to come and see. There are two or three generations who do not know about the coal mining that once was the life-blood of this valley. I think it will also provide an opportunity for the older residents to see some of the things from their childhood....jog their memories and lead to discussions with their children and grandchildren about what life was like in the Blacklick Valley."
The extensive collection of NTAMHS holdings have been in storage in the second story of the Nanty Glo Public Library since it began collecting items since its founding in 2000. Visit the NTAMHS home page for additional information about the society, its history and activities of the past six years.
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