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New Brighton Historical Society

By Frances McDanel

Milestones Vol 1. No 2 Spring 1975

With a membership of 150, the New Brighton Historical Society is one of the county's largest such groups. It was organized April 17, 1967 at a meeting in the Merrick Complex where Robert Merrick, great nephew of the founder of the Merrick Art Gallery, graciously offered the society a room for its meetings and display of relics.

Dr. A. E. Chadwick was the first president. He was succeeded by John W. Mowry, who was followed by Dr. Kenneth M. McPherson. Serving with Dr. McPherson as 1974-75 officers have been Mrs. W. M. Gault, vice president; Mrs. L. W. McDanel, recording secretary; Miss Elizabeth Shelar, corresponding secretary; Miss Edna McDanel, treasurer; and Roland Kenah, Charles Wright, Miss Alice Hartman, Mr. Mowry, Mrs. Fred Senior and Mrs. Theodore Dalbey, directors. Committee chairmen are Dr. Chadwick, finance; Herman Alexander, property; Miss Eleanor Coss, membership; Mrs. Roland Kenah, quarterly news letter; Mrs. Gault, program; Mrs. John Horter, bicentennial observance, and Mrs. Jack Johnson, hospitality.

The Society meets the fourth Tuesday of each month, September through May. Outside the door of the meeting room a small poster designed by Mrs. Dalbey appears each month announcing the upcoming program. She has made 60 such signs.

During the years extensive improvements have been made to the quarters and displays are continually being enlarged. Mrs. A. E. Chadwick is curator.

Creation of a memorial fund and donations from members recently made possible the acquisition of a large number of needed chairs.

May 27, 1969, members attended the dedication of the "White Cottage", historical marker honoring Grace Greenwood, 19th century author, poet and newspaper correspondent, at 1221 Third Avenue. Her home is now the rectory of Christ Episcopal Church. The marker was erected by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Among speakers were Dr. Chadwick, Mrs. Kenah, authority on the author, and James Raymond Warren Sr. who instigated securing the marker.

April 8, 1973 when a plaque was erected at the Merrick Gallery by the Beaver County Historical Research Et Landmarks Foundation, the New Brighton society was in charge of the program and several members took part. Funded by county commissioners, the plaque is located outside the gallery which houses a collection of French, German, English and American paintings of the 18th and 19th century collected by the founder James Dempster Merrick, New Brighton industrialist, during his extensive travels.

Meetings feature addresses on national, state, county and borough history, slide presentations, displays by members and guests, etc. Various tours to places of historic interest have been taken. Members participated in the genealogical workshop in 1973 and the historical symposium at Penn State campus in 1974.

Plans for the society's observance of the nation's birthday anniversary are in the hands of Mrs. Horter's committee, whose recommendations for a number of possible projects in cooperation with the borough's planning commission, have been unanimously approved.