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P: 570.501.2784

First Federal Historical Society donationThe Greater Hazleton Historical Society received a $10,000 grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation that it will use to refurbish the two main doors at its museum located at 55 North Wyoming Street in Hazleton.

The Historical Society plans to use the grant money to pursue rehabilitative work to improve components of the museum’s façade, including refurbishing the main entrance and exit doors at the museum and installing tinted glass windows to preserve the museum’s artifacts.

Charles McElwee III, a board member of the Greater Hazleton Historical Society, said, “The Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum has maintained a strong community presence for nearly 35 years and has faithfully preserved and displayed our local history for the public to share in their cultural and industrial heritage. Through a variety of strategic initiatives, consistent programming, and preservation and revitalization efforts in the Greater Hazleton area, we have successfully maintained financial stability, increased revenue through fundraising, improved public outreach, and fostered invaluable community partnerships. The Historical Society’s vision is currently influenced by our deep commitment to the Greater Hazleton community and understanding of how we can become an important cultural pillar in our region. Through structural improvements to the Museum and a historic district project, we can carry out our historical role while also increasing our efforts to revitalize Hazleton.”

The Greater Hazleton Historical Society was organized to collect, renew, and restore historical artifacts and memorabilia from the Greater Hazleton area and display them for the educational and cultural benefit of the present and future residents of the area. The basic intent of the society is to meet the need to preserve the history of the area.

The museum, which houses the largest collection of historical artifacts in Northeastern Pennsylvania, sits at the former location of the Pioneer Fire Company station and the previous site of Hazleton’s Borough Hall. The museum showcases its three stories of artifacts and memorabilia through regular programming, tours and special events. Museum exhibits include anthracite mining items, Pennsylvania Indian artifacts, a large collection of historic photographs, a research library with a genealogy department and a variety of additional displays and items that celebrate the heritage of Hazleton.

In addition to operating the museum, the Greater Hazleton Historical Society is working on a preservation project for the homes and churches contained within the Church Street residential neighborhood north of the downtown, which was determined to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. This district is comprised of approximately 50 blocks containing more than 400 structures. These Victorian, Queen Anne, Spanish Revival, and Tudor houses served as the homes of Hazleton’s founding families (Pardees, Markles, Van Wickles, Butlers, and others). It also contains nine churches, a synagogue, City Hall (eligible for listing on the National Register), the Israel Platt Pardee mansion (listed on the National Register), Memorial Park, and Hazleton’s oldest cemetery. In September 2016, through assistance from the CAN DO Community Foundation, the City of Hazleton, and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the Historical Society secured a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) grant toward this initiative, which requires a 50 percent match before the project can commence. The project has gained momentum through tours and special events in the proposed historic district that have attracted visitors across Greater Hazleton and from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

McElwee said Historical Society board members and museum president Tom Gabos enjoyed working with the First Federal Charitable Foundation throughout their grant process and were excited to receive the grant money from the foundation toward their restoration initiatives.

“The Historical Society was very pleased to receive this grant from the First Federal Charitable Foundation. As we embark on revitalization and preservation projects in Hazleton, Historical Society members also want to display our commitment to downtown through the restoration of our museum. We continue to enjoy working with the First Federal Charitable Foundation to improve Greater Hazleton and look forward to working with the foundation in the future as we embark on projects throughout Hazleton,” McElwee said.

Megan Kennedy, First Federal Charitable Foundation executive director, said, “The Greater Hazleton Historical Society is such a vital organization for Hazleton because it allows younger generations and new residents to the area to experience many of the foundational aspects and components of this great city. As a fellow service organization dedicated to the Hazleton community, the foundation was honored to assist the Historical Society with this grant.”

The First Federal Charitable Foundation was established to support worthwhile community causes. It strives to nurture nonprofit institutions and programs that will effectively serve those in need from the community, empower nonprofit institutions and programs that will expand their presence in and services to the area, and promote opportunities for new nonprofit institutions and programs that will serve the unserved.

Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) IRS designation that are located in Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon and Columbia counties are eligible to apply. Any organization whose headquarters is in another county but services either Luzerne, Schuylkill, Carbon or Columbia Counties may apply for a grant to be used in one of those counties.

CAPTION: Greater Hazleton Historical board member Charles McElwee III, second from right, accepts a $10,000 grant check from First Federal Charitable Foundation Executive Director Megan Kennedy. Also pictured are, from left: Anthony Cusatis, president of the First Federal Charitable Foundation Board of Directors, and Tom Gabos, Greater Hazleton Historical Society president.

First Federal Charitable Foundation

8 West Broad Street, Suite 208
Hazleton, PA 18201
P: 570.501.2784