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Historical society restores stations of the cross

December 14, 2011

Pictured is one of the stations of the cross from St. Mary's Church, which was recently restored and on display at the Historical Society of St. Marys and Benzinger Township's 49th annual banquet on Sunday evening. Also in the picture are photos of the station prior to its restoration. Photo by Becky Polaski

In addition to collecting and cataloguing items related to the history of the area, the Historical Society of St. Marys and Benzinger Township also undertakes efforts to preserve and restore items that have a particular historical significance.
This effort started a few years ago when the society began to look for a way to repair a large three-foot by five-foot hand-drawn image of St. Marys and Benzinger Township that a resident had found in his attic and given to Charlie Schaut. The image, according to Bill Bauer, was in "lousy shape" when it was given to Schaut in 1964.
"[It had] water marks [and was] dirty," Bauer said. "So they got their 1964 duct tape, taped it to a four- by eight-foot sheet of plywood, and put white paper behind the holes."
The image was particularly interesting, Bauer said, because it contained names of some of the original people who settled in St. Marys. A few years ago, its condition had deteriorated further and it "was starting to sag and get crumpled."
At that point, the society decided to attempt to preserve the picture.
"We had some friends at Penn State we were working with and they gave us the name of some people up in Buffalo. So we took the print off the wall, carefully wrapped it, and I took it in my pickup truck up to this woman," Bauer said.
He noted that it is hard to believe the difference.
"She cleaned it, took all the debris off of it, mounted it on a new type of backing they use for this type of preservation, and filled in the white spots with brown paper," Bauer said.
He added that some of the names of various property owners are once again readable as well.

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