Historical Society got its start on Erie Avenue

Editor's note: This is the final part in a series of articles based on a presentation given by area historian and photographer Ray Beimel regarding the history of the Erie Avenue area.--Local historian Ray Beimel concluded his recent presentation on the history of Erie Avenue by talking about an organization that has been crucial to the preservation of the community's history. "Erie Avenue happens to be where the St. Marys Historical Society was started," Beimel said. He explained that the St. Marys Borough Council first gave permission to Charlie Schaut to use a room in one of the buildings, and that quickly grew to use of the basement and other areas. Beimel showed attendees a photograph from 1972 of Schaut in the original rooms of the Historical Society, which were located in the old Municipal Building at 319 Erie Ave. The Historical Society is currently located at 99 Erie Ave. "The thing has just grown, and I always want to mention, we're in our 51st year and in my travels around the Commonwealth I've visited a lot of historical societies and small-town museums and such, and I have never encountered a place that had more stuff, not only stuff, but people who could find something for you," Beimel said. Beimel added that the historical society has "a massive, massive collection of genealogical research and information," as well as "a massive collection of stuff about the general history of St. Marys.""We don't have a picture of everything, and we're working on it, and that's where you can help," Beimel said as he encouraged attendees to share their old photographs with the society, either by donating them or allowing them to be scanned for the society's digital collection.