About R.V. Historical Society
Redbank Valley has some amazing history of industry, business, religious and social groups, as well as prominent citizens. At each year’s passing we lose a vital link to our local history. One of the goals of the Historical Society is to document our history in books, videos and now some wonderful original and limited editions of original oil pencil drawings of historic sites throughout the Redbank Valley. Please see the flyer RVHS Prints Display Ad and the Store for available books and drawings.
Have you ever sat down with a box of old photographs with no names on the back and no one able to tell you who these people were? Many times these pictures end up in the trash, lost to history. Whether it is family history or local history, if someone doesn’t write the story, it too is soon lost.
Our goal is to document our history now before it is lost forever. The customs and traditions of the towns and families in which we grew up, stay with us for life. We can move to the big city, for education and jobs, but sooner or later most of us come back home. Please see our store for RVHS publications that document the area’s history.
It wasn’t until 2007 when the local railroad tracks through the Valley were lifted that it hit us, A very vital part of history was leaving town after faithfully serving the Valley since 1873. Transporting coal, products, people and supplies to and from the area, the railroad that had supported the Valley for 134 years was now gone. Like many things in life nothing stays the same. It is important that we preserve our story. There is a tremendous oral history here as well. These stories need to be told and written down. Our past is who we are. We are what we are because of our past experiences.
We welcome individual pictures or a collection of pictures dealing with Redbank Valley history and other local memorabilia.
Our Mission Statement
The Redbank Valley Historical Society is a nonprofit group of individuals whose interest is in researching and preserving a factual and accurate history of the area comprising approximately the same area as the Redbank Valley School District.
Goal #1: Research and compile data to be used in the publication of a book of the area. Establish a Heritage and Genealogy Center. Preserve artifacts pertinent to the history and genealogy of the area for display at a center, which will be open to the public.
Goal #2: Entertain guest speakers to present interesting subject matters of local historical interest and conduct field trips to various places of historical interest to the group. The Redbank Valley Historical Society offers membership to anyone who is interested in and is willing and able to contribute to our society’s goals.
John M. Brown’s 1823 history of Schoharie County New York used the phrase “time wearing out memory” to describe how even back then there was the feeling that memory fades and places are forgotten, lost to time. Much of the area’s history since WWII is fast vanishing as that “Greatest Generation,” is fast departing from among us. The Redbank Valley Historical Society is attempting to put together, in one place, as much history as we can gather from interviews, photographs and research. The Redbank Valley has a rich history. We are researching, gathering, and recording many past events in our local valley. The neat thing about history is, it is all around us and is never complete. History is always being formed. We just need to find and record it so this information can be shared with others and future generations.
Meetings & Membership
The Redbank Valley Historical Society offers membership to anyone who is interested in and is willing and able to contribute to our society’s goals.
The society meets the first Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. in the basement of the Presbyterian Church at the corner of Wood & Penn Streets in New Bethlehem, PA. (The building is handicapped accessible).
COME JOIN US For more information, please visit www.redbankren.org or call: (814) 365-5023 (814) 275-1718
History on Display
During the Peanut Butter Festival on September 14-15-16th, 2018, the Redbank Valley Historical Society will unveil the first of four sets of ten original drawings of historical sites in the Redbank Valley by talented artist Carol Kennemuth. The drawings will be on display all 3 days of the Peanut Butter Festival during festival hours inside at the New Bethlehem Town Center at 415 Arch Street, formerly known as the Keck Building, next to the Fire Hall.
Drawings in the first set include the New Bethlehem Passenger train station which was located right in front of Keck Building, the Climax Tunnel and section house as it appeared in the 1920s, the last train over the Oak Ridge underpass in 2007, the early Brick House, now restored as a B&B, the Leatherwood and Methodist Churches, the East End Station with its glass fuel pumps in front, the Putney House, the tile house built on Penn Street by the Lower family with a great picture of horses and wagon getting ready for a parade, and the Seminole School. Each series will include a variety of buildings, churches and schools from throughout the Redbank Valley. Series will be released every 6 months or so.
The Historical Society’s publications will also be available for sale. They include the History of the Low Grade Rail Road, The Impact of the Civil War on the Redbank Valley, and the Tom Andrews Business Center Recollections which not only describes the buildings and businesses of the late 1800s to 1989, with editorial updates, but also represents the business history of small town America. The recently published Pictorial History of the Redbank Valley will also be available for purchase. These books have been enjoyed by many and are often given as gifts.
The partially renovated building will host the wine walk pick ups Friday evening, the Mountain Bike Race registration Saturday morning, and Redbank Valley Trails Association, Redbank Renaissance, PA Great Outdoors and other business displays throughout the festival. Visitors are encouraged to stop by to see what all of these local organizations and businesses have to offer.
Originals of the art work will be available by a silent auction that will conclude at 5 PM on Sunday, September 16th. Bids will start at $200. Signed and numbered limited editions of only 15 to 50 will also be available for $50. All proceeds will benefit the Redbank Valley Historical Society’s goals of writing and publishing a comprehensive history of the area and opening a genealogy center and museum. Many have expressed an interest in the art work. For those who are not able to visit, the drawings and publications will be available after the festival at the Redbank Renaissance website at the Historical Society Store at www.redbankren.org, For more information, please call 724-664-4754.