History of Jefferson County Historical Association

After the incorporation of the Jefferson County Historical Association in 1973, the next goal was to locate a home where the charter could be displayed.

In 1976 the Jefferson County Historical Association purchased the mansion at 426 Franklin Avenue for $65,000. The historical society had been meeting in the court house and the dream of owning their own home was soon to come true. Several properties were considered, one of which was the old Pennsylvania Railroad Station on North Sixth Street which was said to be one of the architecturally classic railroad structures in the United States.  Another suggested location was one of the vintage homes on North Fourth Street. But the young historical group settled on our present home, on Franklin Avenue, for the future museum and library owned by Mr. & Mrs. David Fortunato..

At that time the officers were;  Mrs. Howard Minor, President;  Mrs. Louise Snyder, Vice President and Mrs. Mary Louise Hesse, Secretary.

Monetary donations by Mrs. Howard Minor, Mrs. Ira McClave, Mr. Malcom Irwin,  Mr. & Mrs. Earl Snyder, Mr. Dorhman Sinclair,  Mr. Charles Thompson and a group known as the Young Historians, reduced the mortgaged amount to $50,000.  Five years later, the Historical Association paid off the mortgage and founding member,  Mr. Robert Brandt  was given the honor of burning the mortgage during a ceremony at the Masonic Temple.

The first three years after purchasing the home were spent modifying and decorating the interior to meet the requirements of a museum. The early 1990s saw Mrs. Earl Snyder donate her entire personal library collection to the historical association and in her honor the research library was named, “The Vivian Snyder Memorial Library”.

From 1976 up to today in 2015, every year has seen improvements to the museum and library. Members and private citizens continue to donate items to our collections and we are supported by memberships and monetary donations.

We maintain a presence in the county by holding an annual “Open House Celebration”, an annual meeting and banquet, supplying speakers for various social and civic functions and sponsoring an annual writing contest for high school seniors. The past two years have had Halloween Haunted Night parties and we have held “Business After Hours” events in the museum.  We have rented the museum for card parties, showers, birthday parties and photographers have used our grand staircase for wedding pictures.