Susan Sommers Presides over Groundbreaking of New Westmoreland County Historical Headquarters, Jan. 28

by Public Relations | Jan 31, 2018

Jan. 31, 2018

Susan Sommers

Dr. Susan Sommers
, professor of history at Saint Vincent College and chairman of the board of the Westmoreland County Historical Society, presided over the groundbreaking of the new Westmoreland County Historical Society Headquarters on Jan. 28 at Historic Hanna’s Town in Hempfield.  Four Saint Vincent College graduates of the SVC history department attended the event as representatives of the historical groups and museums for which they work.

The alumni include Pamela Curtain, C’14, member of AmeriCorps serving with Clio Foundation and Saint Vincent adjunct professor of public history; Malori Stevenson, C‘10, program coordinator and innkeeper at Ligonier Valley Historical Society; Patrick Intrepido, C‘13, executive assistant of the Westmoreland County Historical Society; and Victoria Copenheaver, C‘17, development coordinator at West Overton Museums.

Other alumni present included Robert Kendra, C’55; and Monsignor William Rathgeb, S’67.

The historical society's current headquarters is located in an office at Beatty Crossroads off Route 30 in Unity.  The new, 6,500-square-foot Westmoreland History Education Center, will be located at Historic Hanna's Town in Hempfield on a site that served as the county seat in 1773 and the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was burned by a raiding party of British and their Indian allies on July 13, 1782.

With the new visitors and education center, the historical society will have gallery space to host new and changing exhibits, using the historical society's resources and those of the county's 16 other historical societies. A multipurpose room will host special events and classes. Significant portions of the historical society's archeological artifacts will be available for research by professionals and students in a laboratory.

Historic Hanna's Town already includes Hanna's Tavern, three relocated vintage log houses, a reconstructed Revolutionary War-era fort and a shed that houses an authentic late 18th-century Conestoga wagon.

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Photo: Susan Sommers at the groundbreaking of the new Westmoreland County Historical Society Headquarters on Jan. 28

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