|A BRIEF HISTORY of the VENANGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY|
The beginning of the Venango County Historical Society goes back to the year 1957 when a small group of persons, spearheaded by Joseph Reisenman, Jr., gathered to form an organization interested in the preservation of the past history of the area. At the time that a charter was granted in November 1959, there were 187 Charter Members. Soon after the organization of the Society, the Franklin Library offered the use of the third floor of its building for meetings and storing and displaying Society holdings. The organization continued in this location until, by order of the Department of Labor and Industry, the third floor could no longer be used for public purposes.After five years without a headquarters, the home at 301 South Park Street, Franklin, was purchased with funds received from private donors and local Trusts. The home was opened in December 1980. The Society has continued at this location through the years and has expanded both its holdings and programs. The building now houses the Society office, a house museum, a historical and genealogical library and archives, with changing displays relating to the history of the area. Membership is open to everyone whether local, out of town, out of state, or out of country. We have members in almost every state (including Hawaii), as well as in Canada. The various classifications of membership are described in the Membership Application. The Society year runs from January 1 through December 31. Membership entitles persons to attend all programs and seminars conducted by the Society. Members receive the official publication entitled "The Intelligencer" which is published at least four times annually.
ABOUT THE SOCIETY HEADQUARTERS
- This building, 301 South Park Street, was purchased in 1981 from Mrs. Marian Eichholtz. The purchase and renovation of the house were made possible by public donations.
- It is known as the Hoge-Osmer House (Hoge is pronounced HOGUE).
- The house was built at the close of the Civil War by Thomas Hoge, and we have a plaque affixed to exterior of house marked "Thomas Hoge House, 1866." At that time the house consisted of only the front part of the present house. After Mr. Hoge's death, several families owned the property.
- Shortly after the 1900's it was purchased by Newton Osmer family. During his ownership the front porch and back portion of the house were added. This is evidenced by the difference in the woodwork in the newer portion.
- Thomas Hoge first came to the southern portion of Venango County where he was in the iron furnace business. Later he moved to Franklin and was in the oil business. At one time he was mayor of Franklin and also a state senator. (For more detail on Mr. Hoge, see 1890 History of Venango County, Page 831).
- Newton Osmer, the son of James H. and Mary Griggs Osmer, was a Franklin attorney. His parents came to Venango County in 1865. The Newton Osmer family lived in this house for many years. There were two children, Lambert (son) and Jane (daughter). Mr. Osmer had his private office. His public law office was located on Liberty Street. Mr. Osmer had two large Irish Setters, "Pat" and "Mike", which accompanied him on his daily walks. (For more on the Osmer family, see "Allegheny Valley", Vol. II, Pages 740-742)
- When the Osmer family completed the addition to the house in approximately 1907/1910, they solicited bids for decorating and furnishing the house. The bid was awarded to Kohl & Tucker, a furniture store still operating on First Street in Oil City.
ARCHIVAL RESOURCE CENTER
The Venango County Historical Society Archival Resource Center is not open to the public; however, our Archivist is on duty during the Society's open hours, and will be happy to assist you. An appointment is necessary for major research projects.Our Archives consists of many collections that cover local businesses, churches, clubs and organizations, families and individual citizens, celebrations, war and military service, and many other aspects of Venango County history. A list of the collections and people for whom information can be found is located in our Research Library. We also have an extensive photo collection, which is indexed, and offers an interesting and exciting look at Venango County life in the past. Other items stored in the Archives, but available to library researchers, are Will Files, Estate Files and Naturalization Files from 1800 - 1900. A list of research, photocopy, and scanner fees is posted in the Research Library and Archival Resource Center. A copy of VCHS policy for photocopying or scanning documents and photographs is available upon request. Researchers may not use their own equipment.
ORIGINAL PUBLICATIONS & REPRINTS
Venango County 2000 - The Changing Scene - Volume 1
This publication emphasizes the many changes that have taken place in the 20th century and the impact of this particular period on our citizens.
Containing many unpublished photos, this is a book that will stir memories, with a focus on those who have been a part of our developing history. This new history covers the years 1890 to present and contains 504 pages, including an every-name index.
The cost of the book is $42.45 + $5.00 shipping and handling.
PA residents please add $2.55 tax.
Venango County Historical Society
P.O. Box 301
Franklin, PA 16323
The cities, townships and boroughs are segments of our lives and interests, and each one has special characteristics. This volume presents highlights of the two cities, Franklin and Oil City, and other political entities in alphabetical order - Allegheny Township through Frenchcreek Township.
Venango County 2000 - The Changing Scene - Volume 2
Emphasis in this volume is given to the municipalities which have been part of the county's growth and development.
The cost of the book is $28.30 + $5.00 shipping and handling.
PA residents please add $1.70 tax.
Venango County Historical Society
P.O. Box 301
Franklin, PA 16323
Vol. 3 will be devoted to the remaining municipalities and is in the process of being completed.
- "Oil, Oil, Oil!" Hilights of the oil industry of Venango County and Titusville from its beginnings in 1859 to present day. Over 300 photos, many never published. 128 pages, 8-1/2 x 11. Index. Paper back, full-color, coated cover. 1997
Price $14.15 Postage $3.00 PA Tax $.85
- "Venango County Panorama" Photographic, other highlights of county. Over 500 pictures. 275 pages, 8-1/2x11. Hard cover, dust jacket. Index. 1983
Price $18.87 Postage $5.00 PA Tax $1.13
- "Polk Center 90 Years" History of Polk Center from its start. Many photographs, never published. 208 pages, 8-1/2 x 11. Hard cover, coated dust jacket. Index. 1987
Price $34.50 Postage $5.00 PA Tax $2.07
- "The Year the Freshet Didn't Come" Based on Charles Raymond's 1854-55 dairy, detailing hardships for individuals and businesses. Iron furnaces, stores, mills and farming. Support material from newspapers, letters, etc. 98 pages, paperback. Index. 1984
Price $4.72 Postage $2.25 PA Tax $.28
- Marriages from Venango County Sources 1798-1885 (All)
and 1886-1946 (Outside the County) - Volume III
Compiled by Joan S. & Kenneth L. Hanson
Publ. Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 2001 Format 534 pp.
Price$45.95 per book + $4.00 p&h per order PA Tax 6%
- Frontier Forts ~ Three Flags Flew Here in the Eighteenth Century details the significance of the French, British and United States forts built here. Price $4.00, Postage $1.00, Tax $.24
CEMETERY BOOKS:Listing of burials and dates of Venango County cemeteries, plus early church histories. An ongoing project, these volumes are 8-1/2 x 11 with paper cover and index.
Available from the Venango County Historical Society are:
*Volumes 5, 6, 7, 8 - are $15.00 Postage $2.75 PA Tax $.90.
*Vols. 2, 3, 4 and 9 of our Cemetery Books are available only from the publisher, Closson Press, Apollo, PA
- Volume 2 Clinton Township
- Volume 3 Scrubgrass Township
- Volume 4 Richland Township, part of Rockland
- Volume 5 Rockland Township
- Volume 6 Frenchcreek Township
- Volume 7 Sandycreek Township, also contains Pioneer Cem. & Mt. Zion Jewish Cem in Franklin
- Volume 8 Plum Township
- Volume 9 Cranberry and Pinegrove Townships
- Volume 10 Oakland Township Cemeteries and Early Church Histories now available in two formats - CD and Book
CD is .pdf - Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read this format and can be downloaded free from various web sites.
Price: $ 15.09 plus $3.00 shipping . PA residents must add $.91 tax
Book - contains over 250 pages with numerous obituaries & everyname index
Price $23.59 plus $5.00 shipping . PA residents must add $1.41 tax
May be purchased from the Venango County Historical Society
P.O. Box 101 - Franklin, PA 16323
814 - 437 - 2275
- "Venango County History" Dr. S.J.M. Eaton, originally published in 1890. Details history of county, plus many biographies. Some illustrations. Portraits. 1,164 pages, plus an addition of 73-page name index. Two-volume set. Hard cover. 1990.Price $55.00 Postage $5.00 PA Tax $3.30
- "Petrolia" by Andrew Cone and Walter R. Johns, originally printed in 1870. Detailed account of early oil developments, emphasis on Oil Creek Valley. Few illustrations. 652 pages. Hard cover.Price $28.50 Postage $4.00 PA Tax $1.71
- "Petroleum" by Rev. S.J.M. Eaton. Highlights of early oil industry in Venango County, published 1866. 298 pages. Hard cover. 1984Price $11.32 Postage $3.00 PA Tax $.68 (Pennsylvania residents only: Add state sales tax)