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The President's Letter: December 2022

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

By: Ryan Bowman, HAHS President

December 18, 2022


Hello Society Members and friends!


We here at the Halifax Area Historical Society truly hope that your holiday season was filled with all the simple pleasures that life has to offer; family, friends and lots of memory-making moments! Far too often, history is thought of as the things that have happened to a country or famous persons from long ago. For some, the term “history” may conjure up the memory of oppressive school textbooks or dry professors only interested in dates and memorization. And yet for others, history may seem like unwanted items or relics of the past, buried in boxes on dusty shelves, perhaps in rooms that we rarely frequent. No. History is far more than that. History is the stories that each of us make daily, simply living our lives. I hope the history and traditions that you’ve created with your family as 2022 whispered its last are something that you will treasure for years to come. A history your family can look back on with fondness. Speaking of memories, the society’s Board of Directors would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors, volunteers and participants that helped us with the recent Belsnickle Parade and Festival. It was one of the largest in recent years and a wonderful time was had by all in attendance. We look forward to next year when we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the parade and hope to make it an even bigger event!


Time for a story.

Taylor's One-Room Schoolhouse, September 1949


A Winter School Morning

My father was born in Halifax during the latter part of the 1940’s. Although he was raised in the village of Matamoras and they had a two-room schoolhouse there that was much closer to his home, he attended the Taylor’s one-room schoolhouse a bit further out the valley. The simple reason being that at the time of his early school years, his aunt, Kathryn Altland, was the teacher there and she would be readily available to keep his “mischievous side” in check when it became necessary to do so. Whenever discussion turns towards the Taylor’s School, there are many stories that my father loves to recount of the special years he spent there. When the cold weather sets in and there is talk of school delays and closings, there is one story that steals the show…


One snowy winter day while he and his classmates rode the bus home from Taylor’s, the unplowed country road with its wintry covering became too much for the laboring bus to handle and it slid off the road, getting caught up in the snow and brush wherein it came to a rest. To his dismay, the driver could not get the bus moving again and so he recruited the closest help available.


“Alright! Everyone out of the bus, and push!” he bellowed.


My father, near 7 years old at the time, took his place with the rest of the students, none of them complaining about the task they had been called to, even as the mud and snow sprayed on them. Working together, they succeeded in helping push the bus back onto the road without incident.


Making it More

I suppose that we could talk at length about the old timey, hilarious nature of this event and how it seems a scene fit for a movie like “A Christmas Story”. Or perhaps, we could talk about how this incident could never happen today. How the bus driver, no matter what his intentions, would most likely find himself up to his eyeballs in lawsuits or even spending some time behind bars. I don’t share it for either of these reasons. Why I do is simply this - as the current president of the society, it’s my turn to be the “bus driver.”


What do I mean by that? As I said in my initial letter to you all last year, it is my belief that together we can utilize the skills, the gifts and the talents of our many society members to create an atmosphere that enhances interest in the rich heritage the Halifax area has to offer.


To do that I am asking for all our members to “push”. If we all work together, I believe that we can grow the Halifax Area Historical Society into an even grander organization that can make a difference by educating, entertaining, and helping the local community in various ways. That all being said, please consider using your time and talents to volunteer at a Historical Society event, site or by getting involved in a planning committee. The more hands and creative ideas that we have, the better we can make them all.


Please review the list below and reach out to us at halifax.pa.history@gmail.com or feel free to call me personally at 717-574-3270, letting us know which event(s) you may be interested in helping with or if you want more information. After all, this is our historical society so let’s work together… and make history!


Historical Society Events and Sustained Sites

Monthly Presentations

The Halifax Area Historical Society Museum

The Taylor’s Schoolhouse Museum

Silent Auction

Yard Sale Fundraiser

Annual Banquet

Belsnickle Parade and Festival

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