Monthly Archives: April 2012

From good idea to great trails – The Allegrippis trails at Raystown Lake

Publisher’s Note: This article appeared in the 2010 edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide.  The Allegrippis Trails at Raystown Lake officially opened to the public in May, 2009, and have been wildly popular ever since, receiving national attention from National Geographic Adventure magazine, Men’s Journal magazine, Dirt Rag Magazine, Bicycle Times and many  more media outlets.  Frank Maguire is now the Mid-Atlantic Representative of the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

by Frank Maguire

Through the forest via Allegrippis by Abram Eric Landes

Through the forest via Allegrippis Trails (Photo by Abram Eric Landes, http://aelandesphotography.com)

If you have been coming to Raystown for years and have wondered what lay in the woods beyond the lakeshore, a new trail system will give you the chance to find out. The Allegrippis Trails offer a variety of experiences as they wind through old oak groves and young pine stands. From lakeside trails to breath taking vistas, the trail system rolls along the contours of the hills, never getting too steep to try.  But what is really different about these trails is that they are built to be enjoyed from the saddle of a bike.

The possibility of building trails designed for mountain bikes (but able to be enjoyed by many others) at Raystown Lake first came to light in 2002, when the Army Corps of Engineers and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) signed a national memorandum of understanding. This MOU set the groundwork for future cooperation between the Corps and IMBA, and specifically mentioned Raystown as a pilot area. With its miles and miles of shoreline slopes, Raystown was the perfect blank canvas to become home to destination mountain bike trails.

“We’re excited to create a model trail system in Central PA.” said Rich Edwards, of IMBA Trail Solutions. “This is a notoriously rocky part of the state. These trails offer plenty of variety and will definitely help expand the riding scene”. What a model trail system means is that beginner, intermediate and advanced trails are all clearly marked, laid out as stacked loops. The beginner (or green) trails are closer to the parking lot, and it’s possible to ride these and get a taste of what the whole system holds. Off of this initial loop are options to extend the ride on intermediate (blue) trails, and further on to the black or advanced trails. The visitor gets to decide how much to bite off, and if they got more then they bargained for, the parking lot is just a short ride away.

But what about the fun? All the planning in the world is wasted if the trail is boring. Allegrippis doesn’t disappoint and as one person put it at the grand opening, “I couldn’t stop giggling.”  Evan Gross, President of the Raystown Mountain Bike Association and the trail guru, put it this way. “People have been coming from around the country and from all these different riding backgrounds, and each one gets off the bike smiling”. What causes the excitement is the flow of the trail, the feeling that you are on rails. The way the trail twists and turns, leads you to think that you are on a slot car. The best part about this is that each rider finds their magic speed, so no matter your ability, the sensation is the same.

At the heart of the trails is sustainability, both environmental and social. The trails are designed to meander about the hills and ridges, never running straight up and down the slopes. This means they will survive years of use without eroding, as erosion is a factor of water over time. Bicycle wheels and human feet just speed the process up when the trails aren’t designed right. One of the first things visitors notice about the trails are the grade reversals, the fancy term for the dips and bumps that gives the trails their rollercoaster feel. These act as insurance policies, so that water keeps moving across the trail, rather than down it. The social sustainability part of the trails is the fun. A visitor can decide to try out the trails and not fear getting lost or in over their head. By making trails that can be enjoyed by the largest number of users, and making a unique experience, the trails invite people to get involved and keep coming back. This is good for the community and the region as a whole.

For IMBA, this project has been a great chance to showcase our trail knowledge and provide a much needed destination. Mountain biking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, with some 1.4 million people riding trails at some point every year in Pennsylvania. Raystown was the unique chance to build close to a large portion of the US population in a place that has special natural beauty. Already in its first season, the Allegrippis Trails have been a huge success, with visitors coming from throughout the east and as far away as Hawaii and Scotland to ride.

Evan Gross with his custom fatbike, photo by Abram Eric Landes

Evan Gross with his custom fatbike. (photo by Abram Eric Landes http://aelandesphotography.com)

Evan Gross, after attending Juniata College, decided to call Huntingdon home and be a part of the burgeoning trails community. As President of the Raystown Mountain Bike Association, he is both caretaker and trail ambassador.  “It’s amazing to see the pull these trails have on people around the country” Said Evan, when asked what has been his biggest satisfaction with the trails. “It feels like Huntingdon is becoming a real trails town”.  If you want the local skinny on how best to enjoy your visit to the Allegrippis Trails, seek out Evan, you’ll be glad you did.

Categories: 2010 Visitors Guide, Things to Do | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

HISTORY IS ALIVE AT MAYFEST OF HUNTINGDON APRIL 28, 2012

Back to the 50's Hula Hoop Contest at Mayfest of Huntingdon photo by Ed Stoddard

Back to the 50's Hula Hoop Contest at Mayfest of Huntingdon (photo by Ed Stoddard)

HUNTINGDON, PA — Welcome in spring at Mayfest of Huntingdon, a unique historic-themed festival in Pennsylvania with free entertainment, more than 150 street vendors, and costumed performers from various historical eras. The event is hosted on Washington Street in historic downtown Huntingdon, Pa., on April 28 from 9 am to 5 pm, rain or shine. Attendees will enjoy free music, dance performers, demonstrations and exhibits during their stroll through history at Mayfest; along with store and restaurant specials. Each block on Washington Street features a historical theme: Renaissance Faire presented by Allensville Planing Mill;
Victorian Era; Colonial Times presented by Moove In Self Storage; Back to the 50’s presented by Price Motor Sales; and Woodstock. Attendees are invited to wear costumes to join in the fun. Stage schedules and other details are available at www.MayfestofHuntingdon.com.

New for Mayfest 2012:

Italian Street Painting with Graham Curtis- between 3rd and 4th Streets

Italian Street Painting chalk art at its finest. Join renowned local artist Graham Curtis as he creates a temporary masterpiece in chalk on Washington Street in historic downtown Huntingdon PA. Check it out in the Mayfest Renaissance Faire section on April 28, 2012!

Ray Owens Performances at 12, 1, 2p — between 8th & 7th Streets

Treat yourself to a truly versatile performer, GRAMMY Nominated Singer/Songwriter, and National Recording Artist – an entertainer whose engaging vocal style and infectious blend of good time music and humor continues to captivate audiences across the country. Ray has established himself as one of the most requested entertainers today. His travels have taken him from Camden, Maine, to Key West, Florida – Los Angeles, California, to Long Island, New York, and tours throughout Europe. He has performed with such legendary entertainers as Garth Brooks, Arlo Guthrie, Bill Monroe and Bob Hope, and he has toured with Willie Nelson and America, as well as many other major acts.

Ray whips up a veritable feast of classic American songs and stirs in a healthy helping of humor for all audiences to enjoy. When he serves it up from center stage, he pulls you into a world of fun. Ray’s repertoire has grown to include some 900 songs and encompasses such a range of traditional classics, original songs and comedy that it is not hard to imagine why he has so much popular appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

The Crustaceans – performance beginning at 3 p.m. – between 5th and 4th Streets

The Crustaceans are an eclectic group of aging rockers who enjoy playing popular classic rock songs. You will be tapping your feet and singing along to these rock-n-roll classics from the ‘60s through today. The Crustaceans will be performing at the Desert Garden Day Spa starting at 3pm on Saturday, April 28 (Washington & 5th) during Mayfest of Huntingdon.

Centre Squares dancing! Performances 10 a.m. – 1 p.m between 8th & 7th Streets

Square, round & line dancing with the popular State College group. Demonstrations and oh, yes, audience participation encouraged!

Entertainment on Every Block of Downtown Huntingdon PA During Mayfest!

Renaissance Block at Mayfest of Huntingdon photo by Ed Stoddard

Make way for the Queen on the Renaissance Block at Mayfest of Huntingdon (photo by Ed Stoddard)

Washington Street festival navigation guide:

  • Renaissance Faire presented by Allensville Planing Mill: Between 3rd & 4th
  • Woodstock: Between 4th & 5th
  • Victorian Era: Between 5th & 6th
  • Back to the 50s presented by Price Motor Sales: Between 6th & 7th
  • Colonial Times presented by Moove In Self Storage: Between 7th & 8th

Stroll Through History on Washington Street in Huntingdon PA on April 28, 2012 DOWNTOWN HUNTINGDON STORES & RESTAURANTS are open. Stop in our shops!

SUMMARY OF EVENTS FOR MAYFEST OF HUNTINGDON 2011 Saturday, April 30:

9:00-5:00 150+ Street Vendors on Washington Street ‐ crafts, art, food, exhibits, demonstrations and more (including approximately 30 non-profit organizations)
9:00-5:00 46th PA Regiment Infantry Civil War Band with period correct clothing – between 5th & 6th Streets
10:00-1:00 Ancient Echoes – between 3rd & 4th Streets
10:00-3:00 Italian Street Painting with Graham Curtis – between 4th & 3rd Streets
10:00-1:00 Centre Squares dancers, demonstration and audience participation – between 8th & 7th Streets
11:00 Dan & Galla – between 6th & 7th Streets
12:00 Ray Owens, classic American songs – between 8th & 7th Streets
12:00-4:00 Dayze Gone Bye Conestoga Wagon Rides ‐ Pick up at 5th & Washington Streets ‐ Must have a Mayfest Button to ride. (Can be purchased on the wagon or at the information booth)
12:30 50s Contest Hosted by Dan & Galla – between 6th & 7th Streets. (Near 613 Washington Street) Jitter Bug Contest, Bubble Gum Blowing, Pie Eating, Hula Hoops, FUN! Costume contest: Anyone in a costume can participate! Awards in many categories including most historically period correct and funniest costume.
1:00 Ray Owens, classic American songs – between 8th & 7th Streets
1:00 Jump rope and hop scotch competition – between 4th & 5th Streets
1:00 Hootenanny with Local Musicians – between 7th & 8th Streets
1:00 Jen Bertiaux , live acoustic music at The Daily Scoop & Lil Debs Custom Stained Glass Art Studio, 4th & Penn St.
2:00 Nick Miller Project featuring Gabe Green – between 4th and 5th Streets
2:00 Ray Owens, classic American songs – between 8th & 7th Streets
3:00 Street party with local band favorite The Crustaceans! Live music – between 4th & 5th Streets

DETAILS on entertainment plus fun things to do and see at Mayfest of Huntingdon:

Renaissance Faire – Washington Street, between 3rd & 4th Streets Presented by Allensville Planing Mill

Ancient Echoes performs Celtic Music & English County Dance group wears period costumes and interacts with the audience. The group includes Holly Foy who began playing guitar at age 11 and took up the hammered dulcimer in her late 20’s. She plays guitar, Irish skin drum (bodhran) and hammered dulcimer. Also performing will be Lisa McDivitt playing the recorder, harp and Irish floor harp. She has been a member of the SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) for over 25 years and spends a week each summer at Pennsic, the largest Renaissance gathering in the world.

Knighting Ceremony – Kids can become knighted by the Queen for doing a good deed. Parents can nominate their children for knighting. Times to be announced.

Don’t miss the zany outhouse race to benefit Relay for Life / Cancer Society, home-brewed beer demonstration and authentic blacksmith demonstration on this block.

Woodstock Era – Washington Street, between 4th & 5th Streets

Dayze Gone Bye Conestoga Wagon Rides (Mayfest button required.) Start your ride in a horse-drawn vintage Conestoga wagon at the corner of 4th & Mifflin. Ride through historic downtown Huntingdon.

The Toss n’ Turn Twirl & Dance Team performs jazzy routines that are sure to be crowd pleasers. Also, don’t miss the jump rope and four-square competition on this block.

Victorian Era – Washington Street, between 5th & 6th Streets

Performing throughout the day will be the 46th PA REGIMENT BAND (Logan Guard) formed in December 1995 by a group of musicians from the Altoona area. The bands desire is to honor the Logan Guard Militia from Lewistown, the 46th PA Volunteer Regiment, and the musicians from Birdsboro Community Band who enlisted together and maintained the morale of the troops with their music throughout the war.

Don’t miss the DUNGEON on this block!

Back to the 50s – Washington Street, between 6th & 7th Streets Presented by Price Motor Sales

Dan & Galla will perform 50s tunes at scheduled times during the day. They also host the fun 50s-style contests like jitter bug, bubble gum blowing, hula hoop, and pie eating!

Don’t miss the COSTUME CONTEST hosted by Dan & Galla! Anyone in a costume can participate! Awards in many categories including most historically period correct and funniest costume.

Colonial Times – Washington Street, between 7th & 8th Streets Presented by Moove In Self Storage

Don’t miss the Hootenanny with local musicians on this block!

CHECK WWW.MAYFESTOFHUNTINGDON.COM FOR STAGE SCHEDULES, DETAILS AND UPDATES

Mayfest of Huntingdon is chaired by volunteer Linda DeArmitt and produced by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. The event is sponsored by Price Motor Sales, Moove In Self Storage, Allensville Planing Mill, the Huntingdon County Visitor’s Bureau, The Borough of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, WTAJ-TV Channel 10, wearecentralpa.com, HUNNY 106.3, QWiK Rock, and many local businesses and individuals who donate to make this event possible. Many other sponsors are listed at www.mayfestofhuntingdon.com.

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Open House at C. Barton McCann School of Art

April 28th and 29th 1-4pm

Featured Exhibition:
The JV Re-Creation Project is a creative performance designed to celebrate the arts and encourage environmentally sustainable practices. For this project, students and faculty members from the campuses of the Juniata Valley School District and Juniata College came together in the spring of 2012 to explore local sources and personal gifts. These sources and gifts informed the participants’  re-creations in the form of sculpture, poetry, dance, film, vocal and percussive performance, photography, storytelling and fashion.  Participants performed in early April on both the high school and the college campuses, promoting a celebration of cultures, introspection, and service. In addition to highlighting our local farming and hunting cultures, the Re-Creation Project 2012 expanded the audience’s cultural experience by featuring the music, stories and dress of The Gambia, West Africa. All proceeds supported the Juniata College club, Power Up Gambia, organized to raise funds to purchase solar panels and technical training for Gambian hospitals without electricity. All in all, the JV Re-Creation Project served to enrich participants and audiences alike.

Designers:
Kitana Downs and Anna Sajeski

C. Barton McCann School of Art
4144 Miller Road, Petersburg, PA 16669
814-667-2538 
admissions@mccannart.org
www.mccannart.org
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“What’s the Special Today?”

One dilemma that happens with 80 degree days in April is: “Should I turn on the air conditioning, or not?”  For those of us without central AC, turning on the air conditioning means cleaning windows and sills, cleaning and lugging a window unit out of the basement or attic, mounting it, and hoping the fact that you have never recharged it doesn’t come back to haunt you this summer.  For all of those reasons plus the savings on the electric bill, most of us try to hold out as long as possible before turning on the AC.  With that in mind, we offer this article by our friend Ken Hull, author of Going Local! An Adventurer’s Guide to Unique Eats, Cool Pubs & Cozy Cafes of Central Pennsylvania.  After all, the last thing you want to do on a hot day without air conditioning is cook!  This article first appeared in the 2009  edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide.  Ken has since published Going Local 2: A Second Helping.  

For some great options for eating out on  a hot April day, visit Raystown.org/Places-To-Eat.  Enjoy!

Ken Hull with a beer at Selin's Grove Brewing

Ken Hull

by Ken Hull

I love Huntingdon County. Though a Centre County native through and through, I have close ties to this region to my south and visit often. My buddy’s folks have a cottage along the beautiful Juniata River and I’ve spent many a lazy day drifting quietly in a peaceful cove at Raystown Lake. Not only that, but I live in a structure that grew out of the rich mountain soil of Huntingdon County nearly a hundred years ago. What I mean is; I built a log cabin out of trees that came from a wood lot south of Cornpropst Mills. It’s a beautiful place to live and every time I travel down Rt. 26 I recall the adventure of finding these logs and the great experience of moving them to Boalsburg.

Speaking of adventures and experiences, I’ve recently published a book about them in regards to unique eats, cool pubs and cozy cafés of central PA. The book is called Going Local and it chronicles my journeys as I crisscross the state aboard my 1994 Harley Sportster in search of locally owned places to eat and drink.

One of the best reasons to take a ride, whether by bike or car, is a food destination. My friends and I always look for scenic roads that include, or eventually lead to, a great restaurant, pub or café. And since I’m somewhat of a “gastronomical guru,” I’m always the one in charge of the route we take because my foodie and beer geek friends know we’ll end up with a very cool trip and very happy bellies. The funny thing is that as soon as we crest the Tussey Mountain range outside of Pine Grove Mills and enter our neighbor Huntingdon Co., I know they’re all wondering which roads I’ll choose and where we’ll end up. Because in this place, the roads are amazing and the eats are awesome! But since this is about dining and not a guide to sweet curvy byways, I’ll stick to what makes you go “mmm!”

As I mentioned, I only go to the local places (of which there are many here) and I go for everything from breakfast to dinner, coffee to a beer, and pie to ice cream. Actually, most folks would prefer pie AND ice cream but I like mine separate as to appreciate the differences of each dish. But every once

Going Loca! An Adventurers Guide to Unique Eats, Cool Pubs and Cozy Cafes of Central Pennsylvania by Ken Hull

Going Loca! An Adventurers Guide to Unique Eats, Cool Pubs and Cozy Cafes of Central Pennsylvania by Ken Hull

in a while I “let my hair down” and go for the stack. But only if the pie is warm, otherwise the ice cream doesn’t melt into the pie and create a whole new blend of flavors. However, I digress. Seriously though, Huntingdon Co. has it all, so let me just get to some of the things you’ll find here to fill your stomach, warm your heart and support independently owned businesses.

Breakfast places are a good place to start and why not? Where else can you show up with bed head and be addressed as sweetie no matter your age or gender. Simple dishes like bacon and eggs can be found as well as more gourmet offerings like sweet potato pancakes. Coffee in the morning is most folk’s salvation and you’ll find that at all the breakfast spots. But for me a good latte or cappuccino in the afternoon is always an option and there are even cafés here that offer those.

Lunch is one of those meals that gets the shaft a little I think. You’re either too busy or needing to get somewhere to stop. Well, most of the rest of the world considers lunch the main meal, so if you want to join with them Huntingdon Co. has plenty of places to stop, take some time and enjoy. With great soups, sandwiches and even pizza, your midday meal will not only be yummy but keep you going on your adventures.

Now about dinner; my friends, it’s a tough call here. As I so boldly stated, I’m somewhat of a food snob and most definitely a beer snob. Not that I look down on things like onion rings (which, by the way, there’s a place in Huntingdon that has the world’s best – no lie) because in my book (literally) I consider a good burger as sacred as a good steak. There’s casual as well as fine dining, and let me tell you, you’ll be blown away by both. And, whether a hand-crafted beer or fine wine is your choice with dinner, or a perfectly made martini beforehand, you will find all and in atmospheres that are welcoming and easy-going. No taste bud or stomach is discriminated against here… only embraced.

Yeah, Huntingdon Co. is not just a bunch of scenic roads and beautiful waterways; it’s a place where you can have many great experiences and adventures by just pulling over, pulling up a chair, and saying “what’s the special today?”

Enjoy!

Categories: 2009 Visitors Guide, Dining | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring is Springing into Some Summer!

Both marinas on Raystown Lake open this weekend for the season with 51 degree surface water temperature and air temperatures in the high 60’s Saturday, and near 80 on Sunday!  Couple that with unseasonably clear water, beautiful spring foliage, and fantastic trails, great trout fisheries on the opening day of the season, and it all adds up to a great weekend to head to the Raystown Lake Region!

Stop in at the Visitors Center for ideas of what to do and where to go, and to check out our new merchandise for the summer!  Plus there are more than 20 events happening this weekend.   If you can’t make it this weekend, give us a call to plan your future visit at 1-888-729-7869.

Thanks, and have a fantastic weekend!

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Bicycle Art Show to Feature Photography and Recycled Art

The Huntingdon County Arts Council will feature works of art relating to bicycles in April at its Art Space exhibit gallery in downtown Huntingdon. Photographer Abram Eric Landesof the Washington, D.C. area will be on hand with his sports photography, in particular action shots of bicyclist scaling various mountainous terrains, weather and obstacles that have propelled cycling into the realm of extreme sports. His work has been published in magazines, including Dirt Rag, Mountain Bike, and Bicycling Magazine.

Mountain bikers riding through abandoned railroad tunnel in Coburn, PA by Abram Eric Landes

Mountain bikers riding through abandoned railroad tunnel in Coburn, PA by Abram Eric Landes, aelandesphotography.com

A 2005 Penn State University graduate with a BFA in Printmaking with Honors, Landes maintains local ties with bicycle enthusiasts. “Whether the job ahead of me is a wedding, a mountain bike stage race, a family portrait session, or an architecture shoot, I enjoy it all and strive to make the best images possible. I do not settle for mediocre ideas or photos lacking in technical quality. I work my hardest to make sure your experience with me is positive and wonderful and that the products you receive in return are well worth your resources. Most of all, I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places – and any day I work with a camera is a great day.”
Evan Gross, whose college days as an environmental science major with a secondary focus on art were spent at Juniata College in Huntingdon, will be the other featured artist in the exhibit. More recently, Gross is known as one of the faces at Rothrock Outfitters‘ bicycle department. An avid bicyclist, he enjoys the connection of lifestyle choices and the arts. Coming to full circle, he has been creating mobiles made of bicycle parts. “It’s all about revolution” Evan says, referring to gears, recycling, bicyclingand healthy living on a local level.
An artist reception is scheduled for the second Friday, April 13, 2012, from 6 to 9 pm.  The exhibit will be open to the public April 10-24, 2012. Open hours are Tuesdays 2 pm to 6 pm, Thursdays and Fridays 11 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays 11 am to 4 pm, and by appointment other days.
The Art Space is located at 212 Fourth Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652. Call (814) 643-6220 for more information.

The Huntingdon County Arts Council is dedicated to providing art and cultural opportunities in Huntingdon County. Our programs are designed to provide enjoyment and enrichment as well as educational and professional opportunities to the general public, students, amateur and professional artists.  The council’s website is: HuntingdonCountyArts.org.
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Historic Huntingdon: The Architecture

Publisher’s Note:   This article first appeared in the 2006 edition of the Raystown Lake Region/Huntingdon County Visitors Guide.  A new video-guided walking tour was created in 2010 for i-pods and smart phones.

By Sandy Carowick

The town of Huntingdon stands literally at the crossroads of history.  Indian and trader paths, the early turnpike, the Main Line Canal, and the Pennsylvania Railroad, pathways crucial to the movement of people and goods, all either ran through or skirted the town limits.  Few vestiges of the earliest thoroughfares remain, but the Union Depot train station still welcomes the casual visitor to town.  Although currently vacant, it is reminiscent of the pride of place embodied in the structures built in the historic district of Huntingdon.

Huntingdon Union Station from Allegheny Street by Richard Stahl

Huntingdon Union Station from Allegheny Street by Richard Stahl

Once a bustling transportation hub, the train station has been silent since the 1960’s.  The long, two-story structure exhibits a low-pitched roof with bracketed eaves, decorative brick ornamentation, and paired round-topped windows, all Italianate influences from the mid to late 1800’s.  Although alterations have changed the appearance on the Allegheny Street side of the building since its construction in 1872,   these structural elements may still be viewed on the railroad side of the building.  Today this structure awaits rehabilitation for adaptive reuse.

Unlike many small cities and towns across the country, where today abandoned factory buildings dot the streetscape, the J.C. Blair factory building retains its character while continuing to contribute to the allure of historic Huntingdon.  Located two blocks from the Union Depot at the corner of Sixth and Penn Streets, the J.C. Blair factory was once hailed as the “tallest building between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg” (some said Philadelphia!).  Architect F.L. Olds, a Huntingdon native, modeled the design for the structure after H.H. Richardson’s design for the Marshall Field Wholesale Store in Chicago.  John Chalmers Blair, whose factory building exemplified the corporate motto of “Perfect Goods Only,” hired local contractor Henry Snare to build the stone and brick structure.  Snare began work in the summer of 1888, and by July 11, 1889, the Huntingdon Globe proclaimed “J.C. Blair’s mammoth building looms far above other structures—and 24 more feet of wall to be built!”  Converted to housing units in the early 1990’s, the imposing structure retains much of its original stylistic elements and charm.

A stroll along Penn Street and its connecting side streets reveals many exceptional examples of early 19th century homes.  The oldest in the borough, located at 105 Third Street, was built in 1797 by Richard Smith, son of town founder William Smith.  The appearance of the stone house has changed over the years, with improvements including porches and overhanging eaves.  The substantial home was owned or occupied through the years by a number of influential men, including David R. Porter (Governor of Pennsylvania, 1839-1845) and his notable son, General Horace Porter (Civil War veteran; U.S. Ambassador to France, 1897-1905).

The Gage Mansion by Ed Stoddard

The Gage Mansion, Huntingdon, PA photo by Ed Stoddard

The immense and stately Queen Anne structure situated at 317 Penn Street remains largely untouched since its construction in 1896.  The building was designed by George F. Barber and Company of Knoxville, Tennessee for George F. Gage, General Manager of the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad.  Except for changes in color and the style of the front porch, the home has changed little throughout the years.  Its asymmetrical design and elaborate ornamentation are hallmarks of the Queen Anne style, and this beautiful home invites a second look.

Not all of Huntingdon’s historic architectural features are visible from the outside.  To really appreciate Huntingdon’s past one must step through the doors and examine some of the marvelous interior features.  The interior of Boxer’s Café, located at 410 Penn Street, enhances the dining experience.  The brick building, constructed in 1865 by John Read to replace a previous wooden structure, was touted as “the first modern business building in Huntingdon.”  Today the original façade remains, including windows, iron window ornaments, and the store front, even the company name “Read’s” is still visible spelled out in the tile of the entrance floor.  Once inside, the distinctive atmosphere heavy with chatter from the lunch crowd is thoroughly contemporary, but the surroundings reveal the building’s past as a drug store.  Although the soda fountain installed in 1882 is long gone, the beautiful back bar remains, blending perfectly with later improvements to create a unique and relaxing environment.

In addition to the other fine structures originally constructed as homes or businesses that contribute to the ambiance of this town on the move, other historic public buildings include the 1829 stone jail at Third and Mifflin Street, the 1883 French Renaissance style courthouse on Penn Street, and St. John’s Episcopal Church, an 1845 Gothic building directly across from the courthouse.

Fortunately for us today, some of those who traveled past Huntingdon by foot, boat, train, or automobile decided to stop.  The town that they started has been shaped and molded over the years by new residents, who in their turn continued pushing Huntingdon forward without forgetting the past. Today most of the opulent homes have other purposes.  The McMurtrie property on Fourth Street houses the public library and the county historical society.  Others house restaurants and specialty shops.  But no matter what purposes the buildings now serve, every one contributes to the unique spirit of a bustling town humming with life.

You can find more information on the borough and county of Huntingdon in History of Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania, by J. Simpson Africa (1883),  An Architectural Study of the Ancient Borough of Huntingdon (1976) and Two Centuries in Huntingdon(1996), both by Nancy S. Shedd, and a variety of other publications found at the Huntingdon County Historical Society, 106 Fourth Street.  A walking tour brochure encompassing Huntingdon’s Historic District and a listing of downtown shopping and dining options is also available free at the historical society, Raystown Lake Visitor Center and at the courthouse.

Categories: 2006 Visitors Guide, History, Things to Do | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking For Raystown Fishing Hot Spots

RAYSTOWN LAKE, Pa. – Do you want to learn where the fishing “hot spots” are at Raystown Lake while also helping the aquatic habitat of the lake? If so, a fish structure building day is the perfect event for YOU!

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking energized volunteers to help with the construction and placement of porcupine brush cribs at Raystown Lake. Two fish structure building days will be held this year. Please join us on Sunday, April 29 and Saturday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to noon at Raystown Lake’s Nancy’s Campground (located off Rt. 994, approximately 2 miles east of Rt. 26). You can help make a difference!

This is the 22nd year volunteers have helped the Corps, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission build and place artificial aquatic habitat structures in Raystown Lake. Vehicle access, parking and everything you need, including light refreshments, will be provided by the Corps and the Friends of Raystown Lake.

Fish structure building days are a great opportunity for sportsmen’s organizations, civic clubs or individual volunteers to demonstrate their commitment to the fisheries of Raystown Lake. For additional information about the program or directions, volunteers should contact Park Ranger Tara Whitsel at 814­658­6811 or Tara.J.Whitsel@usace.army.mil.

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TOGETHER FOR TOURISM New Association Launches at Tourism Summit

Harrisburg, PA – The second annual statewide Tourism Summit, April 30-May 2 at the Hilton Harrisburg, is the perfect opportunity to formally introduce the industry’s newly-created Pennsylvania Association of Travel and Tourism (PATT). Focused on its future, Pennsylvania’s tourism industry has mobilized to form a new statewide association to enhance its advocacy, public awareness and professional development programs.

Pennsylvania tourism is a critical component of the state’s economy. Comprised of leisure and business travel, tourism offers visitors a diverse selection of experiences. Pennsylvania tourists come from nearby towns, neighboring states and halfway around the world. In 2010, they spent more than $31 billion, generating more than $3 billion in tax revenue. This tax revenue supports public education and social welfare programs.

In 2010, tourism directly employed 433,000 Pennsylvanians. The industry provides valuable work experiences for high school and college students, viable incomes, advancement opportunities, and promising life-long careers in hospitality, entertainment, food and beverage, recreation, the arts and history for talented professionals.

“Through PATT, Pennsylvania Tourism will be more proactive and engaged through advocacy and public awareness when it comes to local, regional and state-wide issues impacting its future,” said Rob Fulton, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, which has played a key role in the formation of PATT.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Summit will be the platform for the official roll out of PATT. This annual gathering of the state’s tourism industry includes representatives of every facet of PA tourism including wineries, golf courses, hotels, restaurants, attractions, suppliers and many other tourism partners.

The highlight of the summit occurs on Monday, April 30 at 3pm at the State Capitol to celebrate Tourism Day. The rally will include hundreds of people employed by this vital state industry including costumed characters from area attractions and sporting events, in addition to a variety of exhibits and promotions highlighting the many features of tourism in Pennsylvania.

The public is invited to join in the celebration of the state’s tourism industry by attending the rally and expo at the Capitol from 10-4pm on Monday, April 30.

Categories: Events, HCVB News, Tourism Industry | Tags: | Leave a comment

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