Welcome to the
Crawford County Historical Society
Courtesy of the Meadville Tribune
A Note from Our President:
From Ida Tarbell to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Henry Baldwin and from Talon Zipper Company to dairy farming, Crawford County has a long and fascinating history! Starting in the fall of 2014, the Historical Society took a HUGE jump for the first time in 50 years. Local government was looking at an expansion project and with it, major changes and possible destruction of the 1866 James and Elizabeth Tarr Mansion on Meadville’s Diamond Park (seen above). The County Commissioners saw the property as unneeded and past its usefulness, and considered it an option for real estate purchase in building a larger county seat of government. We were receiving messages asking us to do something- send a letter, write an article, schedule a meeting- the citizens of Crawford County requested their Historical Society get involved in some manner to help save the historic mansion- and the historic built environment that is our county architecture for future generations.
The Society’s Board of Directors considered our options and how we could- and should- get involved. After meeting with the County Commissioners, representatives from the community, Preservation Pennsylvania, and the State Historic and Museum Commission, our local government reconsidered their options to expand and the Historical Society decided to act. As our Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum finished its 50th anniversary season, the Board of the Crawford County Historical Society decided to raise the funds to PURCHASE the Tarr Mansion! This gorgeous Italianate building, designed by Francis Marion Ellis and paid for with the Tarr Family’s over $2 million (over $35 million in today’s funds) in revenue from the Oil Boom, was a testament to oil’s influence in our region and the nation as a whole. The Tarrs were one of our country’s first oil barons and their home of over 12,000 square feet will stand the test of time to become the SELF SUSTAINING Crawford County Historical Society’s headquarters and history center! With your help, the Society could own its own archive and offices for the first time in 135+ years- transitioning from tenant to landlord and preserving a gem on the Diamond in the process!
Your donations are what keep the Society alive and thriving and we need your help more now than ever! With the square footage included in the building, it will provide enough rental income from apartments or records storage to provide an income to the Society to help guarantee its future! Please take a look at the fundraising materials at the bottom of this page- and please consider making a tax-deductible donation or pledge of support below. This is our moment to save this nationally historic structure at the heart of our county! This is our moment to create a self sustaining Historical Society to guarantee our rich history is preserved forever! This is our moment to keep history alive for future generations!
Thank you for your help,
Joshua F. Sherretts