New Roof Planned for Historical Society Damaged by Rain

SHENANDOAH, Pa. -- Like so many others in the area, a historical society in Schuylkill County is facing devastation after this summer's record rain.

When you walk into the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society, you notice that the tablecloths and tarps covering up artifacts and the buckets of water do not belong. In a few weeks, no matter how hard it rains, everything inside the more than 100-year-old building will stay safe.

"Every time it rained, some of our members ran down there to empty these buckets and head to cover all of our displays because we were afraid we were going to lose everything," said Andrea Pytak, the president of the Historical Society.

The Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society is in desperate need of a new roof and record rainfall this summer put the artifacts inside the building in danger.

Jean Twardzik, of Shenandoah's own Mrs. T's Pierogies family, donated about $40,000 worth of stock to replace the roof.

"She's a savior. Without Jean, we probably wouldn't have a museum. It just means a lot to know that we'll have that to go on so that the students and the children in the area will know their past," Pytak said.

Every display in the museum represents a different part of Shenandoah's rich history. There are Letterman jackets and yearbooks, police uniforms, and of course, a display dedicated to coal mining.

"We need to preserve all this. They need to see this. They need to learn about where they live and about the history that is involved. They would be so proud," said Mary Luscavage, Downtown Shenandoah Incorporated.

There is just as much history on the outside as the inside. The logos on the building reflect what it used to be before it was the Historical Society.

"So whatever generation you're from, you remember what it was. Now it'll be the historical society forever," Luscavage said.

The Twardzik family has always supported the museum; they even donated the building to the Historical Society in 2005.

"There’s just absolutely no way to thank the Twardzik family for doing what they’re doing. It’s just amazing that they’ve come forward to do this. They also much recognize their history," Luscavage said.

"We even had fundraisers to raise money for the roof but we didn't have enough. Now we will, and fortunately now maybe we'll be able to replace the windows, too and really keep it up to good condition," Pytak added.

Work on the roof will begin around September 15. The Historical Society is celebrating its 20th anniversary this October.