Keeping History Alive at 200-year-old Meeting House

FORTY FORT, Pa. -- A borough council meeting in one Luzerne County community was held in quite the historical spot.

A more than 200-year-old building, located inside a cemetery in Forty Fort, played host to that meeting Monday night.

History was being kept alive inside the Forty Fort Meeting House. Completed in 1807, the building is located just off River Street in the borough. It was both a church and a meeting place for council.

Once a year, the meeting house hosts a borough council meeting. Many from the community came to learn about its past.

“It’s really nice and interesting about how the history was about the meeting of this house,” 10-year-old Keeley from West Pittston said.

“Keeping in touch with the history of this area. There really is so much of it that honestly kind of gets lost and forgotten,” April of West Pittston said.

It’s a building so many of us pass but don’t know much about the perseverance it took to preserve.

“It was forgotten in plain sight,” Forty Fort Mayor Andy Tuzinski said.

A new borough building was completed in the early 1900s. Around that time, the historic meeting house fell into disrepair.

"In 1922, the Colonial Dames of America undertook a restoration process, and the building that you see now is a result of that work almost 100 years later," Tuzinski added.

The meeting house building also survived the 1972 Agnes Flood while roughly 2,600 graves in the cemetery were destroyed by the flood.

"The water just scoured the earth and created a 30-foot deep pit, if you will," Tuzinski explained.

The water from the flood rose to the top of the pews, but in the end, all the building really needed was a good scrub.

Since it was built more than 200 years ago, it has only needed two major repairs: a new roof and a new foundation.

"Like that’s 200 years and now we’re using it again. I think that’s cool how a building can withstand for that long," said George Hebda of Forty Fort.

"That’s extraordinary that a piece of history like this could be used throughout all this time," Jake Novrocki of Forty Fort said.

Tours of the Forty Fort Meeting House are offered year-round. For more information, click here.

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