Bob Perrin founded the Coaldale Historical Society two decades ago and since then has exhibited borough artifacts and memorabilia at the Lansford Historical Society Museum.
And although he was grateful for the space, he always wanted a place to visit in the borough.
Just recently, Perrin received some news he had wanted: Mark Floodgate, owner of Elk Lighting, wanted to give the company a property on the corner of Sixth Street and West Early Avenue.
“I’ve had big plans for Coaldale for a long time and we’re finally here,” Perrin said as he walked around the building.
Some renovations and upgrades are required before the company can move. To help out, the nonprofit recently launched a fundraiser on gofundme.com.
“This journey began a long time ago – this journey to fill a hole in the history of the Panther Valley – and it has now ended with the Coaldale Historical Society having a footprint in Coaldale,” said Perron, who is the president. of the society. In addition to Lansford, the Panther Valley communities of Summit Hill and Nesquehoning have homes for their historical societies.
But the Coaldale site will not simply be a museum. With two spacious levels, Perrin hopes to create a banquet hall, offices, community center and kitchen. He plans to offer their use for free or for a donation.
“Our thinking has always been to not only preserve Coaldale’s history and educate people about Coaldale, but also to raise awareness in the community,” he said. “It’s going to be about the community and helping the community – not just a place to watch old stuff.”
On the museum side, the company is eyeing a miner’s house with period kitchen. There will be other mining exhibits, as well as memorabilia from the old Coaldale High School and borough businesses.
“We have a letter from President Harry Truman thanking the miners for their efforts during the war,” he added.
He noted that in 1945 the SS Coaldale – a victory ship – was launched from a shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Coaldale has a rich history,” Perrin said.
The new museum house is not short of history either. It was built as Victory Band Hall.
“A lot of people got married here, bands played. There were birthday parties and banquets,” Perrin said.
He wants to continue the banquets and meetings at the lower level. He would also like to install a new kitchen for the community.
The first priority, however, is to keep the museum running.
In the near future, Perrin will be selling the new fixtures, fixtures and chandeliers left over from Elk Lighting. He has not determined a date, but the profits will benefit the company.
He expects to apply for grants that would benefit not only the society, but other organizations in the borough, including THING, East Ward School, Fire Company, Police Department and Angela Theater. .
The Coaldale Historical Society Building Fund on gofundme.com has a goal of $50,000. Perrin said the donations would not only help now, but help the site for years to come.
Donations may also be made to the Coaldale Historical Society, PO Box 83, Coaldale, PA., 18218, or by contacting [email protected]
The board of directors is completed by Teddy Bortnik, vice-president; Suzie Bortnik, secretary; Harry Murphy, Historian, and Danny Cannon, Treasurer.
Coaldale Historical Society founder and president Bob Perrin stands outside the site of the society’s new headquarters at Sixth Street and West Early Avenue in Coaldale. The building was donated by Elk Lighting and formerly housed Victory Band Hall, Nardini’s Banquet Hall and Elk Lighting. JILL WHALEN/TIMES NEWS
Bob Perrin, president of the Coaldale Historical Society, inspects a large cooler inside the society’s new home. He hopes the society will open a museum on the site, as well as a community center, banquet hall and meeting rooms. JILL WHALEN/TIMES NEWS
The lower level of what will be the new headquarters of the Coaldale Historical Society needs some work. JILL WHALEN/TIMES NEWS
Coaldale Historical Society founder and president Bob Perrin is shown in the entrance to the society’s new home in Coaldale. It was donated to the company by Elk Lighting and was formerly the Victory Band Hall. JILL WHALEN/TIMES NEWS
Bob Perrin, president of the Coaldale Historical Society, is shown inside the Coaldale Historical Society Museum site at Sixth Street and West Early Avenue in Coaldale. JILL WHALEN/TIMES NEWS