The Hamburg Area Historical Society will have an Open House on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 1 to 5 p.m. at their museum at 102 State Street. Guests may browse and soak up some local history, and enjoy the festive feeling of the season with some refreshments. There is parking at the rear of the building and across the street.
Books for sale there will include the recently-published “In Our Neck of the Woods,” and the author will be available to sign the book. Also, the Society’s earlier history book is available, and some fine volumes by local authors. Unique pictorial note cards and ornaments provide a last-minute shopping opportunity.
Music, Toys and Shoes
The Hamburg Area Historical Society held its December meeting in the cafeteria of the high school last Thursday evening. Everyone was in a festive mood as they were treated to the fine piano playing of Cody Knight, a high school junior who has been serving as an intern with the organization for the past year. His work with them was focused on researching our music-enriched history, and especially the Belgian composer and teacher, Jean Beghon, who lived and worked here in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Cody played two of that eminent musician’s compositions, and then went on to a heady mixture of classical, jazz and holiday pieces. He also spoke briefly about some of his research into all the bands and musicians who kept this area singing, marching and dancing.
Available for people to look at after the meeting were the photo albums of Mike Wengert, whose shoemaker shop was at 15 North Third Street in Hamburg for several decades.
“These albums are a real treasure,” said Janet Barr, inviting people to look at them and see “just about everyone in this area who wore shoes,” for the seven years (1985 to 1991) that Mike took photos of the customers who came into his shop. Using a Polaroid camera, he then had people sign their names as soon as the photos came out of the camera. He filled eight thick albums. This is a unique collection of more than 3,000 pictures of people of all ages, from all walks of life, not posing or dressed up, just out doing errands. The albums have recently been indexed, so folks can see if family and friends are included in that large collection. Mike, who retired in 1991, donated the albums to the Historical Society.
Also on display at the meeting were old toys. Blocks, dolls, trucks, musical toys, games, puppets, and well-loved teddy bears brought back memories and drew smiles from the crowd. And another gem to look at was the collection, put into an album by intern Alisha Kehs, of all sorts of paperwork from the farm and household of William H. Reber. The Reber farm, just south of Hamburg along Route 61, was worked by several generations, and they seem to have never thrown anything away! That made for a very interesting assortment of items, glimpses of daily life that illustrate how a family earned and spent their money, and lived through those changing times.
With coffee and cookies to top off the evening, everyone was glad they made their way through the dense fog to the high school.
The Historical Society meetings, open to the public, are held the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the high school, usually in the LGI room. The museum at 102 State Street is open on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 4, and admission is free.