What a “blast from the past” as the Cambria Historical Society presented its annual Heritage Day Saturday May 25 in the Heirloom Gardens at the historical museum on Burton Drive and Center Streets. A small but dedicated group of volunteers and craftsmen and women in Victorian and Western garb mingled with a genial crowd of local and out of town visitors for a successful event. Proceeds will benefit the society’s Educational Fund, so it was appropriate that high school grads who earned this year’s scholarships were announced during opening ceremonies.
Kaytlin Bonifazi, Madridza Coral Cortez, Maxx Arehart Rivera and Cameron Spisak each received $500 and a certificate recognizing their achievements as they pursue their goals in higher education. The CHS board plans to increase the amounts and number of scholarships in the future through fundraisers and donations.
In the essay contest, students were to write persuasive arguments about preserving historical sites as a legacy, and Mackenna Perryman was on hand to read her first place entry, appropriately about saving the Guthrie-Bianchini House, which is now the museum. She received $100 and a CHS family membership; second-place winner Connie Vanlandingham was awarded $50, and third-place winner Vincent Rock, $25. The essay contest has long been a goal of CHS and is now established with Cambria Grammar School English teachers for the future.
Santa Lucia Middle School art students were represented by lovely watercolor murals displayed for the day on the Proctor Lane outer walls of the museum, out of the sun and wind. Teacher/coordinator Suzette Morrow reports that the youth based their 3- by 6-foot projects on actual photos from Cambria’s past while she read fascinating stories to them about their town. When she stopped, they encouraged her to keep on reading to them from books available in the museum’s bookshop!
Earlier this month, students from the Transitional Kindergarten toured the museum and spent the morning tending the plants with miniature watering cans, washing colorful bandanas on an old fashioned washboard and hanging them with clothespins on a line and illustrating their own garden pictures. They also enjoyed being read to in front of the fireplace before having their picture taken on the Center Street front porch, just as Sarah Guthrie and her neighbors did back in the 1800s. That photo is displayed at the museum along with others in the checkered history of the house.
Featured prominently in the museum store are 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles available exclusively there, depicting the museum and Scarecrow Festival produced from a painting by local artist Harry Wysocki (also known as Heronim). They are a popular and inexpensive souvenir of Cambria and are literally “flying off the shelves,” according to the docents. A special issue of Hometown Collections, they will not be reproduced when the present supply is gone. Lithographs by Wysocki are also available, suitable for framing, and all include his characteristic black cat.
Also new in the shop are Sharon Lovejoy’s birdhouse books, latest in a line of her artistic and informative nature series. Lovejoy, former Cambrian and a previous owner of Heart’s Ease, will be featured at the kick-off event for the CHS Speakers Series, at 7 p.m. Friday, July 5. Members will be invited free to the reservations-only evening at the museum; there will be a $5 fee for the general public. Lovejoy will include her participation with the community to save the dilapidated 1870s house and gardens from destruction and preserve it as a Historic Landmark.
Tales from Town by Consuelo Macedo is special to The Cambrian; it appears the first Thursday of each month. Consuelo Macedo is community relations and events chairman for the Cambria Historical Society. The Cambria Historical Museum at Burton Drive and Center Streets is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays. The Heirloom Gardens are open for public enjoyment every day. For more, call 927-2891 or go to www.cambriahistoricalsociety.com.