Our next program on the Lost Amusement Parks of Western Pennsylvania will be held Saturday, April 23 at DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin. The presentation will begin at noon and run until 2 pm in the third floor ballroom. This program will shed light on the fascinating stories of these long-gone recreation spots, from early picnic groves to traditional amusement parks, including trolley and railroad parks with origins tied to transportation; the first African-American-owned amusement park; and all of the parks’ classic amusement rides that thrilled countless people of all ages. One of the most lovely of these parks was Monarch Park, a beautiful, orderly slow paced area boasting a dance hall pavilion and bell tower. The Park was located off Deep Hollow Road where the Isaac Walton League makes it home. It went out of business in 1928 due to the invention of the automobile and the loss of the Big Rock Bridge over the Allegheny RIver.
You may have driven past the ‘Old Lutheran Church’ located at 1101 Buffalo St. and noticed a difference. In 2015 Franklin Preservation purchased the 1886 Stick Style structure with generous support from community members. We plan to fully restore the building and to continue its use as a public venue.
Restoration began with the tower portion of the building in the fall of 2019 funded in part with a grant from the City of Franklin. The tower was reinforced with new structural framing for the eventual installation of a new soaring pyramidal roof replicating the original. Deteriorated framing was replaced at the same time along with damaged siding, trim, and window sills. Six tower windows were refurbished using existing ‘wavy’ glass taken from windows from the rear of the structure. A new portico roof was constructed over the front doors that matches the secondary entrance that also faces Buffalo Street.
Restoration kicked into full swing when Franklin Preservation received a matching Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) grant. Franklin Preservation matched this grant with funds raised through various events like the ‘Tiki BBQ Summer Party’ with live music held in the main hall, the ‘Holiday Tour of Historic Homes’, the ‘Divine Intervention New Year Celebration’ held at the Miller Park B&B and the annual three-day ‘Saved’ Trash and Treasure sale during Applefest. The funds received from the PHMC grant are designated to replace all of the roof shingles, install much needed gutters and downspouts and to restore the existing eaves. This work continues and is about eighty percent complete.
At the moment, while the world deals with the pandemic, Franklin Preservation is relying on social media and on-line events such as ‘Bridge Builders Week of Giving’ to support restoration efforts. The group’s restoration committee is optimistic that its annual events will resume. The next phase of restoration is the front facade and the stained glass windows. A new paint color scheme is in the works which will begin the transformation of Franklin’s newest landmark so that it can be reopened to the public.
Join us for some winter cheer! Your donation will help continue the restoration of this historic 1886 building.
Join us this Saturday, January 11 from 5- 9 PM for some post holiday cheer at our Divine Intervention cocktail party. Held at The Miller Park B&B in historic Miller Park in Franklin, this party will be a warm and welcoming event. Enjoy delicious appetizers and a naughty or nice drink by the fireside while listening to music by pianist Nat Licht Admission is by donation. Funds raised will benefit the restoration of the 1886 Stick Style building located on the corner of Buffalo and 11th Street, formerly known as the Old Lutheran Church. Valet parking will be available since there is no parking in Miller Park. Raffle tickets with prizes of $1000, $300 and $200 will be will be sold during the evening. Winners will be drawn at the end of the evening. You do not have to be present to win.
If you prefer to not use valet parking, the closest parking is on the 1500 block of Buffalo Street, the 1500 block of Liberty Street, and on 16th Street between Elk and Liberty Streets. The 1500 block of Buffalo Street is very steep.
Share your memories with us. Did you or your family attend the Grace Lutheran Church when it was on the corner 11th and Buffalo Streets or attend the.Church when it became the Faith Holiness Church? Franklin Preservation is seeking your stories, photos and mementos of the Church. If you are willing to share your experiences at the Church, please contact us.
The Oil Region Alliance recognized Franklin Preservation’s achievement in restoring the Venango County Civil War Monument with a 2017 Oil Heritage Region Historic Preservation Award. Vice President, Dianne Hall, who led the restoration efforts, accepted the award at a ceremony held in Titusville, Pa. on May 20th. Ms. Hall thanked Marlie Manning of the Venango County Historical Society for VCHS’s nomination of Franklin Preservation for the award and the Oil Region Alliance for its early support of the restoration project.