History of the Society
In 1989, a small group of citizens came together to explore the possibility of forming a local historical society. The Marian Kennedy home, the former General Wayne Hotel was soon to put up for sale. It being one of the oldest homes in Allensville perked the interest Dorothy Knapp. She, Karl Westover and Steve Dunkle, all of Allensville met to discuss the idea further. A community meeting was held in October 1989 with flyers and announcements placed throughout the Kish Valley. Attendance and interest was encouraging.
The Kishacoquillas Valley Historical Society was formed with the following Board members, James H. Alison, Frances Barnes, William Dancy, Steven Dunkle, Lee H. Kanagy, Dorothy Knapp, Ross Metz, Norman Welfley and Karl J. Westover. An application was submitted for a nonprofit 501C-3 status. After discussion with the owners, the house was purchased for $31,000 in April 1990. A loan was procured from Kish Bank. Charter memberships were purchased by many people in the valley which helped to fund the purchase and renovations. The home was in need of many repairs and the society completed them as funds allowed. It was a group of hands on hard working members. The first room to be completed was the front parlor as the plaster had fallen from the ceiling and the room was in need of urgent care. A grant was received through the help of State Representative Samuel Hayes for $20,000 which funded additional repairs to the home.
Yard sales were held to raise funds and in 1992 a historical calendar was printed and sold as an additional fundraiser. Several other grants were received which allowed for the building of the addition on the back of the museum and to fund purchase of items for the collection.
In 2002, a circa 1830’s Pennsylvania Bank Barn was donated to the Society by James Byler of Belleville, Pennsylvania. The barn was dismantled by a Nebraska Amish crew and under the leadership of John M. Hostetler was reconstructed on the Society’s grounds in 2005. A grant was received for the barn’s dismantling and reconstruction along with a grant, with the aid of Senator Arlen Spector which helped to purchase items for the interior, including computers and furniture.
The Society continues to work at preserving and collecting items from the past in the Kishacoquillas Valley. There are 200 members. The Board of Directors consists of 15 members, with 5 serving as officers.