Our Society’s Rich History

APOLLO AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Founded 1970                                          

On August 18, 1970, a group of interested citizens met in the conference room of Laird Boarts’ insurance office to discuss and plan a procedure by which the log cabin at the south  end of town could be bought and restored…

After much discussion about a name for a corporated group the name “The Apollo Area Historical Society” would cover any other project of this nature along with the cabin restoration.

Thus began and ended the first minutes of the newly formed Apollo Area Historical Society.  The first officers were (pictured above)  Mr. Farrell Bash, Mrs. Virginia Seevers, Mr. Laird Boarts, and Mr. Howard Fulton.

By the 10th anniversary, our mission was made very clear in our Statement of Purpose:  “To bring together people interested in history and especially those people interested in the history of the Apollo Area; with the major purpose of discovering, collecting, and preserving materials of an historic value to the Apollo Area thus making accessible such materials at times and places for the development of historical interest.” Continue reading

Letters From North Apollo

The Apollo Area Historical Society considers North Apollo a part of our community and in 2017 had a display evoking the “good old days” from that area  These letters were written to August Froncek from Pearl Sowers Wagner in 1967. The letters describe the North Apollo area.  They are transcribed as written.

My Memories of a Section of North Apollo, Part 1

This deals with that part of N. Apollo known as the “Allison Farm”. This farm was purchased from A.V. Kipp by T.H. Allison in January of 1881. The land reached from the, as we then called it, the river road, on the West, up to Whitlinger ground on the East. A lane went through the eastern part of farm, it was known as Allisons Lane. Continue reading

Helds Shop and Save

Daniel Held Sr.,  being the 7th child of Frederick & Susanna Held, married Rose Pearl Riggle at age 27 in May, 1916.  They lived in North Apollo all their lives.  He was a plasterer and had a business.  He started a store in 1936 on 16th Street, North Apollo.  Also he was Post Master of North Apollo.  Dan and Rose had 7 children.  Daniel Jr. and Clair were the two youngest boys.  As his children grew, they had jobs working for their parents. Continue reading

Drake’s Log Cabin

BACKGROUND OF THE CABIN

The Drake Log Cabin was built around 1816 although the earliest deed is dated 1862 when the cabin was sold to Mrs. Sarah Drake for $312.  The cabin was named for Mrs. Drake.

 In 1925 Franklin and Mabel Garris moved into the cabin.  Mr. Garris passed away in 1928. In the 1930 census, 39-year old Mae B. Garris was listed as living at 416R Kiskiminetas Avenue with daughter Thelma Garris, age 13 and son Frank Garris, age 6.    Sometime before 1940, Mae married Ralph Shirey.  He also passed away before 1940 because the 1940 census shows a Martha Shirey, living at 416R, and at this time only her 16-yr-old son Frank is living with her.    So some records call her name Mae or May while others say Martha, typical of census takers of this era.   Mrs. Shirey remained in the cabin until she passed away in 1965.  Her gravestone has her name as Mabel Shirey.  

THE APOLLO AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY IS FORMED AND WORK BEGINS…

In 1970 the Apollo Area Historical Society was formed in order to buy the cabin from Mrs. Shirey’s daughter Frances & son-in-law, Samuel Wilson.  The cabin needed much work to restore it to its original condition.  The porch was removed since it had been added, possibly by the Shirey family.

As the Apollo Area Historical Society began working, the windows needed replaced. as well as three logs.  The replacement logs came from a barn on Oscar Allshouse’s farm in Kiski Township.

THE CABIN IS DEDICATED

The Drake Log Cabin was dedicated in a ceremony in September 1971 with President Abraham Lincoln in attendance.

OUR BICENTENNIAL OAK TREE

On Arbor Day, April 17, 1976 an oak tree was planted to celebrate our country’s Bicentennial.  The picture on the right is the tree today.  It’s  northeast of the front door of the cabin.

EXPLORING THE EXTERIOR OF THE CABIN

There are many special features of a log cabin.  The photo on the left shows window and the log & chinking construction.  Concrete mortar was used instead of the mud mortar because of durability.  The top right photo is of the springhouse which encloses a concrete cistern.  The springhouse was a source of water as well as refrigeration for the occupants of the cabin.  The lower right shows the waterfall & creek behind the cabin.  The outhouse was located somewhere in this area.

THE INTERIOR OF THE CABIN

Most of the furnishings are not original to the cabin but we attempted to furnish it with pre-Civil War artifacts to keep it true to the time period.

The pot-bellied stove that Mrs. Shirey used for heat and cooking was replaced with a field stone fireplace.  Inside the fireplace is a chimney crane used for heat control during cooking.  Below is the spinning wheel, butter churn, and a small table with a wash basin, pitcher, and grooming supplies.

The bed is rumored to have belonged to Jimmy Stewart’s grandfather, General Samuel Jackson of Civil War fame.  A close-up shows the rope springs and straw filled mattress. The use of rope springs gave rise to the saying, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite” because a person would sleep better if the rope was pulled tightly.  And with a straw mattress came the danger of bedbugs!  Under the bed can be seen the chamber pot which was useful if one didn’t care to use the outhouse at night.

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This lantern hung by the back door of the cabin in case someone needed to use the outhouse after dark.

The sewing and knitting corner has an old treadle sewing machine as well as yarn that could have come from the spinning wheel.  The bedside table holds an oil lamp and some old books for bedtime reading.

The cabin ceiling is very low.  For scale reference, Christine, the young lady in the picture below, is 5’5″ and can easily reach the rafters.

Note the wide planks of the floor.  There are several handmade rag rugs scattered throughout the cabin.Picture30

Picture31This is the back door of the cabin.  We hope you enjoyed your tour of Drake’s Log Cabin.  If you would like to view the cabin in person, please contact the Apollo Area Historical Society at 724-478-2899 or email at apollopahistory@gmail.com.  If you like our website, please consider a donation to the AAHS to keep our history alive! Thanks!   Cick here to donate.

Lackey’s Dairy Queen

Beginnings

Founder of Lackey’s Dairy Queen, Paul Lackey was born in Cranberry Township, when Cranberry Twp was just a dirt road and a few farms. He attended Mars High School and played football. He received a football scholarship, but didn’t use it because he said “I only owned one pair of decent trousers.” In 1938 Paul met and married Beatrice Goetz from West View.  Together they had two daughters Alice and Joyce, and one son Gene. In 1943, gratefully utilizing the talent of several family members they started construction of their home near Saxonburg. Paul worked for Armco Steel as a machinist for nearly 25 years but could never get used to the swing shift work.

Lackeys Dairy Queen

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The Lackey Family 1954

Paul enjoyed a Dairy Queen treat now and then at a Dairy Queen on Route 8 in Penn Twp.  It was there that they met Al and Helen Riggle who owned and operated it. Al Riggle told Paul to find a location on a good well traveled road, and Al would sell him a Dairy Queen franchise and help him get started. Paul would park along the road at several locations until he found the best site right here along the Kiski River on Route 66 in North Apollo. The property was bought from Mr Bash and was actually a very large hole that needed a lot of fill.  With much work from family and friends, Lackeys Dairy Queen was built and opened in July 1955. About that same time Paul and Bea were blessed with another daughter Dolly.

Change

That very first day in late July 1955 when the store first opened for business, they didn’t have money in the cash drawer to make change. Their first customer was a man who ordered a sundae and needed change. Paul told him to just enjoy it and to drop the money off next time.  As he said, “You can run a business on that. Give something away and it will come back in some way when you need it most.”  Later in the day they borrowed $80 from Bea’s father to put in the cash drawer.

August 3, 1955  The Formal Grand Opening  

 

Through The Years

 

Gene Lackey, working at the store, around 1963 and 1985.

 

Beauty Queen Contest 1958

Customers were able to vote every time they purchased a Dairy Queen item.DQ10

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Eating Their Weight In Ice Cream!!

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More Great Pictures!

 

 

Going Bananas!

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Here is Gene with an awesome amount  of Bananas,
ready for a big 2 Day Banana Split Sale!

First Windbag Regatta on the Kiski River, 1971

 

Anything That Floats!

 

1955-1985
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First Place Float in Apollo’s 1985 Moon Landing Parade

 

The Future

The Lackey family has touched many hundreds of Apollo families over the last 62 years. Many kids worked summers to help pay for college or their first car; some even met future husbands or wives. It’s always been the place to go for a cool treat on a warm summer evening.

In January 2015, Matt Spires, an employee of the DQ, was able to buy the business when Gene & Jan Lackey retired.  Matt is now married and has a baby boy.  He is committed to continuing the great reputation that Lackey’s Dairy Queen has enjoyed through the years.

Thank you. Dolly Lackey McCoy, for providing the photos & info for use in this blog.

 

Museum Stirs Up North Apollo Memories

The borough of North Apollo–founded in 1930–is home to many of our childhood memories, from Lackey’s Dairy Queen and Griftlo Park to Pegtown and the Valarena Roller Rink. This year,  we’re delighted to be featuring North Apollo artifacts, maps, and memorabilia in our Apollo Museum.  The display pictured here includes objects on loan from the North Apollo Volunteer Fire Department. Other displays feature the DQ, Griftlo Park, and more.

Got any North Apollo memories? Share them here by leaving a comment. And come visit our museum from 11am to 2pm Wednesdays & Saturdays. We’re located at 317 N 2nd Street, Apollo, PA. 

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Apollo and The Civil War

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General Samuel M. Jackson

Being a small town in western Pennsylvania, you wouldn’t think Apollo has much of a connection to the “War of Rebellion”.  However, you’d be surprised!  First we have General Samuel M. Jackson who enlisted as a drummer boy at age 12 and worked his way up to Brigadier General.  You can read more about him on his page on our website  General Samuel M. Jackson.

One of the founders of the Apollo Cemetery in 1868 was General Jackson.  The cemetery was the original resting place of General Jackson, as well as 85 other Civil War veterans.  Now General Jackson is laid to rest in a mausoleum in the Riverview Cemetery.   In 1908  Riverview Cemetery was laid out to the north of the Apollo Cemetery, and through the years the two have grown together.  Sixteen Civil War veterans are buried in the Riverview Cemetery.  Two other local cemeteries, Spring Church and South Bend are the final resting place of 23 Civil War veterans each.

In 1907 G.A.R. Post 89 of Apollo erected the Civil War Memorial (pictured above) in the Apollo Cemetery to honor those who served in the “War of Rebellion” as it was commonly called then.  The granite base holds a Dahlgren Naval Gun pointing skyward.  This gun, weighing 4,521 pounds, was made by the Cyrus Alger & Company, Boston, MA in 1866, and used a 32 pound shell.  Service of these guns was entirely naval and they were not used on land.  Several markings can be seen on the gun including an anchor and initials of naval inspectors.  The Circle of Honor behind the gun includes the graves of Civil War veterans Eaden Eakman, James A. Saltsgiver, Daniel R. Keiflin, Jeremiah Brubaker, Daniel McClain, Benjamin F. Shearer, Andrew H. Sheasley, and Alexander Long.

The Apollo Area Historical Society maintains the grounds around the Memorial and would like to do more in the old Apollo Cemetery.  If this is a project you are interested in, won’t you consider joining the AAHS or if you’re already a member, attending our monthly meetings?  We meet at 7:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the WCTU Building on N. Second Street, Apollo.