The Shippen Fountain in Meadville, the Conneaut Lake Area Historical Society Museum (formerly the community hall) at Conneaut Lake, the Shryock Building in Meadville and Calvary Episcopal Church in Townville are this year’s winners of preservation awards presented during a recent annual meeting of the Crawford County Historical Society at the Iroquois Club.

Diane Shafer Domnick, chairman of the preservation committee, presented bronze plaques signifying the honor.

Meadville Mayor Chris Soff, wife Laurie and daughter Victoria accepted the award on behalf of the city for the Shippen Fountain, which was completely restored recently and re-installed in Diamond Park earlier this year. It won in the special properties category.

Victoria had conducted a major drive to raise funds necessary to repair the fountain. Soff praised the efforts of city residents who contributed to the fund and worked toward the success of having it restored. The fountain was originally built in 1863. Evans Shippen, who died in 1910, had donated a cast iron foundation to the city. 

The Shippens were a prominent Philadelphia Quaker family whose son, Henry, lived in Meadville and was a judge here. In 1858, the Shippen family bought Oxford Iron Works of Sussex County, N.J. About 1850, Evans Shippen opened a metal iron works in Philadelphia. The foundation was donated in 1863 and a new basin installed in 1868. The fountain was last restored in 1975.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Graybill accepted the award for the Calvary Church, given in the institutional division. Built in 1867 on land purchased in 1864, the church originally was Calvary Presbyterian Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Erie. It was consecrated in 1873 and the belfry built in 1877. The bell is now at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville.

The founding family was Peter Rose, wife Elizabeth and daughter Mary Anne Ross, who took care of the grounds and church until her death in 1907. The family came to Steuben Township in 1856 from Philadelphia and bought 68 acres of land. Mary Rose and her sister, Emily, opened a day school there in 1880.

The church was completely redone in 1953. Service at the church ended in the 1960s. The organ, an 1859 Buffington, is now at the DeBence Music Museum in Franklin. The Gillette family owned the church when it closed.

The Shryock Building, built in 1874, is now the Shryock Senior Apartments and is owned by the Economic Progress Alliance. Executive Director Mark Turner and Assistant Director Diana Burger accepted the award on behalf of the EPA. The award as for the commercial division. 

The building was located in the Pearson Block and was home to Shryock’s Department Store from 1900 until 1984. It was bought by Sanray Corp. in 1991 and donated to the Crawford County Development Corp., now the EPA, for $1.

Robert Frost was architect for the renovation of the building into a 41-unit, low-income senior housing complex with 38,290 square feet. The $2.5 million project was financed through tax credits and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority loans. 

The air-conditioned complex has 40 one-bedroom apartments and one studio apartment. It was opened in 1993.

In the front of the building is the Meadville Area Free Clinic, which opened in 1997 and now is overseen by Dr. John Nesbitt.

The Conneaut Lake Area Historical Society is owner of the museum. Its award was given in the special properties for buildings (structures) division. It was built by volunteers in 1931 and operated as a fire hall and community hall. It later was used as a police station and community hall. 

In November 2002, the society asked to lease the building from Conneaut Lake Borough for use as a historical museum. The museum opened in 2003 and the society took ownership in 2008.

The museum has been completed restored in the interior, which now houses displays on many subjects. The former police station office is a research room. The upstairs is used for storage. 

The exterior also has been updated with painting, a large historic mural done by Nancy Helmreich is on one side. A courtyard with benches and flower boxes was erected in the front. A new parking area and entry area as well as the garage were updated. The garage was converted into a boat annex to sore the Liberty and Second and other boats as well as display fishing memorabilia.

Historical society President George Rutherford and board member Jean Shanley accepted the award on behalf of the society.

The awards have been given annually since 2005 to recognize preservation and restoration work done in the county.

 

 

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