California Area Historical Society
California Area Historical
Post Office Box 624
California, PA 15419-0624
The Gallagher House
429 Wood Street @ 5th St.
To bring together those people who
are interested in local history.
To preserve the heritage of the
land and the significance of its settlers.
To educate the public about the
heritage of the area.
Calender of EVENTS
HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE 2001
The California Area Historical Society "With Song and Celebration" Holiday Open House is December 15 and 16 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Gallagher House on the corner of Fifth and Wood Streets. Honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11 will be an
Angel display in the living room featuring many angels loaned to the Society by community members. Of special interest in the parlor will be the Beyer Carolers from the collection of Kathryn Hart Sullivan. The dining room will feature a patriotic theme dedicated to
freedom. Refreshments will also be served in the dining room.
Plan your visit at a time when you can enjoy some of the festivities listed below:
Saturday, Dec. 15 -
Noon... Linda Jukes (Guitarist / violinist)
1p.m. - 3:30 p.m.... The Valley Chordsmen, Craig Matty and Todd Sproul, soloists
Sunday, Dec. 16 -
Noon - First Presbyterian Church Choir, Director Edie Skekel.
1:15 p.m. -United Methodist Church Choir, Director Linda Jukes.
2: 00 p.m. California Area Middle School Carolers, Director Elyse Horath.
The Society welcomes friends and Families to this annual open house. There is no admission charge.
The Gallagher House
of California's finest examples of an early twentieth-century colonial
revival house is the Gallagher House. Built in 1903 by Jonathan Winnett
Jennings, a Methodist minister in the Monongahela Valley area, the house
was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1996,
and is dedicated as the site of the California Area Historical Society.
The building is reserved for use by scholars of California and Washington
County history and houses collections of local history, genealogies,
and research material. The 2 1/2 story brick structure is located at the
corner of Fifth and Wood Streets, California Borough, Washington County,
The house was owned by the Jennings family until 1919 when Margaret
Jennings deeded the property to Charles McCormick. Shortly
after, Louis Koller, a local merchant, purchased the house and resided
in it until 1930 when the Gallagher family acquired the home. Charles
Gallagher was the general superintendent of the Allied Chemical Corporation
at Newell, and was a member of the Board of Directors of Peoples National
Bank and the Board of trustees at nearby California University of
Pennsylvania. In 1993, his descendants generously donated the property
to the Historical Society.
The first floor entrance of the Gallagher House features stained glass
fleur-de-lis sidelights and transom and original wrought iron chandeliers.
Tall pairs of pocket doors open into north and south parlors where fireplace
mantles, typical of each room in the house, are adorned in classical
details. The first floor of the Gallagher House is used for a reception
area and historical displays. The central hall stair leads to the second
floor where the history library, archives room, and office area are
located. Cherry and quarter-sawn oak pattern woodwork and mission-style
mantels enhance the rooms, once used as bedrooms and a nursery. A
winding stair leads to the attic.
The Gallagher House is located at 429 Wood Street, California. It is
open for historic research and study on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and
Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For additional information,
Members recieve The California Crier, the Official
Publication of the Society, packed with historical data and news of the
area and the Society, as well as other interesting and infomative stories.
For more information on other member benifits, contact the Society.
To download a membership form, click here.
dates and times
The society holds a large number of photographs of many of it residents,
both identified and unknown. Photos of known persons, some of which
date into the 1800's are indexed. A sampling of these photos will
appear here, in the future.
Available at the Gallagher House:
Sesquicentennial Items - California
150 celebration commemoratives which were sold at various events are now
available for sale at the Society. The items
include T-shirts and hand thrown pottery made by a local potter.
The pottery items are oven and microwave proof and include pie plates,
pint jars and lamps.
The California historical scene coverletes.
This beautiflil coverlet was commissioned by the Cal 150 Sesquicentennial
Committee and created by We Love Country. It is 100% cotton, two-layer,
Jacquard woven, in the USA, preshrunk, colorfast, and machine washable.
It is handsome and practical measuring approximately 46 x 68 inches, and
fringed on all four sides. The coverlet features many of California's
major historical and cultural attractions.
The following is a short historical background of the locations
featured on the 150th Annivesary Coverlet:
Pennsylvania Railroad Station: Used for many years by
commuters up and down the river, it is now the home of the California Public
Borough Building: Dedicated in 1997, this building is a symbol
of rebirth in our community.
The Academy: Built in 1852, it was the forerunner of the college,
California University of Pa.
The Sailor: One of the largest and best known of the sternwheelers
that plied the Monongahela. California was a well known boat-building site.
Gallagher House: Built in 1903, it was home to the Gallagher
family for many years, donated to the California Area Historical Society,
Inc. in 1993 as their home.
Veterans Memorial: This is dedicated to all veterans who have
fought to defend our country and its ideals and principles.
Methodist Church: Dedicated in 1860, originally Kier's Chapel,
first church building in California.
Horseshoe Bend in the Monongahela River: also known as Greenfield
Bend, it gives a wide panoramic view of California Coal Center, and Newell.
Intermediate Unit I: Established by the Pennsylvania Legislature
in 1971 as a successor to the county school offices, Intermediate Unit
I is one of only 29 regional educational service agencies in the Commonwealth.
Committed to serving all the learners of Fayette, Greene, and Washington
Counties, Intermediate Unit I also committed to staying~in California Borough
by moving into its new facility in 1993.
Center in the Woods: The Center in the Woods is a multipurpose
senior community center serving older adults from a five county area. Programs
include meals, transportation, adult day care, socialillation, recreation,
education, exercise, intergenerational shared housing, and supportive service
in three senior apartment buildings. Its newest program is the Health Clinic
at Center in the Woods: which offers medical appointments with a geriatrician.
Old Main: The first building constructed at the college, now
California University of Pa. and has always been the symbol of the school.
of the officers:
On Thursday, January 25, at its annual meeting, the Society elected
the following officers and Executive Committee:
Mary Beth Graf, President
Donna Smith, Vice-President
Patricia Cowen, Secretary
Gerald Cowen, Treasurer
Dorothy Hambacher, Member At Large
The Board of Directors now consists of the
Mary Beth Graf
Rev. Robert Higgs
Margaret Fleming Johnson
Rev. David LIndberg, repesenting the California Area Ministerial
Wyona Coleman, representing the California Public Library
Janet Wargo, representing the California Chamber of Commerce
at the Society
Coming soon. A listing of the Holding in the Society
Visit the Mon
Valley History and Genealogy homepage
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