Historical Society History

Historical Society History

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Early Armstrong County Room (1)

In 1924, a few local community leaders recognized that steps should be taken to preserve the early history of Armstrong County.  As a result, the Armstrong County Historical and Museum Society was formed with Judge James King as president.  The Society survived for 40 years until becoming inactive in 1964.  It was reactivated in 1967 and then incorporated three years later in 1970.

The McCain House, a Federal-style building centrally located in the borough of Kittanning, became the Society’s home in 1971.  The story of the county’s people, places, and past events is told through the items on display in the museum.

The museum was built in two stages.  Robert E. Brown, a local entrepreneur, businessman, and land owner purchased the property from the Armstrong County Commissioners and started to build his house, the front portion of the current building, in 1842.

Before the house was completed, Brown sold it to Thomas McConnell and his wife, Olive Robinson McConnell, in 1842.  It is not known when the original, modest two-story brick house was completed.  The original house most likely extended back to the beginning of the existing Gathering Room and was quite plain.

The original house may have been enlarged in the early 1900s when the dining room (existing Gathering Room), kitchen, pantry, hallway, back stairs, grand porches, and porte-cochere were added.  The addition more than doubled the size of the house.

The Mildred Lankerd – Thomas Genealogical Library, which was founded in 1973, has an outstanding collection of family, county, community, and church records used for genealogical research. The library is located in the carriage house which is positioned across from the museum.

The Society’s official name now is the Armstrong County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society, Inc.



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