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History on Wheels Tour to Highlight Bellefonte's Past During Victorian Christmas Weekend

by and on December 08, 2017 5:00 AM

BELLEFONTE — Travel back in time on a Bellefonte Women's Club's History on Wheels guided tour on Saturday during Bellefonte's Victorian Christmas weekend.

Buses will depart at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. While on the tour, visitors can meet important figures from the past who will board the bus to share their unique contributions to Bellefonte. The tour will wind up with a visit to two historic homes.

“For 30 years, the women’s club has held house tours," said history tour chairman Mary Kay Justice. "On a trip to Buffalo, I heard about a bus tour that traveled through Forest Lawn Cemetery and people told the history of the buildings and the people of the area.

“Bellefonte has many interesting stories, historical people and great architecture. So why not do a similar tour here?”

A bus will take people from the train station, through town, across Curtin Street and on to Linn Street, where the tour's two home stops are located. On the bus, tour guides will describe Bellefonte's history and architecture, as well as share interesting facts about the community. Those serving as guides include Patty Hillard, a retired Bellefonte School District employee; Ann Sager, a retired English teacher; Dr. Michelle Saylor, school superintendent; and Tom Wilson, Bellefonte mayor.

Storytellers who will board the bus in character include:

■ Dr. Candy Covey, telling the story of the wife of the founder of Bellefonte's first hospital

■ Candace Dannaker, discussing Dr. Meek

■ David Dimmick, portraying Gov. James A. Beaver

■ Nancy Perkins, a descendent of Anna Keichline, sharing Keichline’s story as the first woman architect in Bellefonte

The two homes on the tour are both on Linn Street. Bob and Tammy Shuster's home, “Our Fair Lady,” was built by lumberman John Ardell in 1883 and is located at 313 E. Linn St. Millie Ragosta' home, 319 E. Linn St., was built from material salvaged from the fire at the Bellefonte High School in 1911.

The Bellefonte Women’s Club has been in existence for more than 100 years, and its home tours have been major fundraisers.

“We are small in number, just 22 of us, but mighty in service,” said Justice. “We have always given to the fire company, the high school or other causes.”

Tickets for the History on Wheels tour are $20 and will be available prior to Saturday, Dec. 9, at Plumb's Drug Store, Woodring’s Floral Gardens and the train station. On the day of the tours, tickets will be available only at the train station.

Bellefonte Victorian Christmas takes place Friday through Sunday. For a complete schedule of events, visit

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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