Warren County Historical Society

Historical Societies: News and Highlights presents news and information about Pennsylvania's regional and county historical societies.

In 1895 a committee of several prominent Warren citizens, including the Honorable Charles Warren Stone and Abram J. Hazeltine, staged a gala affair celebrating Warren’s Centennial. Five years later at a reunion meeting of the “Warren Centennial Celebration Association,” the members, concerned with the preservation of all historical materials pertaining to Warren County. formed the Warren County Historical Society. They elected the first officers at that meeting held on August 4, 1900: the Honorable Charles W.Stone, president; the Honorable L. D. Wet­more. vice-president; C. D. Crandall, secretary; and A. J. Hazeltine, trea­surer. The enthusiasm that conceived the historical society has been its life force to the present day.

During the first sixty years the society had no permanent place where it could meet or suitably store and dis­play its collections. In 1964, the soci­ety moved its headquarters from the second floor of the Warren County Courthouse to the Courthouse Annex, the former Wetmore house. The house was originally built as a wedding gift by Thomas Struthers for his only daughter, Anna Eliza, upon her mar­riage to George R. Wetmore in 1870. Completed in 1873, it was done in the popular Italian Renaissance style.

Although much of the exhibit em­phasis has shifted from the building on Fourth Avenue to the society’s mu­seum on Pennsylvania Avenue, there are several period room exhibits al the society, including the formal parlor, a Victorian room and a small country store. The building also houses refer­ence and research facilities, including the library, archives, genealogy records. photograph collections and administrative offices.

As part of its continuing programs, the society publishes a history maga­zine, Stepping Stones, three times a year. One of the regular entries is written by the Three Flags Chapter of the Pennsylvania Federation of Junior Historians. Members of both the junior and senior divisions of the chapter are active volunteers at the museum and historical society.

In addition to facsimile reprints of both the history (1887) and atlas ( 1878) of Warren County, the society has published a number of books of local interest including the series en­titled Historic Buildings in Warren County, which now includes four illus­trated volumes.

Each year the society sponsors two field trips to sites of interest in and near Warren County, and ordinarily three program meetings are held yearly including the annual meeting in March. Several members of the staff are regu­larly called upon to give presentations to local and area civic groups of all kinds, and in recent years some have participated in workshops at the re­gional and state level.

By making its staff and volunteers available as consultants to various community projects and committees, the society has influenced and kept abreast of changes in the county. As a result it has become a strong and respected voice in community affairs. Another major contribution is the continuing effort to expand a com­prehensive reference library, an ex­tensive archival collection now oc­cupying some 200 linear feet and a growing genealogy division which is staffed by six part-time volunteers.

The Honorable Charles Warren Stone Museum, named for a former lieutenant-governor of the state of Pennsylvania and first president of the Warren County Historical Society, opened on September 12, 1976. It is located in the former home of Abram J. Hazeltine, a president of the Warren Savings Bank and a friend and business associate of C. W. Stone. The building was designed by Hazeltine and Warren architect, Edward A. Phillips, and built between 1905 and 1907. Architecturally, the building is a free adaptation of the impressive En­glish Jacobean style, three stories high, constructed of buff brick with Ver­mont marble lintels and capstones.

On permanent exhibit in the base­ment is a display of Warren County memorabilia ranging from the very simple to the complex, from small household utensils to cumbersome agricultural and industrial artifacts. Other permanent exhibits are an ex­tensive collection of foreign and American firearms and a collection of bronze and plaster figures by Marion Sanford, nationally-known sculptress formerly of Warren. The museum will in the future accommodate various temporary exhibits that will display items from the numerous collections of the historical society.

Both the museum and the society headquarters building are county­-owned properties, and both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At the heart of their operation is a staff of over thirty volunteers. This active group contributes much time and talent in accessioning collections, preparing exhibits and keeping research facilities in order and available to users. Largely through their efforts the society has received three Awards of Merit in the last thirteen years, one from the American Association for State and Local History and two from the Pennsylvania Federation of Histor­ical Societies.


Laura A. Grotzinger served as an in­tern at the Warren County Historical Society in 1977 and is now an Archi­vist for the New Jersey Bureau of Archives and History.