Grand Opening of the Adam Room, A Museum in Montgomery
MONTGOMERY – The Montgomery Area Historical Society hosted a special presentation at 2 p.m. on August 11 coinciding with Montgomery’s 125th Quasquicentennial Celebration. Guest speaker was Marion McCormick, of Allenwood. The event was the unveiling for the Adam Room, the Montgomery area’s first museum. It has been named in honor of the Rev. Adam Bingaman, (one of the organizers of the first local historical society and author of “How Did Montgomery Get It’s Name?), and the John T. Adam Family.
The Adam Room is located at 3 West Houston, Montgomery, underneath the Montgomery Public Library. The museum is located in the former Adam Print Shop, which opened in 1944 by John T. Adam. Adam owned and managed the print shop, and after his death at age 56, his wife, Thelma, and son John Jr., took over the helm. The Adam Print Shop operated for 65 years, serving the printing needs of Montgomery, and surrounding areas from 1944 until 2009.
After the business was closed and the shop vacated, the Montgomery Area Historical Society board members toured the space and determined that it could serve as an appropriate area for displaying and storing the society’s historical collection.
Effective April 1, 2010, the library board approved renting the space to the historical society. Over the following several months, the former Adam Print shop received a face-lift, thanks to many volunteers who cleaned, painted, and renovated the space in preparation for the Grand Opening of the Adam Room.
McCormick’s Grand Opening program focused on the history of the Adam Print Shop using artifacts that volunteers had set up for display throughout the museum. McCormick talked about the former print shop, which was located in the same spot as the first Montgomery Mirror office back in 1889. She showed photographs of Montgomery’s influential citizens and industries that had important roles in the formation of Montgomery Borough.
McCormick talked about the Linotype Machine that was used in the shop, and asked Kenneth McClintock about his experience working as a linotype operator. He said, “It made me deaf”, mentioned several co-workers names, and added, “It was a very nice place to work.”
A letter was read from Donald Henderson, former employee, which included a nice tribute to the Adam Family.
McCormick told the audience, over 40 people from near and far, that she had spent many hours at the print shop when she was younger. “I liked the sound of the press – thump, thump, bump, bump, but most of all I liked the smiles and kindnesses of John and Thelma Adam,” she explained.
McCormick said during the war her mother would sit in the living room copying letters to soldiers and sailors. The Montgomery Mirror newspaper printed all of the soldier’s letters and news from Montgomery in a special section called Keep ‘Em Flying Page’ and sent the newspaper free to all service people from the area. When the paper ended, volunteers from the Keep ‘Em Flying Club’ supported The Montgomery News Publication to continue sending news to the service people. “Continuing,” she said, “The Montgomery Bulletin was an avenue for merchants to post their ads. Early Muncy publications printed in Montgomery which are still being printed elsewhere, include the Now & Then, and The Muncy Luminary, both full of local information.”
Walking through the museum is like walking through time. Some of the unique displays include The Last River Raft, Forts, a cotton dress printed by the “Mirror”, and worn by Grace (Barlett) LaForme, of Montgomery at the time of the newspaper’s 50th Anniversary in 1939, local churches, organizations, railroads, the canal, ‘Remembering Main Street’, documentary photographs from The Adam Print Shop by Gary Steele of Montgomery Schools, the 1889 West Branch Flood, Montgomery Diamond Jubilee, postcards, posters, and many more items worth viewing.
To learn more about Montgomery and surrounding communities, visit the Pennsylvania Room in the Montgomery Public Library. Available for purchase in the library is Joan Wheal Blank’s book, “Around Montgomery Borough 1940-1990”, and a Montgomery Postcard History Book.
The Montgomery Area Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of Montgomery Borough, Brady, Clinton, and Washington Townships in Lycoming County. To learn more about the Montgomery Historical Society and the Montgomery area, visit their website at www.montgomeryareahistoricalsociety.org.