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Old maps make lasting gifts for the Muncy Public Library

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

Local historian, Tom Taber points to an 1871 map of Muncy he had enlarged and donated to the Muncy Public Library. “Muncy was basically a one street town,” he said.

MUNCY – As he spends most of his remaining years in the town of Muncy itself, historian Thomas Taber proudly states that Muncy has the most recorded history in the state of Pennsylvania. Taber has kept records and researched the town of Muncy dating back to the 1770s. It includes memoirs, marriages, deaths, Main Street properties, historical research on the Muncy Valley, fires and firefighters, bicentennial celebrations as well as historical landmarks and the people who settled into the Muncy community.

One of his favorite documentaries, Taber said, are the pages of the Muncy soldiers.

The chronological history of his compiled research and three other significantly historical items have all been donated to the Muncy Public Library.

His generosity has been renewably accepted by Victoria Thompson Hess, Director of the Muncy Public Library. “These are not copyrighted,” he told Thompson-Hess. “I wrote it and want anyone to be able to come and use it. Everything that has ever been published on Muncy is in here.”

The staff was amazed at his tenacity to complete his “Muncy Encyclopedia” which now rests in the permanent collection at the Muncy Library. “He was here almost every day,” said Thompson-Hess as she referred to the many hours Taber put into the chronicles consisting of 2700 pages. She commented on how she would often see him working in the back corner of the library.

Tom Taber and Victoria Thompson Hess are looking through some of the pages of the 2700 page edition of the three volume set of the "Muncy Encyclopedia" that Taber compiled and donated to the library for public use. Dates range from the 1770s to 2014.

Taber said it took him about two and a half years, maybe three to complete the three volume set that is now securely bound in a book edition form as well as CD’s.

Taber is very fond of Muncy, and speaks proudly as he points to an 1883 map of Muncy he had enlarged and framed, and recently contributed to the library. “I have filled in some missing blanks like house numbers and street addresses,” he replied.

The illustrated map can easily be spotted across the back wall in the reference area. This map displays 22 structures and some of the historic properties of Muncy are listed at the bottom such as the Waldron & Sprout Hayfork Mfrs., Keystone Paint Works (made black filler), the Lycoming Normal School, and the Muncy Woolen Mills among others. The map print was originally drawn and printed by O.H. Bailey and Company.

He also donated another map dated in 1871. It is a pen and ink rendering, also enlarged depicting Muncy before the railroad. Taber also wanted reference names added so people can read them and “to see if an ancestor is shown.”

“Muncy was basically a one street town,” Taber said pointing to some of the houses and the beginnings of the historic district. “This map was not done from an airplane, but done standing on the ground.”

A third item of interest to the public, is a painting done in 1858 of Muncy and it has been placed in the community room of the library. According to Taber, these three items have been positioned in an “ideal location.”

Taber felt that the Muncy Public Library was a good location to store these historic treasures. The hours will give more accessibility to the public, rather than placing them in museums that are not opened as long for viewing as the library. “I want people to be able to view these 20 to 40 years from now,” Taber added.

The books are located near the maps in the reference area with easy access. “We are thrilled to have these wonderful things to add to our reference collections. This is a great history to keep Muncy alive, and we appreciate that Tom has done this for us,” said Thompson-Hess.