Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yesterday, the Box and I made a bittersweet journey to a tiny place called Cowan, in Union County, just seven miles from Lewisburg. The purpose was to attend the funeral of the mother of our friend Gary. The service was held in a lovely old country church. There was scripture, singing, and lots of remembrances shared. It was perhaps the most personal of any funeral I have attended. I think it was very healthy for everyone and included a lot of laughter, actually.

I had a meeting later on the afternoon, but I did have enough time to make two short stops on the way home. One was at Buffalo Church. Organized by Presbyterian pioneers in 1773, it was broken up by Indian raids. It resumed its activities with its first regular pastor in 1787. A log church of about 1775 was replaced by a stone church in 1816 and by the current brick church in 1846. It's a charming Greek Revival building with a simple white interior.

Further down the highway, we made a quick crossing of the river to Northumberland to stop at the Joseph Priestley House. Built in 1798, the Georgian house was home to the discoverer of oxygen, the famous English scientist, inventor, and theologian who was also a friend of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

The house belongs to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, but due to budget cuts, the staff was terminated, and the house is now opened by volunteers only on weekends. It's a shame our politicians do not recognize the merit of this National Historic Landmark and provide enough funding to keep it open to the public. So it does not sell enough admissions to be self-supporting. Some places just need to be preserved and ready to welcome visitors. Four other historic sites were closed, too.

Thank heaven for private citizens who are willing to pitch in a keep these places running, even if it's on a shoestring.

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