Sunday, January 3, 2016

Photo of the Week: Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, Circa 1876

(By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist)

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: This wonderful image of Waynesburg, Greene County, Pennsylvania, is featured in such publications as Fred High's Waynesburg Prosperous & Beautiful (Brown & Whitaker, 1906) and more recently in Images of America: Waynesburg (Arcadia, 2015). The original photograph, though, comes to us from the Helen Mae (Jacobs) Fonner Collection shared by George and Anna (Fonner) Blystone.
Waynesburg, Circa 1876

Family collections often include pictures and papers that go above and beyond immediate family context and actually hold value to a much wider audience. Though this photo was published in High's excellent 1906 book, the ability to scan and study the original image enhances the quality and provides a better ability to zoom-in on specific details.

Dating the Photo

Methodist Episcopal Church, built 1876, on right
High dated the photo as 1875, but the Methodist Episcopal Church on Washington Street was built 1876, and is clearly visible with its unique steeple in the photograph, indicating the picture dates closer to that year or shortly thereafter.

It is unlikely that the image dates later than the mid-1870s, due to the state of the three cemeteries in the picture. The Commons Cemetery (at the site of today's Monument Park) and the old St. Ann Roman Catholic Church Cemetery (further right along the fence line) can both be seen, which is a rare treat! In the late 1870s, both cemeteries were abandoned and removed to the hilltop to Green Mount Cemetery, established 1853, and the new St. Ann Cemetery which was established just north of Green Mount in 1877. Also in 1877, the entry road to Green Mount, off of Morris Street, was improved with the stone wall and columnar entry way. These do not appear to be in this picture.
Commons Cemetery stones are visible in front of Union School (later North Ward). Further right, along the fence line are the stones of the old St. Ann Cemetery. Green Mount Cemetery, established 1853, is above on the hilltop.

Zooming-in on the Photo

This is an image well worth taking the time to zoom-in and study. To do so, click on the photo once to open it in Flickr, then click on it once again to zoom-in,

As an aid to identify significant featured locations, a numbered version of the picture has been created. View and zoom-in on it in the same way. Below is a key to the numbered highlights.

Waynesburg, Circa 1876 (Numbered version)
The following locations have been identified:

1) Cumberland Presbyterian Church, built on High Street 1868
2) Walton Hotel on the northwest corner of High and Morris Streets
3) Presbyterian Church (steeple), built on Morris Street 1849
4) Methodist Episcopal Church, built on Washington Street 1876
5) Downey House, built on the southwest corner of High and Washington Streets 1869
6) Greene County Courthouse, built on the southeast corner of High and Washington Streets 1850-51
Close-up showing #8 - Original Greene County Courthouse, built 1797
7) Messenger Building, formerly the Hamilton House, on the northeast corner of High and Washington Streets
8) Original Greene County Courthouse, built 1797 on Greene Street, as of 2016 the location of the Cornerstone Genealogical Society
9) Flour mill
10) Hanna Hall, built 1850 on Waynesburg College campus
11) Union School, later North Ward, built 1864
12) Commons Cemetery
13) St. Ann Roman Catholic Church Cemetery
14) Green Mount Cemetery, established 1853
15) St. Ann Roman Catholic Church

Bonus Photo

Research at the Greene County Historical Society revealed a sister photograph that expands the view provided by the Fonner Collection image. This exciting addition turns the camera just slightly southwest allowing us to line up some of the central landmarks in both pictures.

Neither image bears a photographer stamp.

Waynesburg, Circa 1876 (Southwest view)
Further Fonner Collection Gems

This historic Waynesburg photograph is part of a larger series and collection including many family photographs for early Greene County families including Jacobs, Kent, Barnes, Dulaney, and more. Visit the Helen Mae (Jacobs) Fonner Collection to scroll through the images. Use the Collections or Keywords links, and the custom Search Engine, all located on the Greene Connections Photo Archives tab to search the nearly 9,000 photographs and documents that have been shared.

The Jacobs-Kent Series probably began with Eleanor Ann (Kent) Jacobs [1832-1902], wife of Henry Moore Jacobs, and daughter of David Kent & Elizabeth Barnes. Eleanor's photographs were passed to her son Joseph Warren Jacobs [1868-1947] to his daughter Helen Mae (Jacobs) Fonner [1922-1999] to her daughter Anna (Fonner) Blystone who with her husband, George Blystone, owned and shared the photographs with the Greene Connections: Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project in 2005. Each generation added to the collection with photographs from their own family and in-laws. The Jacobs-Kent Series is a part of the Helen Mae (Jacobs) Fonner Collection.

GreeneConnections.com is a free local history archival project. Sponsored by LOLA Energy.

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