When Dennis and Pat Huff Stromberg moved back to Bradford and purchased an historic home, they likely didn’t figure they’d be asked to sit on Bradford Landmark Society’s board of directors — or organize its historic tour of homes in September.
The couple, who purchased a beautiful 115-year-old home at 139 Jackson Ave. last year, are organizing the tour to not only help Bradford Landmark with the fundraiser, but to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic structures in town. The event is also being held in celebration of Bradford Landmark’s 50th anniversary in the community.
The tour is scheduled to be held from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 at several historic homes and buildings in the community. Tickets are $20 for adults and free to children ages 6 and under.
The event will coincide with Bradford’s Pumpkin Fest as well as the Alumni and Family Weekend at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Pat Stromberg said homes currently lined up for the tour will include her and her husband’s home as well as the former Schonblom home at 130 Jackson Ave.; the former George G. Blaisdell home at 162 Kennedy St.; the Flatiron Building at 11 Boylston St.; the Old Post Office on East Corydon Street; Old City Hall on Kennedy Street; Bradford Landmark’s Herbig Bakery at 45 E. Corydon Street; and the former AME Church built in 1879 and now known as Sacred Spaces, at 105 Mechanic St.
Sally Costik, curator of Bradford Landmark, said tours of historic structures in the community were last held 13 to 14 years ago, and were well-received at the time.
“Fall seems to be the perfect time to hold this,” Costik remarked. “Everyone is over the summer madness when every single weekend is packed with something.”
In commenting on their return to their hometown from the Harrisburg area, Pat Stromberg said she and her husband have always had an interest in history, and in particular, Bradford history. The community, which experienced an oil boom before and near the turn of the century, is home to numerous mansions built by millionaires of a bygone era.
“We came back here (for the history), but more than anything it was for the geography, we love the place,” Pat Stromberg said of the community and its four seasons.
They said their home, which was built in 1904 by manufacturer Robert John Gaffney, was recently owned by Ray Saunders. When they sought the history and background information on the house, they learned it had at one time been remodeled into apartments, and later was restored to its original style. In addition, the home with its beautiful woodwork, marble fireplaces and chandeliers throughout, had been owned in the 1970s and 1980s by Elizabeth Emery Kennedy Fesenmyer.
Dennis Stromberg said their hope is that the event will continue to be held in upcoming years to provide community members an inside look at historic buildings, and their stories of transformation from past to present.
His wife added, “It’s about the history of these buildings, what they mean, and have meant to the community — and that they are a part of our present community.”
The Strombergs said volunteers are needed to help take tickets at the door of each of the homes or buildings, if requested by the property owners.
For more information on the event, or to purchase tickets, contact Bradford Landmark at 362-3906.
(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)