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Tourism bureau to hold first Butler County History Day

The Little Red Schoolhouse on East Jefferson Street was the first school built as a result of the Common School Law of 1834 passed by legislators in Harrisburg. The schoolhouse, which is owned by the Butler County Historical Society, will be featured on Butler County History Day on May 7. Butler Eagle file photo

History buffs and those interested in the early days of Butler County can enjoy a free event coordinated by the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau.

The inaugural Butler County History Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 7 will offer two driving loops where seven historical venues will welcome visitors, offer presentations and feature historical speakers.

Jack Cohen, president of the bureau, said a group representing the county historical society and various museums around the county approached him about holding a historical tour similar to the Butler County Beer Circuit, Butler County Coffee Connection, Butler County In Bloom wildflower walk and other tours created by the bureau.

“They want people to learn about the rich history Butler County has,” Cohen said.

Those who never have seen the Asian art at the Maridon Museum in Butler can do so for free May 7 as part of Butler County History Day. Butler Eagle file photo

Participants can get a “passport” at any of the seven venues and will receive a small county-related gift if they have it stamped at each venue on one of the loops.

The first self-guided History Day loop includes the Little Red Schoolhouse and Maridon Museum in Butler, and the Mars Train Station.

The second loop includes the Evans City Museum, Harmony Museum and Passavant House in Zelienople.

At the Little Red Schoolhouse, which is owned by the county Historical Society, historian Steve Cicero will present a 20-minute program every half-hour on school days in the 1800s.

One of the five plaques recognizing the filming of George Romero’s classic “Night of the Living Dead” horror film is displayed in front of the library and museum in Evans City. The movie’s importance to Evans City’s history will be exhibited at the museum on History Day on May 7. Butler Eagle file photo

Exhibits old and new will be on display at the Maridon Museum, and tours of the restored historic train station, plus rides on the Mars Shortline Railroad will be available at the Mars Train Station.

An exhibit of Evans City artists through history and the “Night of the Living Dead” movie history will be featured at the Evans City Museum.

Early food preparation, storage and baking will be featured at the Harmony Museum in Historic Harmony. Those who visit also will receive a free recipe bookmark and can enjoy wine cellar tours and a historic re-enactor.

Harmony Museum will offer a historical food-related demonstration and invited visitors to the wine cellar on Butler County History Day on May 7. Butler Eagle file photo

Participants can engage in a question-and-answer session at Buhl House to learn about the Passavant and Buhl families who founded Zelienople.

Those following either loop on History Day also are invited to go on an audio driving tour of Washington’s Trail.

Cohen said History Day participants can start out at any of the venues on their chosen loop to get addresses for the other locations on the loop and to retrieve their passport.

Gifts for those who successfully complete their passports can be retrieved at the final venue visited, Cohen said.

He hopes History Day attracts many families.

“The importance of history is vital to the youth of today so they have a reason to stay (in Butler County) when they are older,” Cohen said.

Jennifer Ford, director of the county Historical Society, said she hopes the tour reminds residents that Butler County is packed with fascinating history.

“The most important reason to have it is to re-engage the public with the historical resources they have in the county, especially in the wake of the last two years of COVID-19,” Ford said.

More information on the event is available by clicking on the “History Day” box at visitbutlercounty.com.