Bradford County Historical Society

About the Society

The Bradford County Historical Society was organized on May 5, 1870 and it was incorporated February 12, 1875. C.L. Ward was the first president and in ill health at the time of his election, died ten days after the first meeting. The Society continued, held frequent meetings and gathered considerable material relating to early days of Bradford County. This was kept in two cases in the Grand Jury room at the courthouse. Rev. David Craft was assigned the task of preparing a history of the county, which was published in 1878. There was much dissatisfaction with the work and as a result, the Society disbanded.

On July 21, 1902, the only surviving ex-president of the organization called a meeting and reorganized the Society. In 1903 the County Commissioners leased to the Society the small brick annex located behind the courthouse and a museum and historical library remained there until 1974 when it was moved to 21 Main Street, Towanda.

In 1996, as a result of significant growth, the Board of Trustees began to consider adding an addition to the building. Due to the cost involved, a decision was made to look at other buildings in Towanda that might better meet the needs of the Society. The old Bradford County Jail, built in 1871, was identified as the best option and in 1998 the Commissioners deeded the property to the Society. A ground breaking ceremony was held at the jail on April 30, 1999. The building was completely renovated for use as a museum and library while several of the original features of the jail were preserved. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the research library and archives was held on May 19, 2000. Two floors of exhibits were professionally designed and the facility was officially completed and the grand opening held on May 9, 2002. Over the years, the Bradford County Historical Society has published many more books in an effort to educate the public about the history of the county.

In addition to the collection that has developed over the past 100 years, the Bradford County Historical Society is also the official repository of county government records including deed books, mortgage books, tax assessment books, naturalization records, etc. Staff and volunteers are available to assist visitors with their research needs.

More information about the Bradford County Historical Society can be found at www.bradfordhistory.com.

Society Services

The Bradford County Historical Society has a collection of local artifacts that has been developed over the past 100 years. Also, the Society the official repository of county government records including deed books, mortgage books, tax assessment books, naturalization records, etc. The society has an in house research center and a genealogical library. There are staff and volunteers that are available to assist visitors with their historical and research needs.

Curator

Matthew Carl

Matthew Carl is Managing Curator at the Bradford County Historical Society. As a native of Bradford County, he became interested in the history of his community at the young age of 10. It was at that time that he first visited Laquin, the site of a former lumber town on Barclay Mountain. His interest in the topic grew throughout high school, resulting in local history projects both in school and as a hobby. Matt joined the board of trustees of the Bradford County Historical Society (BCHS) in 2004. His greatest accomplishment during this time was the transition of the research library computer system from old outdated equipment to new hardware and updated inventory software. In the Spring of 2007, after a need for a full time managing curator became apparent at BCHS and after a great deal of planning on the part of the board of trustees, he was given the opportunity to transition from being a volunteer board member to being an employee. Today he manages the daily operations of the historical society including staff, educational programming, grant writing, exhibition planning and development, collections management, and a variety of other tasks. In addition he continues as president of LeRoy Heritage Museum and is Sound Technician at LeRoy Independent Baptist Church.

Related Links

Contact the Department

109 Pine Street
Towanda, PA 18848
Phone: (570) 265-2240
Fax: (570) 268-2964