Saturday, December 31, 2011

Spanish Hill: The Search for More Answers

Spanish Hill is a large glacial mound located in South Waverly, PA. It is just 1/4 mile east of the Chemung River (the western branch of the Susquehanna above Tioga Point), and just south of Waverly, NY and the New York state border.
Spanish Hill is private property - no trespassing.
Spanish Hill's shape has been referred to over the years as the shape of a sugarloaf - in that it rises some 230 feet to its summit, with steep sides and a flat top of about ten acres.   Note that the Chemung River is to the west of the hill, and joins the Susquehanna only three or so miles south from this point. The Susquehanna then runs south to the Chesapeake Bay. Local historian and author, Louise Welles Murray may have said it best as she described the hill nearly 100 years ago:

Early photo of Spanish Hill, provided by the Tioga Point Museum
Spanish Hill: circa 1980's, courtesy of Spanish
 "Of many points of historic interest in our valley, perhaps none has attracted more attention or roused more speculation, from the earliest times to the present, than the mound called Spanish Hill.  This prominence is due not only to its unusual position (isolated from the hill ranges and regions), but also to its odd outline, the remains of fortifications on the top, and its present name." - ~Louise Welles Murray -"History of Old Tioga Point and Early Athens -"1908.

Now covered with “No Trespassing “ signs, a large home and several out buildings, the site was once a favorite place for locals to take the steep climb to the summit for a Sunday picnic. The earliest of these would have picnicked on a beautiful flat lawn surrounded by strange earthen walls with an interior ditch that would later be erased by the plow of an overzealous farmer.

Earthen Enclosure
Apparently, the destruction of these fortifications was quite well known by locals as in 1870 Mrs. Perkins wrote in her book “Early Times on the Susquehanna ,” “Many now living remember the beautiful flat lawn of several acres on top of the hill (Spanish Hill) and an enclosure of earth 7-8 feet high, which was within a quarter of a century been leveled by the plow and harrow.” (Perkins, 1906:102)

But Perkins was not the only person to have recorded seeing these strange earthen walls – the earliest description known to date is that of Duke Rochefoucault de Liancourt, a French Traveler in 1795, who revealed that the name “Spanish Hill” was most likely derived from the fact that these fortifications existed. In route to Niagara, he saw the hill and thus wrote of it:

“Near the confines of Pennsylvania a mountain rises from the bank of the river Tioga (Chemung) in the shape of a sugar loaf upon which are seen the remains of some entrenchments. These the inhabitants call the Spanish Ramparts, but I rather judge them to have been thrown up against the Indians in the time of M. de Nonville. One perpendicular breastwork is yet remaining which, though covered with grass and bushes, plainly indicates that a parapet and a ditch have been constructed here.” (La Rochefoucald-Liancourt 1795:76-7)

The next earliest account is that of Alexander Wilson, celebrated ornithologist from Philadelphia who wrote in 1804:
“Now to the left the ranging mountains bend,
And level plains before us wide extend;
Where rising lone, old Spanish Hill appears, The post of war in ancient unknown years.
It’s steep and rounding sides with woods embrowned,
It’s level top with old entrenchments crowned;
Five hundred paces thrices we measured o’er,
Now overgrown with woods alone it stands,
And looks abroad o’er open fertile lands.
(Murray 1908:53)

In 1878 Spanish Hill landowner, Mr. I.P. Shepard of Waverly, NY presented a paper for the Tioga Point Historical Society in Athens, PA. In that paper, he created the following illustration with the help of Charles Henry Shepard, whose residence throughout a long life of eighty-seven years, was close to the hill and who remembered “distinctly” the “Spanish Ramparts” before the plow of a farmer nearly leveled them to the ground.

Map courtesy of SRAC/Cowles collection

 Fortifications on Spanish Hill redrawn by Ellsworth Cowles from early sketch
“Mr. C.H.Shepard described these fortifications as consisting of an embankment with a trench,  giving a height of four or five feet inside. When he was a boy and first visited them, about 1820 or 1825, large trees were growing in the trenches, showing that a long time had elapsed since they were used. The double lines in the diagram indicate portions still clearly defined, and were evidently made much higher to protect those portions of the hill that were easily assailable…The dotted line inside this angle, Mr. Shepard thinks indicated a palisade for greater security…” (Murray 1908:58)

Later the infamous 20th century archeologist Warren K. Moorhead, whose experience with earthen embankments included those discovered at Fort Ancient , Ohio made reference to these fortifications at Spanish Hill. In the “Susquehanna River Expedition” he recorded that a site further south of Spanish Hill, (Sugar Creek) showed, “…traces of a fortified hilltop, there being distinct traces of embankments. This being smaller than Spanish Hill, but it resembled same.” (Moorehead 1936:70)

But most significant to the research of the site and the earthen walls was yet another witness to the embankments, General John S. Clark later in 1878. Unlike the other observers, Clark was a seasoned surveyor and mapmaker from Civil War times, and as a result drew the most significant evidence relative to the earthen walls that exists today.  The nearly 150 year old old survey depicts the enclosure as follows: 

The information provided by Clark in the first portion of the survey (shown here) illustrates the cross section of the enclosure wall with the interior ditch clearly defined.

The second portion of the survey illustrates the massive size of ten acres that was enclosed running the entire edge of the summit. Why Clark placed posts in the embankment remains a mystery however, because no post molds were ever recorded to support this idea.
Unfortunately, after the enclosure walls (as reported by early witnesses) were erased from the summit by annual plowing and cultivation, some researchers began to question whether they ever really existed at all. Furthermore, the researchers that did accept that the enclosure did exist would consistently deduce that they were indicative of an ancient hilltop/ palisaded village site.

In fact, it wasn’t until the past decade when fresh eyes again reviewed these reports that any new discussions about the Spanish Hill site occurred.  Specifically, the strange construction of the walls with the ditch on the inside of the wall became a point of interest, and when it was discovered in “Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,” that author and ancient mound specialist E. G. Squier wrote, “the circumstances of the ditch being within the vallum (wall) is a distinguishing mark between religious and military works” things began to point in a totally new direction to explain what Spanish Hill actually was. Like Fort Ancient – some believe today that the enclosure on top of Spanish Hill had been mistaken to be a hilltop fort, and was actually a ceremonial space.

Unfortunately, the new information just didn’t jive with the current understandings of the region’s archaeological past and the idea that a ceremonial hilltop enclosure existed so far away from the Ohio Valley and what is believed by many as its counterpart, Fort Ancient in Ohio, is still unthinkable to many professionals even today. However, more and more evidence seems to be mounting that might someday overturn the current beliefs…

What We Know About the Fort Ancient Culture
Fort Ancient is a name for a Native American people that flourished from 1000-1600 AD who predominantly inhabited land in the region of Ohio and Kentucky. The Fort Ancient culture was once thought to be an expansion of the Hopewell and or Mississippian cultures, but it is now accepted as an independently developed culture of its own.

The name of the culture originates from the Fort Ancient, Ohio site. The fort is located on a hill above the Little Miami River, close to Lebanon, Ohio. Fort Ancient has earthen walls that are over 3 miles (5 km) long and up to 23 feet (7.5 m) high. The hilltop enclosure surrounds a plot of 100 acres (0.4 km). However, recently it was discovered that the southern “fort” was separately constructed much earlier than the much larger northern area of the site.  Despite its name, most archaeologists do not believe that Fort Ancient was used primarily as a fortress by either the Hopewell or the Fort Ancient -- rather, it is becoming commonplace to accept that it was a ceremonial location again due to the construction of the ditches on the interior side of the enclosure walls.

Early historical records also indicate that only high ranking leaders or shamans actually used these spaces and that the other Native Americans would not climb to the summit of a ceremonial enclosure.  Captain John Smith when exploring the Susquehanna River noted his experience at a ceremonial site, “This place they account so holy that none but priests or kings dare into it, nor savages dare go up in the boats by it…” and E. G. Squier stated in his “Aboriginal Monuments of the State of NY, Concerning Sacred Enclosures of North America,” “This sacred place, according to our authority, could not be approached by any but the magi or priests.”  Coincidentally, Spanish Hill historian Louise Welles Murray also noted this strange behavior in her book “Old Tioga Point and Early Athens,” (1908) “Early in the last century, Alpheus Harris settled at the foot of the hill. An old Indian was a frequent visitor, but when asked to ascend the hill he always refused, saying a Great Spirit lived there who would kill him.”

The Fort Ancient people are also given credit for the largest effigy mound in the United States, Serpent Mound, in Ohio, and are believed to be responsible for hundreds of effigy burial mounds in the shape of birds, animals, and even “horned men effigies” found in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

Until recently, it has not been commonly accepted that the Fort Ancients would have populated the regions of Pennsylvania but more and more evidence is mounting along the Susquehanna River that seems to be irrefutable.

Disappearance of Earthworks/Evidence
Sadly over the past two hundred years – the majority of the earthworks recorded by 19th century researchers like Squier and others have been demolished. Many in fact would be amazed to see  the 1881 map of “Ancient Earthworks East of the Mississippi” created by Cyrus Thomas on behalf of the Smithsonian Institute to record the sites that even then were disappearing at an alarming rate. Dots pepper not only the Mississippi River Valley but also New York and Pennsylvania. In fact, Spanish Hill was included in the 1881 map and was recorded as an enclosure.
Portion of 1881 map with Spanish Hill circled
Sadly, without the archaeological evidence of the enclosure atop Spanish Hill to accompany the historical records that remain, professional’s interest in the site has diminished, and as a result it is now private property with no access allowed for any research to continued.

Yet even with the demise of the ancient earthworks over the last century and less and less hard evidence to support their existence, some researchers have found new hope in yet another type of evidence. Ancient rock art has been found which many believe irrefutably reinstates the belief that the Fort Ancients had a presence along the Susquehanna River.

Safe Harbor Petroglyphs
Huge rocks in the Susquehanna River in Safe Harbor, PA show a striking resemblance to the Fort Ancient effigy mounds found hundreds of miles away throughout Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin.  One of the most significant clusters of this rock art could be seen on the Big and Little “Indian Rocks” located at Safe Harbor, and were recorded by Donald Cadzow in 1934.  Like the ancient earthworks, many petroglyphs have been lost.  Fortunately, enough petroglyphs still remain to show that the same people or culture must have been responsible; for both the effigy mounds of the Midwest clearly have matching counterparts in the petroglyphs at Safe Harbor, PA (shown above.)

Common Fort Ancient Effigy Mounds
Below is a collection of effigy mound shapes, all found in just one county in Wisconsin.

Display at the Sauk County, Man Mound 100 Year Anniversary (of discovery)

Below is a collection of petroglyphs found along the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania at Safe Harbor.
Copies of the ancient petroglyphs on a gneissic rock named “Little Indian Rock” below the dam at Safe Harbor, Pennsylvania, drawn from plaster casts by Professor Porter in 1863 and 1864.
One of the most interesting and unique Fort Ancient mounds is the Man Mound in Sauk County, Wisconsin that measures 214 feet in length and 48 feet in width at the shoulders.
Specific to my interest was the man shaped figures from both mediums (Mounds and Rock Art) -

Early photo of the Man Mound –provided by  Sauk County Historical Society

Other “Horned Man” Effigy Mounds in Wisconsin


A unique character in the Fort Ancient belief system is referred to as the water spirit or water “panther.” The Fort Ancients believed that water spirits controlled the underworld and especially the waters and that they were hunted by the thunderbirds of the upperworld.  “Earthmaker created the Waterspirits and the Thunders first among the spirits, giving the Thunders control over the waters of heaven and the Waterspirits control over those of the lower world.” Foster, Foster's Indian Record, vol. 1, #2,: p. 3, col. 2 Waterspirits were believed to be found in rivers, lakes and springs where they could make whirlpools and rough waters that could topple a canoe. For this reason, this particular petroglyph seems fittingly placed along a river that could be treacherous to navigate. “Waterspirits can be very dangerous, creating whirlpools that have sucked under many a canoe. In the deep water off Governor's Island in Lake Mendota, there lay a den of Waterspirits who caused great disturbances in the water and overturned canoes. The Waterspirit of Green Lake created whirlpools by swirling her arms up. Those who did not make the proper offerings would be sucked under.” Charles Edward Brown, Wisconsin Indian Place Legends (Madison: Works Progress Administration, Wisconsin, 1936) (Note that the Safe Harbor horned men found along the Susquehanna River are raising their arms up.)

An interesting side note is that many believe that the humanoid effigy forms that also take on thunderbird or water spirit qualities (i.e. horned men or thunder birds with human legs) represent shaman who had great spiritual powers or connections to either form. (Watch my video at a Man Mound and a Bird Man Mound a few years ago.)

Sites other than Safe Harbor have also shown evidence of the Fort Ancient water panther and belief system in Pennsylvania.

Parkers Landing Petroglyphs -Located on the east shore of the Allegheny River approximately 1.6 miles downstream from Parker City in Clarion County, Pa – Provided by Kris Wenning, SRAC Member
The rockart/effigy shown here was found near Clarion, PA along the Allegheny River, and is commonly accepted to be a water panther or water spirit of Fort Ancient origin.

Were the Fort Ancients in Pennsylvania and the Likely Creators of the Earthworks on Spanish Hill?
The truth is that even E.G. Squier noted that he had seen evidence that the Fort Ancients had travelled as far eastward as the Susquehanna River when he stated, “Some ancient works, probably belonging to the same system with those of the Mississippi Valley , and erected by the same people, occur upon the Susquehanna River, as far down as the Valley of Wyoming, in Pennsylvania. The mound builders seem to have skirted the southern border of Lake Erie, and spread themselves in diminished numbers, over the western part of New York State, along the shores of Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River. They penetrated into the interior, eastward as far as the county of Onnondaga where some slight vestiges of their works still exist. These seem to have been their limits at the north-east.” (Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, E.G. Squier , page 1)

Archaeological Evidence at Spanish Hill and Surrounding Sites
Burial grounds near Fort Ancient were reported to be made up of stone graves such as those reported by Moorehead in his "Primitive Man in Ohio" shown here:

Drawing courtesy of  Primitive Man in Ohio (Moorehead:1892)
Interestingly - these same type of stone graves have been found below Spanish Hill, and that info (with photos) have been reported to me by SRAC's own Ted Keir.

Fort Ancient Pot Found in Murray Farm Site
The archaeological evidence from this site and those surrounding it has been collected for hundreds of years. In fact, Warren K. Moorehead reported in the Pennsylvania Historical Commission’s “Report of the work of the Susquehanna Archaeological Expedition Conducted during the summer of 1916” the following: “Within a radius of forty kilometers of this place (Spanish Hill) there are at least twenty-five collectors of specimens. These men have searched the hills and fields for many years. It is quite likely that most of the objects left by the Andaste have been picked up.”

During Moorehead's expedition in 1916, his crew actually found a Fort Ancient pot in the Murray Farm site which is just a stone's throw below Spanish Hill, which was reported by PA's authority on pottery, Charles Lucy in 1951 as, "a double pot grit tempered, and decorated in cord-wrapped paddle designs on the rim and neck. It is similar to specimens found in the Ohio Valley and identified as Fort Ancient..." This pot went with the rest of the artifacts from that expedition to the Heye National Museum of the American Indian in NYC which was just breaking ground in 1916. Moorehead's "Susquehanna River Expedition" was funded by that Museum's founder, George Heye in return for all of the artifacts and skeletal materials found or bought during it.
SRAC's Fort Ancient axe found on top of hill

Sadly, this was the way of early archaeology in America - leaving sites in our region without the original archaeology that could give us clear scientific evidence of the people who lived here and created the sites like Spanish Hill...and clearly why I have had to work so hard trying to figure this all out...

The artifacts preserved today are quite sparse compared to what was found in Moorehead’s day, but there are ongoing efforts to preserve what can be located in order for more research to continue.

The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC)
This research has been an ongoing passion.  I began chronicling the research on in 2003, which lead to an article being published in the PA Archaeologist Journal in 2005. In doing the initial research on Spanish Hill for that article, it became evident that just as with the earthworks, the artifacts are slowly disappearing because of constant artifact collecting in the region by private collectors. 

SRAC's slate amulet/tablet found below hill
In 2004, the search for archaeological evidence, located two of the largest known collections of private Native American artifact collections from Spanish Hill and the surrounding region that still existed in private hands.  These collections (Keir and Cowles) were to be the foundation of a new nonprofit organization dedicated to the education, preservation and research of the Native American artifacts – The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC).  Teaming up with Ted Keir and Richard Cowles also brought together the knowledge of the region’s leading avocational archaeologists, along with a huge reference library that SRAC continues to build.  This along with adding other private collectors to the SRAC board and membership allows the Center to have the most knowledgeable staff concerning local sites available, and the hope of keeping those important collections in
the region. SRAC also has a list of professional archaeologists and anthropologists from NY state and surrounding universities act as professional advisors allowing SRAC to continuously remain up-to-date about new finds, excavations, and research.  SRAC is committed to maintaining a line of open communication between professionals and avocationals by sharing important information openly between the two.  (The ongoing differences between professionals and collectors often make communication difficult.)  As a result of these efforts, SRAC has been able to save artifacts that were found at Spanish Hill over a century ago, like the deep grooved ax shown here which was found by a private collector in 1897, and the blue slate amulet seen here, found in 1908.

To date SRAC houses thousands of local artifacts from sixteen different private collections with many artifacts originating from Spanish Hill; in fact, one whole case is dedicated to that site and it’s the most popular part of the exhibit area. The Center is a 501c3 with over 300 members and is open five days a week while being manned 100% by volunteers, many of which are collectors and students of the regional Native American past and archaeology.

The next step for the Center is to facilitate research with professionals and amateurs working together to start answering many of the questions surrounding Spanish Hill.  The questions concerning the earthworks that once enclosed ten acres at its top, and the people who made them still need definitive answers.  It is crucial that ongoing research continue in order to establish that the petroglyphs described here are of the same cultural origin as those earthworks recognized by Squier.  In doing so, many answers to the questions of early Pennsylvania and New York and possibly Iroquoian prehistory may be uncovered. Researchers with backgrounds in Fort Ancient work are invited to join the ongoing investigation.

For more information concerning Spanish Hill, visit Please note: Spanish Hill is currently private property and trespassing is not advised. SRAC is located at 345 Broad Street in Waverly, New York. To learn more about this article and SRAC, visit or contact Deb Twigg at

If you like the work we are doing please consider supporting our small non-profit at

Thank in advance for whatever you can do!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mark Twain at SRAC - Tuesday, January 3rd

"Mark Twain:  “Known to Everyone – Liked by All”
Tuesday, January 3rd 6:30pm – 7:30pm
at SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY

We live in "Mark Twain Country."  The great American author spent 20 summers on a hilltop outside of nearby Elmira where he wrote many of his most popular books and stories.  He was the first American celebrity—“the most conspicuous person on the planet”—and his fame and reputation transcend time and place. Mark Twain still matters.  Let us be:  “Proud to be where Twain remains.”

Lance J. Heidig has curated Cornell’s Mark Twain exhibition. He was born and raised in Waverly, NY.

An admission donation of $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members (free admission for students!) is requested. Free admission to the SRAC exhibit hall is included in this donation. For more information, visit , email, or call the Center at 607-565-7960.

Jewelry and Beading Class January 7th at SRAC!

Jewelry and Beading Class
Sat, January 7,  11:30am – 1:30pm
SRAC, 345 Broad St. Waverly, NY

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mark Twain Presentation at SRAC January 3

"Mark Twain:  “Known to Everyone – Liked by All”
Tuesday, January 3rd 6:30pm – 7:30pm
at SRAC, 345 Broad Street Waverly, NY

We live in "Mark Twain Country."  The great American author spent 20 summers on a hilltop outside of nearby Elmira where he wrote many of his most popular books and stories.  He was the first American celebrity—“the most conspicuous person on the planet”—and his fame and reputation transcend time and place. Mark Twain still matters.  Let us be:  “Proud to be where Twain remains.”

Lance J. Heidig has curated Cornell’s Mark Twain exhibition. He was born and raised in Waverly, NY.

An admission donation of $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members (free admission for students!) is requested. Free admission to the SRAC exhibit hall is included in this donation. For more information, visit , email, or call the Center at 607-565-7960.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teaching History and Making Memories at SRAC

SRAC's Dick Cowles discusses early Native American contact and trade with the Europeans
(WAVERLY, NY) The Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) hosted the 4th grade students in the Waverly, NY school system to a day of fun and learning at the Center recently.  Approximately one hundred and twenty five students in all walked to SRAC from their school and were treated to a unique experience that the Center provides as a follow up to their curriculum on Native American history.

This year’s event included SRAC’s Ted Keir, Dick Cowles, and Jack Andrus who ran stations that the students rotated through on Hunting the Woolly Mammoth, Early Trade with Europeans, and Native American Children’s Stories. While attending each station, students touched actual artifacts found in the locality as they listened to SRAC’s staff who taught them about the Native American people who lived here hundreds to thousands of years ago.  Cathy Hand, one of the 4th grade teachers in attendance told the children, “Before today we could only tell you about the Native American who lived here, but today you have seen and touched the actual evidence they left behind.”

SRAC's Ted Keir discusses early mammoth hunters
The field trip ended with the students broken up into teams and competing against each other in the SRAC “Stump the Chumps” contest where each team tried to come up with questions from each station that the others couldn’t answer. In the end, the winners were thrilled to take home actual net sinker artifacts that were donated personally by Ted Keir and in small drawstring bags embossed with “SRAC”. Keir stated, “Net sinkers are so common in our area and I have so many at home that I decided to donate some personally for this event today at SRAC. I hope that the kids that won these simple little stone artifacts that once were used as weights on fishing nets will be inspired to think about what life was like for the Native Americans in our area and that they continue to want learn more.”  

Deb Twigg, SRAC’s executive director added, “Everyone at SRAC looks forward to the field trips that we put on and we all take the fact that we are creating a childhood memory for these kids very seriously. I want to thank Waverly’s 4th grade teachers for bringing the kids and letting us be a part of their Native American curriculum each year. We enjoy it as much as the kids do.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Roger Kennedy, The Political History of North America from 25,000BC to 12,000AD

Roger Kennedy, the former head of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and former Director of the US National Park Service, is so eloquent that Walt Kelly based a "Pogo" character on him (the bear P.T. Bridgeport, whose speech balloons are circus posters).

Roger Kennedy's most driving current interest is the long-term effects of long-term abuse of natural systems, and he means seriously long term. Kennedy knows politics. For decades a major player himself in Washington DC, he has written redefining biographies of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Aaron Burr. Kennedy knows history. Besides writing and hosting a number of television series on American history, he wrote Rediscovering America and Hidden Cities: The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization.

And Kennedy knows natural systems. As a highly popular Director of the National Park Service, he pushed the whole Park System toward greater emphasis on science. Roger Kennedy also found the mountain in Nevada where The Long Now Foundation aims to build the 10,000-year Clock. In this talk he defines the continental frame of the Clock.

Click the following image to play the presentation - (wear headphones if possible - - the sound is not great!)

Friday, December 2, 2011

This Tuesday - "Life and Times of a PA Game Commissioner"

Experience the history of game conservation and the Pennsylvania Game Commission at SRAC on Tuesday, December 6th from 6:30pm - 7:30pm. Dressed as an old time game refuge keeper, Bill Bower will depict the life and work of early game protectors. Bradford County is home to the lowest numbered game lands in Pennsylvania - SGL #12 located on Barclay Mountain. Sunfish Pond was once the site of a game refuge. Come and hear the stories of a refuge keeper.

In 1995 the Pennsylvania Game Commission celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was formed in 1895 when a law was passed authorizing the Governor to appoint six men to this new commission. These men were to be sportsmen and serve without salary and pay at their own expense. No money was appropriated to run this new commission, and many thought it would fail before it even got started.

The commission was very unpopular with some of the hunting public. No longer could a man hunt whatever or whenever he wanted. Now he had to obey certain laws and hunt only during the open season, and there were some animals he could not hunt at all. To say that these new game protectors were unpopular would be unjust; actually most were hated by the hunters. In the first year, 14 game protectors were shot at, seven were hit, and four killed.

The state's forests were all cut over and forest fires were a common thing. Gone were the elk, the bison, the passenger pigeon, and the beaver. The state's wildlife community was in deplorable condition and needed help, badly.

Today a Game Protector is called a Wildlife Conservation Officer. Although his job is still basically law enforcement, the type of work has changed drastically in the last 100 years.

Bill Bower is a retired Wildlife Conservation Officer for western Bradford County.

An admission donation of $6 for adults, $4 for SRAC members (free admission for students!) is requested. Free admission to the SRAC exhibit hall is included in this donation. For more information, visit , email, or call the Center at 607-565-7960.

Jewelry Classes at SRAC Saturday(s) Dec 3rd and 10th

There's ALWAYS something going on at SRAC!

Buy one get on free on all Exhibit Hall admissions til 2012!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Donated Painting Raises $2,000 for SRAC!

Charles Durant Painting raised $2,000 for SRAC

Over a year ago, Lillian Warren came to SRAC and donated a painting to us to raise funds. The truth is that I wasn't sure that we could sell it to our demographic and set it on an inconspicuous shelf. ...I think I had $25 on it or something like that...

It wasn't until a good friend of SRAC - and artist in his own right - Albert White came in one day that changed the course of things...Albert took one look at the painting and said, "Deb  you want to take that painting upstairs and research it on some pulp art websites - I think you'll find it."

After researching it - I did in fact find the painting - and not only that - but found out that it had been the cover of the October 1932 issue of the "Ace High Magazine" - !

October 1932 Ace High Magazine
Initially I contacted about 8 auction houses and several pulp and western art dealers acrossed the country  but nobody would go above $1,000 for it and I just thought that I should keep trying...Over the past year there were times that I would hear from someone from Texas or that had interests in the JE Ranch, etc as well and I would ask them to share our painting with interested buyers...But nothing ever came of the efforts...

So last week I just decided that I would post it in eBay for the price I was willing to take for it ($2,000) and see what happened. To my surprise - I got the bid, and yesterday it sold for $2,000.

I cannot stress enough that we are blessed to have the good people that SRAC has around us. First Lillian donated this painting, and second, Albert could have just bought the painting for $25 and sold it himself - but he didn't - he was honest with me and guided me and in fact is the real reason why we ended up with $2,000 yesterday.

I want to thank Lilian and Albert publicly here for being so generous and well just great people - and I want to say that although I think that some people think that SRAC isn't in need of support because we always seem to have good fortune and successful reports - when the truth is that SRAC is truthfully less well off (financially) than any other museum in our region. We have no endowment money to fall back on, we have a mortgage to pay for, and we don't take state or federal funding.....At the same time we are open 5 days a week, give school field trips for free and host incredible events that cannot be seen anywhere else in the region...all with volunteer staffing.

So I want to thank EVERYONE who understands how hard we work to keep things going and supports SRAC and our mission to preserve the Native American archaeology of our region and to share the thousands of artifacts and our knowledge with our community. Without your continued support, we really could not do what we do. And to me - - this feel good story is the launch of the Christmas spirit for SRAC this year...

This Christmas - Help somebody if you can.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RARE 1898 Native American Portraits at SRAC

We have 20 of the "Rinehart Indian Portraits" that were donated to us and are now on sale in the SRAC gift Shop! 

In 1898 Frank A Rinehart set up a photo studio at the Trans-Mississippian Expo where he photographed many Native Americans who had participated in the Battle of Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee. 

More than five hundred American Indians from thirty-five tribes attended the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska. American ethnographer James Mooney (1868-1921) of the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology hired Omaha native Rinehart to photograph the tribal delegates. The sheer number of Rinehart's exposition portraits ensures that they represent the most comprehensive collection of images of early-twentieth-century Indian leaders. 

These reprints are from the original glass plate negatives. Don't miss your chance to own one of the 20 - some photos which are hyped to be the BEST of the Rinehart collection! At just $24.99 each - they would make a great Christmas gift! Each poster is 19 inches wide by 24.5 inches high, sealed in plastic w/ backing and accompanied by the above information. An example can be seen in the photo below:

Each poster is also etched with the persons name and tribe :

Act quick and get first picks - as we only have one of each of these items !

Thank you for supporting SRAC!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

M.L Gore Painting on Sale by SRAC on Ebay

SRAC just received an original - one-of-a-kind painting by one of the most famous painters in our area - M. L. Gore. It is of the Teton Mountains in Wyoming and we have placed it on eBay - so please help us get the word out to all of the local art collectors who might want to keep it local. It is huge (30 x 48 inches!) and in a beautiful oak frame.

To view and/or bid on the painting on eBay - use the following link:

Thank you for supporting SRAC and our efforts!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Upcoming Events at SRAC!

 There's ALWAYS Something Going on at SRAC!
Buy one - Get One FREE Admission to SRAC's Exhibit Hall until 2012! 
(SRAC members get in free everyday!)