The Meadville Experience: Past & Present

Twenty Allegheny College students from Prof. Elizabeth Ozorak’s Community Psychology class of Fall 2019 interviewed 21 senior citizens recruited through Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community.

The main questions for the interviews were:
1. Describe what Meadville was like in the past.
2. How has Meadville changed in the time you’ve lived here?
3. What made/makes Meadville a great place to live, then and now?
4. If you could change one thing about Meadville, what would it be?

This tour includes twenty stories and extended quotations from the interviews, giving a sense of the town that Meadville was and is now and focusing on what has made the community thrive.

A video "The Meadville Experience: Past & Present" , created by Nicholas Ozorak, presents a brief overview of the voices and insights gained from the interviews. It can be accessed on YouTube

Peg Acker: The Farmers’ Market

"The Market House is one of the big things [in Meadville]. I don’t want to leave the Market House! It has been very good. They still are going strong with their fresh vegetables and fruits in the summer. I know one of my friends here… her…

Lynn Atwell: Theaters

"I said that they should have theater in Meadville. Well, Meadville didn't have too many theaters at the time... And I said, it will be good training for their sons and daughters because that would be giving them an opportunity for…

Carol Beers: Always a Lot To Do

"As a youth, as a teenager, we had what was called youth centers. They had them after school, Saturdays, Saturday nights. With several those we could go and dance and do things like that. So that was super. They'd be open for two hours…

Sandy Cupper: First Woman Assessor in the County

"I worked in the assessment office at the courthouse and became the first woman assessor in the county. And I remember one of the old commissioners in the county saying, “Now Sandy, don’t you disappoint me.” Well no one could get away saying…

Anne Furno: The Movies

"We had the Park Theater which was a big theater and it was really the better one, it was more glamorous. And I watched many movies that were shown there. They were wonderful Oh, I loved the movies. That was the big thing when you were kids and…

Anne Harned: We Knew Everyone

"My parents were dairy farmers and I got acquainted with a rural community of raising cattle and selling milk door to door like they did back in that day. In fact my dad had a delivery route and drove through Meadville with his milk truck and…

Gerrie Heibel: Emergency Care Then vs. Now

"My son was in school, so probably, I'm going to say 1965, he got stung by a bee on Wednesday afternoon and I called the family doctor Wednesday afternoon. All doctors are off. So I took him to the emergency room at City hospital. A friend…

Cecilia Marstellar: A Wonderful Place to Raise Kids

"We had four kids [when we moved here], my youngest was nine months old. And we just really dove right into things in the community. And I found that it was a wonderful place to raise kids. I had two more children after that. And so we had six…

Ken Montag: Businesses

"It's a great place to live. It is a thriving town. I'd like for it to be doing better but don't ask me what way. Cause I'd be up for... I'd be the mayor haha. But yes, I think that this is a thriving town. It's…

Dave Murkens: Conneaut Lake Park

"It was an amusement park. There were rollercoasters and tilt-a-whirls, and all kinds of fun games. It was going great guns back then. Now it’s just a little bit of a shell of what it used to be, but they had trolley cars that came up from…

Diane Murkens: Special Events

"[We went to] the balloon [festival] and we have motorcycles so we used to participate in the Run in from Walt’s [?] and we usually go to Thunder in the City. They used to have wonderful fireworks up at the high school on Memorial Day, but they…

Kay Nageotte: Working at the College

"I worked the longest at Allegheny College and I liked that. There was a lot of the secretaries that bounced around to various offices. I was in the same office the whole time I was there and I liked it because I got to interact with the kids. I…

Elaine Reyer: The Wesbury Community

"Wesbury community as a whole, as far as both of us are concerned, is an absolutely fantastic place to be. We debated for seven years, whether we wanted to come here or not. No, we don’t want to come. Yeah, maybe we should. No, we shouldn’t.…

Ron Reyer: Community Spirit

"We have a next door neighbor that we've just met within the last year because we haven't been here that long, and he volunteers down at the Academy Theatre. His wife acts down there and he works on stage scenery. He asked me if I…

Marlene Stainbrook: Parties

Our parties [are my fondest memory]. You know, when we first moved here you don't have famous restaurants. That's what's really nice about that: there are restaurants, a lot of them, that are locally owned and that’s what makes it fun.…

Robert Stainbrook: Building the Log Cabin

"Even though you heard of the log cabin down in Meadville, you ever seen it at all? French Creek Seven built that. And it took us two years, a year and a half, actually. Yeah, we built that. Uh, along French Creek... This Kenny Beers who was the…

Carol Tome: Johnnie's Drive-In

"We used to go sled riding down the hill and at the bottom of the hill, just one about one or two blocks away, was Johnnie's drive-in. And that was one of the things that in the evening, a lot of the people walked down and would get ice…

Gene Tome: Activities at Church

"We were active in the First Presbyterian Church in Meadville when our kids are growing up, and we were junior high youth advisors. We camped with the kids. We went on field trips with them and we did lots of stuff in the church as far as…

Joanne and Walt Tucker: The legacy of Former Businesses

Joanne: "Well, the main businesses when I lived here before was Talon and Avtex. They both had probably a thousand or more employees each and both of those being out of business now... And then later on the railroad repair shop moved out. So, I…

Peg Weymer: A Booming Town

"[After we moved,] it took a little while to feel as if I were a part of the community. But within a year or two with the children now starting school, meeting people, meeting people through church, I began to realize we were very fortunate to…
CREDITS
Allegheny College Department of Psychology
Greg Brink, Activities Director, Thoburn Village, Wesbury United Methodist Retirement Community
Nick Ozorak, media specialist, Allegheny College class of 2013

Support for this project was provided by the Great Lakes Association through its Expanding Collaboration Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.