Helvetia Site For Spring Walk

April 17, 2013 at 8:25 PM

            There has always been a fascination with “ghost towns,” places filled with history.

            The DuBois Area Historical Society has planned a tour of one of the area’s now mostly-nonexistent “ghost towns,” Helvetia for its 5th Annual Spring Walk. Bill Allenbaugh of DuBois, who grew up in Helvetia, will lead the walk on Saturday, May 18, at 10 a.m. Rain date for the activity is Saturday, May 25, at 10 a.m.

            The Spring Walk is free and open to all. It will originate from the old company store at the curve of Helvetia Road in Helvetia. Follow the signs from both Route 119 and Route 322 to find what remains of the town. Because of limited parking, those planning to attend are asked to carpool. Those attending are advised to dress accordingly because the area of the walk is not paved and could be muddy.

            Helvetia was a company town based around two mineshafts that produced coal from approximately 1891 until Feb. 25, 1954. With the closure of mines the community that had been named in 1947 as the top mining town in Pennsylvania, based on appearance, slowly began to disappear.

            Allenbaugh plans to bring to life the community he grew to love. “I am very excited about this,” he said. “I want to tell people about what it was like to grow up in Helvetia. My presentation will involve a lot of visualization because the uptown area is gone and only a few houses remain in the downtown area.”

            Among the visualization will be outhouse alley, the doctor’s office, and the formerly busy baseball field. Allenbaugh also would like to walk the road to the dam, where the powerhouse can be seen, and up to the old two-room schoolhouse depending on conditions that day. 

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