Ellwood City Ledger from Ellwood City, Pennsylvania on April 29, 1997 · 18
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Ellwood City Ledger from Ellwood City, Pennsylvania · 18

Ellwood City, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Tuesday, April 29, 1997
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I. l I . Page Bl - Ellwood· City Ledger Progress, Tuesday, . April 29, l!IJ7 Historical Socjety looks tlae Ellwood City and Barbed \Yire ..• · "th~ Devil's Rope'~ by Bob Barensfeld · The history of barbed wire and . ·Ellwood City are inexorably intert.wined. Our town carries the name of Isaac· Ellwood, an early inveiitor of' barbCd wire who became a millionaire because of it. Isaac Ellwood lived in DeKalb, Illinois and was a good friend of Henry Hartman, who developed this ar.eJ. and laid out Ellwood City in 189(). Barbed wire may not be your favoriie invention to come out of the Industrial Revolution, ·but it.'s difficult to think of one that has had a more widespread and long­ lasting impact on American life. Isaac Ellwood attended a small country fair in DeKalb County in 1873 and saw a new type of fencing consisting of a square strip of wood studded with nails driven through so the points stuck out of all' four sides. The proud inventor told of how his cow would not come near this fence, after breaking out of every previous effort to confine her. Ellwood pondered . this idea and found a better way by p·utting· barbs on~ wire. . The ea~tem fmn of Washburn & Moen invented a machine to m~ke barbed wire rapidly and bought up the patents from Ellwood ·and his associates. - . · He then joined forces with the new owners as the sole distributor of the wire in the west and began a marketing effort to convince ranchers that barbed wire was the answer to keep cantankerous longhorns from wandering off. When early efforts to sell barbed wire failed. Ellwood hired a brash, young farm boy named John Gates to "push sales in Texas". Gates had· the ~ales pitch, but he could QOt convince the ranchers around San Antonio to string barbed wire until he hit upon an idea that changed his whole approach. He built·a· ·coral in the center of town using eight strands of barbed wire and offered ranchers the opportunity to bring their toughest longhorns to try and break out of his barbed coral. It worked! The meanest cows could not get through his barbed wire enclosure. . "This is the finest fence in the world. . .light as air, stronger than whiskey. Cheaper than dirt. All steel, and miles long," Gates shouted, "the cattle ain't been born that can· get through · it. Bring on your steers gen- · tlemen." A Texas State Historical marker at the southwest corner of City Hall commemorates · the event that changed the· course of Texas history and made John Gates a wealthy man. He didn't have to sell barbed wire after that, he just took orders. Sales zoomed from a paltry 600,000 pounds in 1875 to over 2,840,000 the next year. Then rose to 12,000,000 pounds in 1877, and 26,000,000 in 1878 and 80,000,000 in 1880. Now American farm'ets and ranchers could build the ki~'of fence they pursued for years. .~."horse high, bull strong and pig tight", they said. It was just great! Some hated the wire, but despite its detractors, barbed wire sales soared, and it's impact on American life is profound. We are bound by it's strands, like it or not, and we are destined to be stuck with -or by-barbed wire. " • • • • . Preserving ~he beauty and glory of the past. • • " "Ellwood Steel Fences" advertising poster with view of origina/1879 Ellwood mansion, about 1900. Collection of Ellwood House.Association and Museum. "The Ellwood House" was by Col. Isaac L. Ellwood, ma·hu,raclrur4~r Glidde11 barbed wire. Til contains ji11e furnishings and 'colle4~titms of artistic and historic '"''P.rP.•~c- the public at specified times. 'latwmJd House has been featured Television series "Historic Houses". Wire-Fence Entrepreneur Isaac L. Ellwood \ Ellwood House Museum Ellwood House, a grand Victorian mansion, is located in a lovely park in the heart of DeKalb. Inside, chandeliers sparkle, gilt mirrors shine, and the woodwork gleams. A visit to this elegantly furnished home brings the past to life! ·Built by barbed wire baron Isaac Ellwood in 1879, the mansion remains just as when the Ellwood family lived there 1 ~ecades ago. Experience a bygone era as you tour the great English living room with its vast f~.replace, the mahogany-panelled dining room and the magnificent rotunda with a 3-stQry spiral staircase. The; many restored bedrooms, servants rooms, and service areas provide a glimpse of a complete household at the tum of the century. The I V2 hour guided tour includes the "Little House", a channing 1891 playhouse on the grounds, and the Carriage House Museum with exhibits on barbed wire history, antique fann equipm,el'lt, carriages and sleighs. Visitors walk under majestic trees or stroll the gardens Ellwood Park. There is also a small gift shop. For Information contact: THE ELLWOOD CITY IDSTORICAL SOCIETY P.O. BOX 611, ELLWOOD CITY, PA 16117 Ellwood House is located at 509 North First Street, three blocks north of Lincoln Highway (Rt. 38) Tum at Augu~ta A venue for entrance to parking lot. Trying 10 make Ellwood City a better place is at the forefront of everyone's mind these days, and the Ellwood City Area Historical So­ clel)' thinks the best way 10 do "'- is . 10rememberthe borough's past. Cwrendy working on refurbishing the histaic building that used· 10 b.ouse Porter's flowers, society president Bob Jlarensfeld said the society is looking 10 m:ord the oral bistmes of many of Ellwood City's . older residents and. preserving ·that history for· future generations. .Barensfeld, rich in the lmowledge of the area himself, tells siOries about a tiine wflen a young Ellwood City was being settled by European immigrant •• most of which had names that you still fmd in the city IOday. "They could come, buy a lot (rom the Pittsburgh Company, get a job in the steel mills, or glass works oc the steel-car focge," ·he said. The indusqial base, Barensfeld explained, provided the opportunity for Security where one could have a home and raise a big family. And the, SOlis and daughters of early immi- · grants are still around. "Ellwood City has a beautiful his­ lOry we want to preserve before it is lost," he said. "As each senior citi­ zeit dies, they take a bit of histocy with them." On May 3, the society is sponsoring its annual attic and bake sale 10 helP raise funds 10 complete the restoration of the Ellwood City Area Historical Society headquarters and museum, located on Fifth Street The money to purchase the 91-yearold building, which began as the Ellwood City Post Office, . was raised in an amazing four-months. Once the building was bfC)ught up to code, the windows and door frames were restored by Lutz and Myers Contracting and Engineers. The Society currendy has 253 members nationwide, and is actively seeking members on all levels. Active in the society are: Jane Kocher, Vice p-esident; Fred Schry. second vice president; Louise HoffmWI, sec. relary; Harold McElwain, Alleis Wilson, Janet Kolich, Esther Wright, Andy Kindle and Ken Brady. The Ellwood City HisiOrical Society believes that understanding our history helps us understand ourselves better'. To help the Ellwood City Area Historical Society, send a donation (or roc more information contact) P.O. Box 611, Ellwood City, Pa. 16117. The society is a m:ognized dom· estic charity so your coniribution is fully tax deductible. , Gallery enters 8~h year Unda Cole said that she started collecting art when she was 14 years '' old and that she could never fmd anyone to frame her pieces 10 suit her tastes, so she went inlQ the business. Cole-Dubell Gallery and Custom Fmming, located at 501 Lawrence Ave., Ellwood City has been in operation for eight rears and is OW· ned by linda and Jerry Cole. · · The gallery is going iniO its fifth expansion since its 1989 opening. The Coles reported that many famous artists have slOpped by during that time, most notably P. Buck- . ley Moss. During the past year, the Cole. Dubell Gallery has grown to include a Pro Shop that is exclusively for sports artists and associated memor­ abUia. Over the past )'ear, the wodc of renowned artist Thomas Kincade has been added 10 Cole-Dubell collection -including his David Winter COllages. . Cole explained that Chrisbnas is the gallery's best season, but it is open the entire year and has a thriving bridal registry business. Cole-Dubell also offers all forms of art, sculpture, lithographs, serigraphs, prints, figurines, plates, limited edition ornaments aild an in­ house custom framing service. In celebration of there 8th anniversary in business •. Cole-Dubell Gallery is having a home decoc sale. This extravaganza runs through May 31. L--------------------.1 ' Savings. of ten 10 SO pcscent off select framed pic lures, 20 pcscent off custom framing (excluding slretch· ELLWOOD CAL SOCIEn ~Ju:'c':i~:~~). along with other The gallery. stepping up its home 1---w.------------------~~-----------~--------------~------------------_. ~~ke, hasrecendy srortmg carrying Warner wallpaper. Warner • P.O. BOX.6ll ELLWOOD CitY, PA 16117 ,. is one of the lOp-suppliers of wallpaper in the latest trends and colors See COI..E-DUBELL on Page 84 TheEIIwoo P.orter's Flov Thl81889pl Area Historic ton, Jennie ~ Middle row: c EdwardHaz4 Edith Bums, Sadie Deem The 1892-93 Mecklln, Jell) Bertha Meckl Effie E. Alker sher, Laura ~ rugh, Lyle Me McKimm,Sar IM'Ietco Is the I for nickel-cad~ world for their e: -,

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