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Historic Night at the Historical Society


Jim Young, Debbie Klak and Rev. Paul Andell

Harry Kyriakodis gave a presentation on his book “Philadelphia’s Lost Waterfront” on Tuesday night, May 14th.  He is an engaging speaker with a depth of knowledge covering a wide range of historic Philadelphia.  If you get a chance to meet him in a future meeting of the HSF, don’t pass it up.

The history making event at the meeting was the first time appearance of three presidents of the Society.  Former President Rev. Paul Andell returned to Philadelphia for the 40th anniversary of the St. James pre-school.  Former President Debbie Klak attended and current President, Jim Young was also on hand.

The next meeting of the Historical Society of Frankford will be on June 11th at 7:30 PM at the HSF at 1507 Orthodox St.


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Howard Barnes We Miss You

It was a busy day yesterday and I thought about passing up the Historical Society of Frankford meeting but decided to go anyway and see what was on the agenda.  I knew there would be a video of Howard Barnes who was the former curator of the society.  He lived on Penn Street only a block from us and I have his autographed book so I thought I had heard it all.  The video ran over an hour but it was fascinating to hear this guy go on about the history of Frankford which he clearly had spent a long time researching.

Jim Young made his first appearance as the incoming President of the society since the departure of Paul Andell in June.  Jim spoke about some of the initiatives that the society will be taking on in the future.  Volunteers are always welcome and much needed.  I noted some new members sign up last night which is really the most valuable resource of this organization.

Before I left I met with Debbie Klak who has been following a discussion on the Gazette about the Overington mansion.  She dug up some clippings from the scrap books that the society has in its collection.  As time goes on those scrap books are golden with their treasure trove of information.  Posted below are some pictures of the meeting and also those clippings that may further illuminate the fate of the Overington mansion.  Click on any of the pictures for a more detailed view.


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Antiques and Collectables Appraisal Fundraiser at the HSF

The antiques and collectables appraisal fundraiser at the Historical Society of Frankford was a first for me.   The only thing old in our house is me so I didn’t think I would find it too rewarding.  On the other hand I do enjoy the Antiques Roadshow on PBS and the somewhat funkier shows on the history channel like Pawn Stars.  So I decided to give it a look.  I did have an old atlas to take for appraisal and since it was a fundraiser, what the heck, it didn’t matter if it wasn’t worth anything.  The money was going to support the HSF which is one of Frankford’s unrecognized treasures.

So last Tuesday night, there we were standing in line.  I didn’t expect to do any video but I keep that little video camera in my pocket just in case and ended up using it. It was just like Antiques Road Show but on Orthodox Street.  People had all sorts of stuff; clocks, radios, coke bottles, jewelry, clothing, flatware and fine old books such as mine.  Most of the fun is in watching what other people have and wondering “what is that thing”.

What I cannot figure out is how these guys know all this stuff.  Barry Slosberg and Rob Goldstein were doing the appraisals for Barry S. Slosberg Inc.  I videod the entire appraisal of our humble atlas by Rob so you can get a feel for what they do.  You have to pay attention because Barry was doing another appraisal right next to us.  You get some history of the item, some historical context and then a guess at the value.

One guy had something that they did not identify except to say it was definitely old and authentic and worth doing some more research on.  Everybody was having a good time and a lot of people were just enjoying the show. All in all a fun time.  Now I have to look for something really old for next year.

One item of note is that last night was the last meeting of the HSF for outgoing president Rev. Paul Andell.  He is retiring from his post as pastor of St. James Lutheran Church and returning to the home of his ancestors in Minnesota.  He will be missed.  He can be seen at the very end of the video.



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Pastor Paul Andell to Retire

I got a tip that Paul Andell, Pastor of St. James Lutheran Church, was retiring at the last Northwood Civic meeting.  I had a nodding acquaintance from seeing him at the Historical Society of Frankford meetings of which he is also the president but I had never actually met him.

So the day after the church celebrated its 85th anniversary, we talked a bit about what it will be like to wrap up almost 39 years of service to the Frankford community.

Pastor Paul Andell

He is not native to this area.  He grew up in Rhode Island and Florida but his family roots go back to Minnesota.  He graduated with a degree in history from Augsburg College in Minneapolis.  As the son of a third generation Lutheran Pastor, he followed in the family tradition after graduation by enrolling in Gettysburg Seminary.  He was ordained in 1972 and came to St. James that same year as an assistant pastor.  He became senior pastor in 1975.

Community is a word that comes up often from Paul Andell in looking back over his time at St. James.  It is reflected in the direction that he has lead the church during those years and also his involvement in civic affairs.  In addition to the leadership of the St. James, he has also been active in the Frankford Lions Club, the Historical Society of Frankford and several other committees and organizations over that time.

St. James is now the largest Lutheran congregation in the city and draws its multicultural membership from all parts of the area, not just our neighborhood.  It has numerous outreach programs including a well-respected pre-school.

During Paul’s sojourn here in Frankford the facilities at St. James have been continually upgraded and expanded with some milestone to measure each year’s progress.

Paul will preside over his last service at St. James on June 12th.   He and his wife Pam, who is an artist, raised their children in Frankford and have adapted to life in the big city.  Retirement may not be the correct term for the future.  Paul intends to look for part time pastor opportunities and also a potential role as a consultant.  There will of course be return trips to Philadelphia to see the grandchildren.

It will be a significant change to get back to small town life in Northern Minnesota.  Frankford’s loss will be Aitkin Minnesota’s gain.  We wish both Paul and Pam the best.