Evans City, Pennsylvania





204C South Jackson Street                             Evans City, PA 16033


                E-mail address: evanscityhistory@gmail.com                   

Web site: www.evanscityhistory.com


The February General Membership meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 26, 2018 in the Community Room of the library.

 Our February program will be a presentation by Jim Lucot about his 2016  TRIP TO POLAND WITH HOLUCAUST SURVIVOR HOWARD CHANDLER.

Jim teaches Honors U. S. History III & IV and AP U. S. Government & Politics  for grades 11 and 12 at Seneca Valley High School . He also teaches at Butler County Community College. Jim has been interested his whole life in the history of World War 2 because of stories he heard within his own family. Jim will enhance his program with numerous pictures of concentration camp sites he visited in Poland

**  Our meetings are FREE & OPEN to any and all who are interested in history. 

Please mark date and time on your calendar and enjoy a very informative and interesting evening with us.

Looking ahead - Our April meeting will be our annual dinner meeting on April 23, 2018 – Our speaker will be Polly Shaw who will talk about her book on Moraine State Park. 


To John Markel for a corner cabinet.

See the story in our newsletter.

To Charles Waldron for a monetary donation

To Roger Jones for a monetary donation.

To Don & Barbara Etter for a monetary donation

To Doug & Nancy Leonberg for a monetary donation

            The Evans City area Historical society is a member of the John Heinz History Center and as such receive a annual pass to any of the three history center sites.


A pretty nice perk for our members. As a member of the Senator John Heinz History Center we receive a pass to the following sites: The John Heinz History Center and Museum in the Strip District; The Fort Pitt Museum at the Point and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village at Avella, PA. The pass is good for admission of up to 4 adults. The cost of admission per adult would be $16.00 - with the pass, admission is free to all of these sites. If you would like to use the pass, please call the museum and arrange to pick it up.

2018 Evans City Historical Society Board of Directors

President: Rita Schoeffel        V. Pres.: Richard Reifenstein: 

 Treasurer: Chris Ripper

Rec. Secretary: Sandra Knauff      Corr. Secretary: Barbara Etter

Board Members: Patricia Capella, Mary Ellen Kosinski, Mildred McElhinny

Rita Reifenstein,  Beverly Sacripant,  Dean Zinkhann

            JOSEPHINE M. IFFT – 1877 - 1962.

    Josephine was a most interesting, gifted and talented person to know. She was born July, 2, 1877 and by the 1880 census her family was already calling her ‘Josie’. Her parents were Henry and Agnes Lyons Ifft. She had two older siblings and eventually would have three younger ones.  When Josie was ready to begin school, she probably started in a 5 month school. In 1885 a two story, two room school was built on the triangular lot across from the Lutheran church. She probably completed her 8 years of elementary education here. There was no high school to attend, but Evans City did have two academies which were the forerunners of  high schools to come. The first class to graduate from a two year high school in Evans City would not be until 1906. By then Josie would already have graduated from the King’s School of Oratory, Elocution and Dramatic Culture in Pittsburgh. The year would be 1898 .

    Josie’s father was a successful business man in Evans City. On the second floor of one of his buildings located at the corner of Pioneer Road and West Main Street was the opera house, actually the Ifft Opera House and Josie was busy directing and acting in many of the plays being presented there. She also performed in Shakespearean plays at the Nixon Theater in Pittsburgh. She taught public speaking, speech and drama and directed plays in Beaver and Armstrong counties as well as at Evans City. She found herself in demand to judge plays and reading contests throughout the area.

    An article in the local newspaper, The Globe, (in publication from 1895 until 1901) noted beginning the second week in July, Josie would be giving a series of  lessons in elocution covering a period of 12 weeks. The cost per student would be $2.50. Another article in the same newspaper at a different date covered an ‘unforgettable Memorial Day parade’ held in Evans City. In the parade was a girls’ brigade and a boys’ brigade. The girls wore white dresses with white sunbonnets and sashes of red, white and blue. The boys also wore sashes of the same colors. The girls paused in front of Burry Hardware Store (corner of Jackson & Main Streets)  and gave a ‘grand, unique, very interesting and pleasing exhibition drill’. The boys brigade gave ‘a grand military drill in the town square’, (presumably intersection of Main & Washington Streets) Both groups were under the ‘able direction of Josie Ifft’.

    Along with her brother Charles, Josie would enter the business world in the early 1900’s clerking in her father’s store, the George Ifft & Sons General Store. After her father’s death in 1919, she would take over as proprietor. Even though busy with running the store, she still found time to direct plays as late as 1939. She found time to teach crafts to children with many a youngster learning to knit at her store.

    Her lifetime achievements  would included helping to organize the first Chamber of Commerce in Evans City, and serving as first president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the John A. Irwin Fire Company. She held an American Red Cross National Certificate for her outstanding work during World War I. She was honored as a Distinguished Career Woman by the Evans City Business & Professional Women’s Club in 1960.

   Josie was at work in her store on March 17, 1962 just as she had been for the last 62 years. She died peacefully at her home on Sunday March 18, 1962 .

     Following her death, the property was sold and the building razed. Today the Evans City Apothecary and Gift Shoppe stands where the George Ifft & Sons General Store stood for 100 years.


     When the historical society was approached about receiving this lovely old piece of furniture, our first thought was; ‘Yes, we would love to have it’. But our next thought was, ‘Where will we put it with our limited space?’. Putting our heads together we began to realize with some relocating of our museum display area items it would be possible. The cabinet arrived in perfect condition in mid-December. Because of its size we decided to close the museum until April and would begin the rearranging.

    The following story, (Compiled from information sent by John Markel) will tell you why we could not pass up this item.

     THE MARKEL CORNER CUPBOARD was built by John’s great grandfather, Zeno Markel. Zeno, the son of Daniel and Hannah Markel, was born November 1, 1815 in Bucks County Pa. After apprenticing as a carpenter he emigrated to western Pennsylvania sometime in 1838. In 1839 he married his employer’s daughter, Susannah Stamm, at the Stamm Farm in Franklin Township, Beaver County.

     In 1840 he left the Stamm farm and moved to the Muddy Creek area near Isle where his father-in-law, Daniel Stamm, had bought  a 500 acres plot, a third of which he gave to Zeno.  Zeno farmed there until 1848 when he moved again, this time to a 100 acres plot in Forward Township where he continued farming. On this farm, now owned by John McElhinny, he built a carpentry shop. It was in this shop, sometime in the 1850’s, that he crafted the corner cabinet.

     In 1889 Zeno Markel retired and moved into Evans City, residing on several acres in the Southeast corner of the village. Zeno died on August 15th, 1895 and is buried in the Markel Family plot in the Evans City Cemetery.

     The cupboard was stored in the attic of the Markel home at 347 Main Street. John’s father, also named Zeno, retrieved it and took it to his home in Zelienople. When he downsized after his wife’s death it came into the possession of John Markel and has traveled the country with his moves until now when it completed its travels.

      Although he was obviously a skilled woodworker, John Markel knows of only two other pieces of furniture his great grandfather built, a duplicate corner cupboard and a chest of drawers now owned by L. C. Sowell Jr, another great grandson.

     Regarding the cupboard’s many moves, it first went from Evans City to Zelienople, then to East Lyme, Connecticut. Its next move was to Hanford, Washington State and from Hanford to New Orleans, Louisiana. From New Orleans it was back to Washington State and the city of La Conner. From La Conner it moved to Sun City West, Arizona. Its travels would be almost over, but not quite. It had one more move to make and that to its area of origin: Evans City, Pennsylvania.


If you made a donation to the Evans City Area Historical Society, remember we are a 501(C)3 and your donation may be tax exempt.





Yes! I want to help preserve our history                                

            Individual.....$10.00                                                               Student..... $2.00

            Husband & Wife..... $18.00                                                     Patron..... $100.00

            Family (children under 18)..... $25.00                                    Benefactor.....$250.00


Name:                                                                                      Phone  number:                                              


City:                                                                                  State:                       Zip                                       

(Optional) – email address:                                                                                                                           

(Optional) I’d like to add this additional donation: for the Historical Society                                              

Enclosed is a check made payable to Evans City Area Historical Society for                                 

Please forward this form and check to::

Evans City Area Historical Society   204 C. S. Jackson St., Evans City, PA  16033

Help us Honor their Memory; Tell their Stories!

Did you have an ancestor or another family member from the Evans City area that succumbed to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 or that served in WW I?   If so, help us tell their stories.  We want to learn about their service in the Great War and about those who succumbed to the influenza.  Perhaps more importantly, how were their families impacted by the loss of their father, mother, or child; how did they go on?   

The ECAHS hopes to create a book that will tell their stories and will look at what Evansburg/Evans City was like 100 years ago. Please respond via e-mail to Natalie Ripper Price at nativenatalie@zoominternet.net or leave a message with your phone number at ECAHS 724-538-3629 and she will return your call.











Website Builder