CLARKS SUMMIT — Updating Clarks Summit history from 1986 to 2015 is a task local historians Dennis Martin, Charles Kumpas, Warren Watkins and Sharleen Martin have undertaken in collaboration with Leah Ducato Rudolph, Abington Community Library director and Ellen Beechko.
The team has set out to pick up where former Clarks Summit resident historians John C. and Helen R. Villaume left off in 1986, when they published “Clarks Summit: A Narrative,” concurrent with Clarks Summit borough’s 75th anniversary.
“Mr. Villaume came to Mark Conrad, who was my partner. Mark and I laid out the book. We didn’t have computers then. It was the old cut and paste method. We subcontracted and oversaw the printing of the book” 30 years ago, said Beechko, referring to Villaumes’ book.
Inquiries about whether copies of the book are still available sparked Beechko’s interest in a reprint and she approached Rudolph, who then researched funding possibilities with the John and Helen Villaume Foundation in Honesdale. She wrote and filed a grant application with the organization with the understanding the project was going to be a fundraiser for the library.
“It (the project) started out as simply a reprint of the book. I thought a grant from the John and Helen Villaume Foundation in Honesdale, established by John and Helen Villaume, was something we should look into. John was an Abington Community Library board member and he and Helen raised their children here. They (the foundation) have given out more than a million dollars (in grant awards),” Rudolph said. “It’s a privilege that we (the library) are involved in preserving this local history and updating it.” Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the library.
The book, “Clarks Summit: A Narrative, 2nd Edition” will have a run of approximately 1,000 copies and will consist of about 150 pages, including supplemental information, with photos and drawings, reflecting the many vast changes over the past 30 years. History buffs Dennis Martin, Watkins and Kumpas are amassing their own collections of research they’ve conducted, using “verifiable resources and communication of current and past residents, local organizations and businesses,” Rudolph explained.
“The authors have, and will continue to focus on personally contacting local organizations, such as the library, to provide written updates on their own organizations for inclusion in the supplement. It’s a huge undertaking and (is) one the three historians are taking very seriously,” she added.
Sharleen Martin will collaborate as transcriber of ongoing oral interviews and editor of all written materials.
“Knowing the Villaumes, I feel it (the book) is a community property. I feel I was a part from the beginning and I want to continue,” said Beechko.
The committee plans to include pertinent historical facts derived from family histories, schools, churches, business owners, and municipal offices. Anyone with information to share is asked to contact Rudolph at 570-587-3440.
Rudolph expects the book will be completed by the summer of 2016.
“We have 30 years of history to catch up on. Substantial changes have occurred in 30 years,” Kumpas said.