The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission has given a $25,000 grant to the Historical Society of Perry County that will be used to continue planning for the preservation of the Clarks Ferry Tavern in Duncannon, according to a commission announcement.
“Our thanks to the Friends of Clark’s Ferry Tavern, our elected officials, donors and board of the historical society,” its President Glenn Holliman said in an email informing everyone of the grant. “This is a major step forward.”
The historical society and the Friends of Clarks Ferry Tavern community group have been planning for several years to stabilize, preserve and fix the Market Street building that dates to the late 1700s. The tavern is one of the oldest buildings standing in the county and reflects all that remains of a once important business empire that contributed to the county’s early growth, and as a waypoint during westward expansion of the nation.
The grant will require a cash match from the historical society, but can be used to continue planning for the tavern’s reuse as a Perry County welcome center, local history museum and interpretive center. The society is also planning to improve the tavern’s property so it can be used for local events.
“Pass the word that if all goes well, engineering and architectural planning will go forward this winter,” Holliman wrote in his email.
Last year, architects presented several visions for what was possible to reuse the tavern before the society settled on the welcome center idea.
With the latest grant, the society can hire engineers to develop specific plans for the tavern to be renovated and preserved. The next step would be for the society to find money to carry out the renovations. Earlier this year, the society began applying for grants from state and federal sources.
Jim T. Ryan can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]