The main museum building was originally built in 1899 as the Methodist Church. In 1913 it was purchased by the local Masonic Lodge, after which it underwent complete remodeling. A basement was dug and the building was raised about 8 feet. Later, the entrance was changed and the first floor windows eliminated. The first floor was used for lodge meetings and the basement was converted to a kitchen and banquet room. In 1992 the Masons deeded the building to the Pittsville Area Historical Society for the purpose of establishing a museum. PAHS then remodeled and updated the building, adding exhibits and display areas upstairs and down, transforming it into the building you see today. To learn more about the building’s history see the Our History page and also the book Yellow River Pioneers.
MAIN MUSEUM EXHIBITS
Deer were scarce in the early 1900s, but rabbits were plentiful and hunted for food. Wolves were hunted (to extinction, but migrated back to the state starting in the 1970s) for bounty payments while hides were sold for cash. Rivers, lakes and streams provided plenty of fish. Trapping provided income through the sale of furs. Predators were trapped to protect farm animals and fowl. These wildlife sports were later regulated by the Department of Natural Resources through seasons and licensing.
Logging was the first industry in the Pittsville area. Virgin timber (particularly white pine) was plentiful until clear-cutting decimated these forests. Trees were notched on one side with an ax, then sawed through just above the notch from the other. After delimbing, trunks were sawed into logs and transported on temporary narrow gauge railroads, hauled on horse-drawn sleighs in the winter, or floated to mills on the yellow river and its tributaries. Soon after the turn of the 20th century, the vast pine forests in the area were ‘logged out’ and the great logging industry came to an end.