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Bradford County PA
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Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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LeRoy Heritage Museum
Article: LeRoy Heritage Museum
Township: LeRoy Township, Bradford County PA
Submitted by Matt Carl 
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Direct link to Leroy Heritage Museum's Own Site

We are interested in anything (history, genealogy, photos, artifacts) that anyone may have pertaining to LeRoy Township or neighboring
Barclay Mountain. Email LeRoy Heritage Museum at or visit the museum website at htttp:// to find out how you can help!
The site also includes photos of the on-going museum project. (Note: The site is best view with Internet Explorer 6 or higher.) [Note from Joyce - not friendly to older versions of Netscape - locks up computer - Be sure to follow directons given to avoid problems]


Set in southwestern Bradford County, LeRoy is a rural, agricultural community in the heart of LeRoy Township.

It was first settled in 1794 by two brothers, Hugh and Sterling Holcomb, whose family came from Granby, Connecticut and settled in Ulster, Pennsylvania in 1793. Seeley & Hannah (Holcomb) Crofut came soon after the brothers and built a farm where the LeRoy Cemetery is now located.

In 1835, LeRoy Township, originally named Union, was formed out of Canton and Franklin Townships. The name was suggested by Ira Crofut, son of Seeley, and is a French combination of two words meaning, "the king".

Agriculture, lumbering, and mining have all played a part in the history of LeRoy Township. These industries brought many people to LeRoy Township, who built beautiful homes and businesses. Various hotels were located here along with several mills, including sawmills, gristmills, a tannery, a planing mill, and many other shops which met the daily needs of the community.

Many prominent Bradford County citizens lived in this community. Anson Carney was a Civil War soldier who kept General Ulysses S. Grant informed about rebel advances. Albert T. Lilley was Bradford County's only geologist for many years and a charter member of the Bradford County Historical Society. Henry McCraney took a political interest in the county by becoming a commissioner. Thomas Smiley was a Baptist Minister who was tar-and-feathered by the Connecticut land claimants for upholding the Intrusion Law in the early history of the state. Judson Holcomb held office in the state legislature, senate, treasury department, and the United States House of Representatives.

LeRoy Township is also home to Sunfish Pond County Park, known in earlier years as Crystal Lake. It has drawn visitors to the mountain for over 100 years.

LeRoy had a close relationship with the coal mining and lumbering operations on Barclay Mountain. At the time of their operation, the LeRoy mines were the  farthest north and east of any mine in the United States.

Today LeRoy's businesses and industry have disappeared, survived only by the memories of days gone by. A renewal of the local economy was sparked in 2003 with the renovation and reopening of the LeRoy General Store. New economic development continues to take place in LeRoy, and local citizens are excited about what the future of the community will be.


The LeRoy Heritage Museum is housed in the former Open Hand Grange hall in the center of LeRoy. This building has played an important roll in LeRoy for many years.

Open Hand Grange #153 was organized on March 9, 1874 by District Deputy S.W. Buck of LeRaysville with 30 charter members.

The name of this grange was suggested by A.T. Lilley. During these early years of the organization, meetings were held at various places in the community. The members vowed that if they ever had a hall of their own, they would extend their "open hand" to anyone who wanted to use it.

The Open Hand Grange began holding meetings in the upper room of the Open Hand Hall Association building (the town hall), shortly after its construction in 1876. It was designed by F.J. Bailey and built at a cost of between $1,300 and $1,400. The grange purchased the building in 1904. The first floor of the hall was rented to community groups, and also used for traveling shows. A grange mercantile store, and library were once housed here as well as the LeRoy Post Office at one time.


The first meeting of the LeRoy Heritage Museum was held on May 19, 2001. A group of local citizens, who were both interested in local history and concerned about how that history should be preserved, began to formulate the idea of creating a museum in LeRoy.

The Open Hand Grange, which had merged with the Beach Flats Grange #336 in 1999, was for sale. Because of its condition, it was evident that it would possibly be demolished.

This newly formed group, which is a sub-organization of the LeRoy Community Association, Inc., went to work raising the funds that would be needed to purchase the property. On July 18, 2001, this task had been completed, and work began on raising the funding and making plans to renovate and restore the old building.

Second, the museum began collecting artifacts, furniture, memorabilia, written records, genealogy, and much more, to be included in the future museum.

In many cases, the museum has stepped in and saved local artifacts from being lost forever. Several people, both locally, and from across the U.S. have donated items for the museum. It is our goal that the museum will provide a place to store these important items for the future, thereby allowing many years of interpretation and study of LeRoy history.

The museum, which is undergoing renovation at this time, will house displays of Grange and Odd Fellows items, agricultural, household, local business, large canvass paintings and old historical and genealogical records. An exhibit room, research room, gift shop and museum office will be found in the building.


The first goal of LeRoy Heritage Museum is to collect items which are significant pieces of our history here in LeRoy. The museum is providing a home for hundreds of photographs, artifacts, and pages of genealogical information, which in some cases have been saved from destruction.

The second goal of the museum is to educate the community of LeRoy, and visitors to the area, about the fascinating history of this agricultural community. Visitors to the area have no way of knowing the history of the small communities they pass while traveling through Bradford County to their destinations. LHM will provide a center for interpreting the 200 year history of LeRoy Township. A greater awareness of our history will lead to a greater sense of community, and will encourage neighbors to work together to ensure the future of LeRoy.

The third goal of the museum is to promote economic growth through heritage tourism. An opportunity to start small businesses will arise with a greater number of visitors in the area. Business opportunities will not create themselves, and so LeRoy Heritage Museum is actively trying to create them.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 04 MAR 2004
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

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