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Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Gratz Fair Week – 16 to 22 September 2012

Posted By on September 7, 2012

Each year since 1873, a fair has been held in Gratz Borough.  The Gratz Fair at the Gratz Fairgrounds will be held this year from Sunday, 16 September 2012 through Saturday 22 September 2012.

The Gratz Fairgrounds are shown on a post-Civil War map (1875) as the “Gratz Driving Park and Mile Course.”

A complete history of the Gratz Fair is posted on the fair web site and was compiled from information in A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsylvania, published by the Gratz Historical Society in 1997.

Mission Statement of the Gratz Fair (from the web site):

Promote and develop the interest of the surrounding communities while improving agriculture, livestock, business, industry, and the home life of the local people. To this end, industry accomplishments, volunteer service and community spirit come together as a showcase of achievements. The conducting of the fair, exhibitions, entertainment and other educational activities contribute to a community spirit and awareness of good fellowship, sportsmanship and citizenship.

History of the Gratz Fair– 1873 to the Present (from the web site)

The original land for the Gratz Fair Association came from Dr. Isaiah Schminky. Before Dr. Schminky died, he rented the acreage to the group. After his death in 1901, the Gratz Agricultural Society purchased almost fourteen acres, with buildings, from the Schminky Estate. In succeeding years, they continued to add more acreage to the fairgrounds to make room for expansion….  More (click here)

Dr. Isaiah Schminky (1832-1900) was a Civil War-era personage in Gratz and the main town doctor for years afterward.  One of his duties in the post-war period was to examine veterans and complete medical reports for pension claims.  Dr. Schminky’s land extended from the fairgrounds to the creek below Gratz and included the site of Fort Jackson.

This year’s Gratz Fair will recognize and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 4-H Clubs and the Pennsylvania Association of County Fairs.

During Gratz Fair Week, the Gratz Historical Society will be open during regular its Wednesday hours, noon to 5 p.m., for tours and research and on other days by appointment.

For those who wish to take some time from the fair schedule and do the Civil War Walking Tour of Gratz, access to the blog posts describing 35 of the more than 60 existing Civil War sites within the Borough should be done prior to arrival in Gratz.  In addition, during Gratz Fair Week, seven new posts will appear that describe the following Civil War sites: (1) Sunday – the Original IOOF Building; (2) Monday – the “new” IOOF Building where the G.A.R. held its meetings; (3) Tuesday -the Ossman House;  (4) Wednesday – the Harner House;  (5) Thursday – the Ritzman House; (6) Friday – the Keiter-Snyder Property; and (7) Saturday – the Crabb House.

A copy of the following map should be printed out before arrival in Gratz:

The 1862 map has been used as a reference point for the Walking Tour and for the various Civil War-era connections to the Gratz properties.  In addition, information has been taken from A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsylvania and summarized in the various blog posts.


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