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Friday, December 21, 2012

Logging Photos From last Century On Display At Sinnemahoning State Park


Wood on Glass - The Lumber Industry Photographs of William T. Clarke

William Townsend Clarke (1859-1930) was a self-employed photographer who, for thirty years during the late 1800s and early 1900s, documented the logging industry of north central Pennsylvania. At various times, he had studios in Galeton and Hull (now Conrad) in Potter county and Betula, McKean county. His photos provide a stark look at the workings of the lumber industry in north central Pennsylvania and a window into the lives of the lumbermen who worked the forests.

The gelatin dry-plate method of photography used by Clarke produced negative images on glass plates from which positive images on paper were printed. Approximately 1200 of Clarke’s glass plate negatives were stored in a barn in Betula where many were damaged or destroyed. Henry W. Shoemaker (1880 – 1958), director of The State Museum of Pennsylvania and the nation’s first official folklorist, rescued about 450 of the plates from the barn in 1922. They are now part of the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg.

A number of Clarke's photos are now on display at Sinnemahoning State Park as part of a small traveling exhibit on loan from the Lumber Heritage Region. Fifteen photos and accompanying information will be displayed in the Wildlife Center classroom through February 2012.

For more information on this event or for directions to the Wildlife Center, contact the Sinnemahoning State Park office at 814-647-8401.

If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks: (888) PA-PARKS (voice), (888) 537-7294 (TTY), (717) 558-2711 (local or international TTY), (800) 654-5984 (PA AT&T Relay Service). With at least three days notice, interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available for educational programs. For more information visit our web site at


Fran said...

There was a photographer named George Clark in Galeton some years ago. Were there two Clark photographers?

Anonymous said...

There were a lot more than two photographers of note with the last name of Clarke or Clark in these parts. There are references to a professional photographer named Wilford Clarke from Tioga County on website, search under the surname Dildine. He evidently married into the family in Cross Fork as part of some vaudeville troupe from what I could decipher. Once you get going on that site and go back to the posts from 2002 there are references to the Potter County connections.

Anonymous said...

I meant to add that it is the Dildine Family Genealogy Forum (GenForum) on I tried searching the Clark and Clarke forums but found nothing.

Anonymous said...

The two Clarks/Clarkes mentioned by Fran at 11:24 are not related. I do not have any information on Cross Fork vaudeville acts or such. There was a an opera house in Cross Fork sometime around 1903 or so. You could check with the Historic Society in Coudersport. I am not sure if Mr. Currant still volunteers there but I am sure they could help you.

Anonymous said...

That is a great picture. It reminds me of the simpler times that have been captured so well on canvas over the years by Norman Rockefeller like the one with the baseball umpire and the one with the Thanksgiving dinner scene. I wish life was still like that.