The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Wednesday, Aug. 27, 1997

Buhl Day '97

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    The clubhouse and casino adorned Buhl Farm. The postmark on the back of the postcard is 1912. It was Frank H. Buhl's dream to create a free playground for families in the community.


    Documents, clippings keep the Buhl memory from being forgotten

    postcard The Buhl Conservatory stood on the property of the Buhl Mansion on East State Street in the early 1900s. The conservatory was not maintained and is no longer on the property. Buhl, a wealthy industrialist, built the mansion and its surrounding buildings for his wife after his mother commented that he should ``build her a mansion,'' according to published stories.

    By Jennifer Hall
    Herald Staff Writer

    The people who could remember the Buhl family and sit around on their porches talking about what the industrialist and his wife were going to do next in the community are gone .

    All that's left are documents kept by Buhl Trustees and tattered newspaper clippings. Many of Buhl's properties as they were in the early 1900s are pictured on postcards found in various attics or filing cabinets around the Shenango Valley.

    Frank H. Buhl died in 1918 and his wife, Julia Forker Buhl, in June 1936.

    In 1889, Buhl's father, C.H. Buhl, owned Sharon Iron Co. which was the largest plant in Mercer County employing ``about 700 men,'' according to Mrs. Buhl's obituary.

    In 1896, F.H. Buhl organized Buhl Steel Co., which within three years was absorbed by National Steel Co. and later became part of U.S. Steel. In 1899, with John Stevenson Jr., Buhl started Sharon Steel Co., which also eventually became part of U.S. Steel.

    While her husband was a successful steel man, Mrs. Buhl worked with the public and was ``loved for her simplicity,'' the article announcing her death read.

    Mrs. Buhl's obituary called her the ``Shenango Valley's Fairy Godmother'' for all of the work the childless woman did for the children in the Shenango Valley.

    Realtor Ferd Dalo, known for his recall of Sharon history, has only a vague memory of stories told by his mother who used to know the cook at the Buhl Mansion.

    ``My mother would walk home and stop and have soup with the girl,'' he said. ``My mother would tell us how Mrs. Buhl would come out into the kitchen to also sample the soup.''

    Dalo, who has a collection of postcards featuring local landmarks, also drove over the roads of Buhl Farm Park in a 1914 Ford Roadster just before they were paved. He remembers talk of the roads being paved with limestone _ not slag _ because Buhl as an industrialist did not trust the durability of slag.

    The construction of the park is well documented in a worn file called ``Farm...Letters, Records.'' It contains much of the information and records kept by George Rettig, the park's first superintendent.

    postcard The photograph of East State Street looking west is dated 1907. The Buhl Club, which used to be divided into boys and girls clubs, sits on the right.

    ``This property consists of some three hundred acres of rolling land...To obtain the best results in landscaping it will be necessary to plant about 100 acres in forest trees of various kinds, the idea being to use varieties growing naturally in this locality,'' Buhl wrote in a letter to the state dated December 1912.

    Funded mostly by a trust, Buhl's goal was to provide a free atmosphere for families.

    ``The Farm is to be used as a playground and a place of cultural enhancement for the public in general and especially for the residents of the community,'' Buhl said in 1914.

    Anyone wishing to donate to Buhl Farm can do so Monday or by mailing a check to Buhl Day Fund Drive, Buhl Farm Trust, Box 709, Sharon 16146.

    Enjoy old postcard views? Then check out our online collection of postcards from the past

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