History of the Society

The Huntingdon County Historical Society was formed in 1936 to plan the observance of the county’s 150th anniversary. At the successful conclusion of that effort, those involved elected to charter the Society as an ongoing organization. In 1952 the Society entered a new phase in its history when it inherited, jointly with the Huntingdon County Library, the real property of Miss Clara McMurtrie, a charter member of the historical society. Initially the Library and the Society shared the McMurtrie home at 332 Penn Street, but in 1965 the two groups divided the total McMurtrie property, with the society becoming the sole owner of the William McMurtrie house at 106 Fourth Street, the former McMurtrie store building at 100 Fourth, and the garage-apartment behind 106 Fourth.

The William McMurtrie house was restored, principally as a house museum, for Huntingdon’s Bicentennial in 1967. In 1974 an exhibit gallery was created in the store building, and the Society was finally able to conduct all its activities, including meetings, in its own quarters. With ever greater use of the society’s research facilities, more space was allocated to the library and office functions, which were moved to a more convenient location on the first floor of the McMurtrie House in 1984.

To mark the Huntingdon County Bicentennial in 1987, the McMurtrie Museum rooms were completely redecorated to the period of the County Centennial in 1887. The out-kitchen at the rear of the house was restored and added to the Society’s house museum tour, and the little “1887” house, built for a float in the Centennial parade, was placed in the yard of 106 Fourth street.