— One of two roadside historical markers calling attention to areas of importance in Cambria County will be dedicated
Saturday in Cresson Township.
Locals and others will gather along old Route 22 – Admiral Peary Highway – near the Summit at 10:30 a.m. for the unveiling of the marker recognizing the Cresson Tuberculous Sanitorium.
Commonly referred to as the “San,” the facility was one of three operated in Pennsylvania starting more than 100 years ago as part of the battle against TB.
Plans are underway for the dedication of a similar marker designating Cambria County’s role in the Underground Railroad. That marker will be dedicated in mid-June on the Slick farm in Geistown.
“These markers are important because there is so much history in Cambria County that is being lost. When we can document and get recognition of a place or event which had an impact on state or national events, it is a reason to celebrate,” said Barbara Zaborowski, dean of learning resources and special assistant to the president at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.
For Chuck Felton, who spent 16 months at the San in the 1950s, the marker is needed to remind future generations of the patients, workers and those in the community who volunteered to brighten the lives of many very sick people.
Felton started a website on the San four years ago, a step that resulted in a 2011 reunion and a 100th anniversary celebration last year.
“That marker represents a lot of death and struggle; 40,000 patients passed through the San up there,” he said from his home in Texas.
The San marker was a team effort and a dream come true, said Etta Albright, a Cresson resident who has been instrumental in telling the story of the San, which operated from 1913 until the mid-1960s.
Approval for the San and Underground Railroad markers came from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in September.
Tight funding at the state level placed responsibility for paying for the markers on local contributions, something each group has been able to accomplish.
The $1,800 price tag for the San marker was raised in the Cresson community, while the cost of the Underground Railroad marker has been underwritten by the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.
The Underground Railroad marker will be installed at 601 Lamberd Ave., Geistown, likely in mid-June, Zaborowski said.