July 8, 2009

A Visit To The Monongahela River Buffs Museum

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit the Monongahela River Buffs Association Museum in Monongahela Pa. This group began in the late 1970's at Greensboro Pa ( mile 84 ) by a small group of river enthusiasts headed by Bill Young, Ernie Gabler and Bill Bennett. In 1986 MRBA moved to it's present location in Mon City.

Entrance to the museum, note that the OPEN sign is extended

My son Casey and I were greeted by Dr. J. K. Folmar and Jay Mohney, two of the stalwart members of this group. Dr. Folmar is the author and editor of several books on steamboats, transportation and local history of the upper Mon river valley and is retired from the faculty at nearby California University in California Pa. J.K. is the long time President of the group and the editor of their newsletter THE VOICE OF THE MON. His wit is exceeded only by his knowledge of local river history. Jay's website STEAMBOAT BUILDING IN ELIZABETH PA. a work of many years, is without argument, the most extensive site about steamboating on the internet. These dedicated gentlemen made us feel very comfortable and cheerfully answered any questions we had.

Jay Mohney and Dr. J.K. Folmar

Some house flags from J&L, G&C and US Steel

There is much to see and if your level of interest is like mine you can easily spend a few hours there. There is a large collection of old photos, books and artifacts, most all in a " hands on " environment. Everything here has been donated by local companies and individuals looking to preserve the area's river history.

Large diorama of a keelboat being built on the Mon

Whistle next to the bell of the CHARLES R COX

Several large boat models can be seen at the museum

There is a fine collection of name boards. All photos by Author

The museum is at 175 Second Street, above the Span-Taylor Drug Store and one half block from the river, is open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 1 to 3 Pm. It may also be visited by appointment. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday ( April thru November) at 7:00 pm. Dues for membership are 5.00 per year. The mailing address is Mon River Buffs Assn. PO Box 401, Monongahela Pa. 15063. Contact them by email at
folmar@zoominternet.net. They have a website, now under construction here.
The group, like most local museums, operates on a small budget and donations are very welcome. If you have an interest in the river , or family members who worked on the boats or the locks, as many from Ten Mile Creek Country do, please consider a membership and or a monetary donation to keep this wonderful project going. Join them and help preserve our important local river heritage.


Dan said...

Thanks for the review of the museum. I live in Monongahela and knew it existed but after reading your review I want to visit.

Larry The Kidman said...

Hi Dan , I think you'll agree the MRBA museum is a very interesting place to visit. Thanks for the link on Lost Monongahela, a favor I have returned. I discovered your site about a year ago, it's very cool.