Last updated: March 16. 2013 11:42PM - 691 Views
TODD ORAVIC, Times Leader Correspondent

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KINGSTON – In the 18th century, European settlers took interest in the Wyoming Valley. Since then, Kingston has played a key role in the region's development and history.

However, this municipality of 13,000 people has no organized effort to preserve its heritage, unlike some nearby towns.

Some residents will meet Thursday to look into forming the Kingston Historical Society.

We've been talking for some time about this, said Andrea Petrasek, of Eley Street. We're taking baby steps.

With Mayor James Haggerty's support, Petrasek and others, including Kingston Council President Sandra Kase, are using the meeting to gauge community interest as well as to gather ideas for the organization.

This will give us more of an opportunity to provide for the community and Kingston in particular, Kase said. We can create programs and hold discussions focused on Kingston's individual history.

Organizers are looking to other historical societies in the area for guidance, as well as working closely with the Luzerne County Historical Society, Petrasek said.

We're expecting a big turnout, he said.

Kase said establishing a historical group would provide an opportunity to preserve and consolidate Kingston's historical artifacts. Some of the historical materials we may find would be open to members of the community and the Luzerne County Historical Society, Kase said. We'll be able to combine our efforts.

Local author Robert W. Surridge plans to attend the meeting to discuss his book, Butter Size of a Turkey Egg: The Foodways and Social World of the Ladies of the Presbyterian Church of Kingston, Pennsylvania in 1907.

The book tells of the lives of 75 women who contributed to one such artifact, a 1907 cookbook published at the Presbyterian church, which later merged to become the Church of Christ Uniting after the flooding of Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.

Surridge said that even something as simple as a cookbook could inspire curiosity and provide ample insight into the history of a community.

His goal in writing Butter Size of a Turkey Egg was not only to give an identity back to these ladies, who are generally credited in the cookbook only by first initials and surnames, he said, but also to present a comprehensive history of when the municipality began to grow.

Between 1890 and 1910, the population of Kingston increased by 170 percent, Surridge said. This was primarily due to the promise of work in coal mines for European and Irish immigrants.

Surridge's book is available at the Luzerne County Historical Society and on Amazon.com.

If you go

What: Public forum to consider forming a Kingston historical society

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Community Room at the Kingston firehouse, Wyoming Avenue. Attendees should use the Sharpe Street entrance.

More information: Facebook link at https:// www.facebook.com/events/103318223175312/

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