Finish Lines

Geoff Hurd, the new director of the Mt. Lebanon Historical Society.

Geoff Hurd was elected President of the Board of the Historical Society of Mount Lebanon last November. Originally from Buffalo, Geoff and his wife, Pam, bought their home on Tampa Avenue in 1982, where they raised their three children. His lifelong passion for U.S. history led him to join the historical society’s board of trustees in 2017. Now he has big plans for his term as president.

What’s going on at the Historical Society now?

Within the bounds of safety and common sense, we’re working hard to resume a robust schedule of programs, tours and exhibits. In particular, in 2021, we plan to update our online presence in all aspects, increase our membership and complete work on the History Center’s upper floor, which will become the area for our archives. This is an ambitious plan, but we have a talented and hardworking board, energetic and knowledgeable volunteers, and a loyal membership to get it done.

Why is the preservation of local history important?

My favorite President, Harry Truman, said “The only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know.” I hope others share my interest in all aspects of history, including a better understanding of the place where you live. When Mt. Lebanon was created from a part of Scott Township, what was Scott’s compensation?  Why do some streets have sidewalks and others don’t? Where was the ski slope in Mt. Lebanon? The Society exists so that you can find the answers and share your memories.

(Answers: 1. Scott Township received $2,000. 2. There was a moratorium on using concrete for sidewalks during the post-World War II building boom, later rescinded. 3. There was a ski slope at the current location of Bower Hill Apartments.)

What’s your favorite piece of Mt. Lebanon history?

The elementary school in our neighborhood, Howe, opened in 1928. The then president of the Mt. Lebanon School Board, Mr. Elmer E. E. Stewart, wrote to the daughters of Julia Ward Howe to inform them that the board had named the school for their mother, stating: “From all available information, it seems that there has never been a public school named for a woman…” and further explaining “…for a number of years women have been taking keen interest in public schools, intelligently serving on boards of education—as is the case on our own board—and in many other ways displaying an interest that prior to the Suffrage Act was lacking …”

How can someone become involved at the Historical Society?

A great way to start is to visit our website, www.lebohistory.org. There you can find information about our programs, tours and exhibits, learn the history of Mt. Lebanon, browse thousands of photographs, shop in our store and, we hope, become a member. Once we can safely reopen the History Center, stop in and see our renovated space and our current exhibit; then let us know that you want to be more involved with The Society by sending us an email with your contact information and your interests.