St. Marys was founded as a religious commune. The commune quickly became outdated and the German-Catholic first settlers became self-supporting.
However, they never lost the tight knit aspect of their beginnings, even after the town grew into a borough with surrounding township, and later when the borough and township merged into the City of St. Marys.
What the townsfolk retained from their development was an intense love of their community's history. St. Marys is still characterized by large extended families, reunions and festivals.
Residents are proud of their churches, homes, architecture, parks, teams and family trees, and are very supportive of their historical society. The city has one of the most complete and systematic historical societies in the state. In 2014 the St. Marys & Benzinger Township Historical Society moved into a new building on Erie Avenue, guaranteeing its continued support and documentation of the city.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Dennis McGeehan is a retired college history professor who has worked at both Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also worked for many years as a freelance photographer travelling around the world numerous times. He has also worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Foundation For Architecture. He is the author of several books on St. Marys (PA) and Elk County (PA) history.