Museum kicks off opening day with glass collection, pancake breakfast

April 26, 2013
The Dorothy Rush Clark jar and bottle collection at the Greene County Historical Society Museum in Waynesburg - Tara Kinsell / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

WAYNESBURG – The Greene County Historical Society will hold opening day festivities today at the society’s museum at 918 Rolling Meadows Road, Waynesburg.

The day will kick off with an all-you-can eat pancake and sausage breakfast starting at 8 a.m. for $6 a person. Three types of pancakes, sausage, applesauce and assorted beverages will be available until noon. Local Civil War re-enactors will be encamped on the grounds for the opening.

The historical society is excited to host the glass jar and bottle collection of the late Dorothy Rush Clark. The collection is on temporary loan from sons Brice and Bruce Rush. Clark was a dairy farmer from the Khedive area and began collecting jars and bottles as a young woman. This is the first time her collection has been seen at one time, according to Rush.

Assisting in setting up the collection was collector Ed Kincheloe of Hunker. Kincheloe was a longtime friend of Clark, who shared her love of collecting.

“Dorothy was a very special lady. I used to buy veal calves from her when they were a day old and raise them instead of her taking them to the sale,” Kincheloe said. “One day I found an old milk bottle on a piece of property I owned. I was picking up a calf and I showed the bottle to Dorothy.”

That began their mutual sharing of the hobby of collecting glass jars and bottles.

Clark shared a catalogue with Kincheloe that identified jars and listed books that were available to help someone interested in collecting them.

“I was younger and could go to the auctions. She was busy milking calves two times a day, seven days a week. She would still take Brice and Bruce (her twin sons) to the auctions when she could though,” he said. “I used to sell her firewood, and she was the only person who helped me unload the truck. She was over 70 at the time.”

Kincheloe tried to waive off the assistance, but Clark was no stranger to hard work. In fact, that is probably what the jar and bottle collection stemmed from, according to her daughter-in-law, Linda Rush.

“She was one of 12 children, and they canned everything. When you had a family that large you had to,” she said.

The Rushes helped Kincheloe set up the collection. Linda noted there are jars and bottles from Brownsville, Charleroi, Masontown and Pittsburgh, as well as a perfume bottle from Lows Prize Medal Perfumes of London and New York.

Kincheloe said he can talk endlessly about them. He gave a brief history lesson for the reason behind the shape and rough outside texture of some smaller bottles.

He said this was to prevent one from ingesting poison in the early 1800s before electricity. If one awakened and needed to find something to take for an ailment, reaching into a cabinet or on the bedside table in the dark was risky, he said. There was a chance you would swallow an ointment or the like, instead of a health elixir.

One such elixir bottle is in the collection of Clark, a Warner’s Safe Cure, alleged to cure all ailments. It features an embossed safe on the bottle. The bottles covered with bumps or triangularly shaped warned that they were not medicine, he said.

“I was like a kid in a candy store setting up bottles that no one has seen before. I loved setting those bottles up,” Kincheloe said. “I probably have a similar-sized collection to Dorothy’s, around 500 jars and bottles. Probably the best jar in Dorothy’s collection is the green one in the middle of the display. It is a Flaccus mustard jar and is really desirable for a collector. The glass is sculpted with flowers or ivy on it.”

There is a great deal of history behind the Clark collection. Kincheloe hopes it will attract club members from local antique bottle and glass clubs, as well as the curious and potential new collectors.

The museum will be open for tours today and resume its regular seasonal hours starting Tuesday.

It will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or by appointment.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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