Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

History of the Wyalusing Valley Museum Association

Downtown WyalusingThe Wyalusing Valley Museum Association was started in 1976 headed by William Keeler and James Eaton and many other Wyalusing residents as a tribute to the bicentennial of our nation. The displays were located in the Wyalusing Borough Hall and lasted one year.

In late 1979 a group of citizens concerned about how to preserve the history of Wyalusing got together to reform the Wyalusing Museum and set up a committee and by 1980 the Wyalusing Valley Museum officially opened in the basement of the Wyalusing Public Library.

Today the museum has benefited from a generous gift from Kay Welles Homer of leasing the Bixby house and barns on the Welles estate in East Wyalusing

History of Wyalusing
The original name for Wyalusing was M'chwihilusing which stands for "place of the old man" or "good hunting grounds," sometimes translated as "home of the old warrior."  Before 1750 Wyalusing was known as Gohontoto and occupied by the Tehotachsee tribe who were killed off by the Cuyugas during war time.  In 1752 Chief Paupunhank, along with approximately twenty families, built the village of Wyalusing.

Two ladies at the Wyalusing railroad stationThe Revolutionary War brought General John Sullivan and his troops to Wyalusing where they spent a couple of days before moving on. The Army stayed on the Welles farm (now the museum grounds) and also started the Wyalusing Cemetery where they buried two of their fallen soldiers. In 1778, Wyalusing was burned to the ground by Indians sympathizing with the British. After the Revolutionary War, the settlers slowly returned to Wyalusing and built the borough (incorporated in 1887) on the Gaylord family farm.

The area grew rapidly during the 1800's due to its rich agriculture.  The Welles family built and ran the Welles Mill Company in 1820 and the family still runs the business to this day.  Wyalusing was a hub on the North Branch Canal system and soon after that the railroad, bringing many people to the livestock sales and the numerous stores.  Main Street has not changed much and many of the buildings look the same as they did over a century ago.  The Wyalusing area is very rich in history so visit the museum to take a step back in time.