17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, August 22, 1912: Rufus and I went over to Ottawa this morning. We did quite a bit of traveling around before the day was over. Uncle Sam took us for a drive down to Billmeyer’s Park and back.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Grandma and her sister Ruth—Grandma calls her Rufus in this entry— probably took the train the ten or so miles to the small town of Ottawa (Montour County), to visit their uncle Sam Muffly.
Billmeyer’s Park, a popular wildlife park, was located a few miles from Ottawa, near Washingtonville.
According to the History of Montour County by Fred Diehl:
This park was maintained by Mr. Alexander Billmeyer, one time a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislative.
The park consisted of some twenty-five acres, mostly woodland, completely enclosed by a high woven wire fence, and contained at one time twenty elk, seventy deer, and hundreds of wild turkeys and squirrels. No hunting was allowed in the park. . . .
Along the enclosure was a 20-acre picnic area. On a Sunday a thousand people might be there, for it was free, and a spot renowned for miles.