Petrolia showcasing ‘Churches and Railroads’ at annual heritage open house

The open house takes place at Victoria Hall on February 17, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

(Travis Poland/Lambton Shield)

Local historians are dusting off books, digging through photo albums, and preparing displays for the Petrolia Heritage Open House. 

Hundreds of people are expected to flock to Victoria Hall in Petrolia next weekend for the annual open house hosted by the Petrolia Heritage Advisory Committee.

The open house starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 17.

This year, the theme is “Churches and Railroads”, and local museums, churches, history enthusiast, and collectors will be displaying aspects of local history. 

Martin Dillon, chairman of the heritage committee, said the theme was selected because past open houses focusing on churches were very successful.

“We like to have a good turn out to promote history and heritage in the area,” said Dillon. “We just want people to come out and be educated and enjoy themselves and partake in history.”

Dillon said the displays will include pictures, documents, and memorabilia. 

“There’s a lot of good information, and pictures, and history,” he said. 

In addition to the historical displays, the Petrolia Heritage Committee will be hosting a one-day silent auction featuring unique items, with all proceeds going to Petrolia Heritage Committee projects.

The Lambton branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will also have a display showing off their work researching family history.

Dillon said Tom Walter, author of The Petrolia Spur, will be showcasing local rail history with a railroad display. 

Local author Daniel Barton will be there with his new book WATCH! which is inspired by Petrolia and copies of The Bear Creek Gum Bed Monster, written by Petrolia expat Mickey Maple and five Petrolia students, will be for sale. 

“It’s a complete success every year,” Dillon said about the open house. “Everybody finds this interesting.” 

Admission to the open house is free.

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