A century ago, local people were far easier entertained than today and they did not need much technology to keep them occupied. No one was obsessed with hand-held media devices.
Conner Park suited the needs of the small borough of Burnside, in southwestern Clearfield County. Burnside is an old “logging and rafting town” built along the upper reaches of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
Before the advent of coal mines, the Burnside micro economy revolved around faming and small businesses. It also was overshadowed by the lumbering industry that once dominated Clearfield County.
James Conner, from a lumbering family, bought 13.5 acres in Burnside Borough, close to today what is state Route 219. The short 1948 History of Burnside article noted that, “It was a beautiful place, ideal for swimming, boating and camping.”
The park land was later sold to the then newly-formed Burnside Sportsmen’s Club in 1942. It was stripped mined for coal in the 1970’s.
The photo likely shows a July 4 picnic or celebration at the park and looks to be from the World War I era. Patriotic bunting decorated the pavilion and a local group of musicians provided music.
Girls were dressed in their white summer dresses and some of the boys wore ties and knickers. Women were covered with ankle-length dress and men wore jackets and hats. It was tough to brave the summer heat in those days, even under the shade of the park’s trees.
Wooden kitchen chairs were brought to the park for seating. The automobile was a technological marvel for times and a classic masterpiece today. It is probably impossible, from the photo, to discern the cars make and model but it had to be crank started to get the engine in motion.