The Ridgway Heritage Council is excited to announce the arrival of its long-awaited publication focused on the stunning architectural heritage of Ridgway’s famed Hyde-Murphy Company.
Committee members Bob Imhof and Dale Fox spearheaded the effort in partnership with Dennis McGeehan, a well-known local history author from St. Marys. His wife Debbie also deserves significant credit for her assistance.
Elk County abounds in historical buildings that retain beautiful woodwork created by the company. In 1865, Walter P. Murphy started a planing mill at Freeport, Pa., and purchased lumber that was floated downriver from the J.S. and W.H. Hyde Company in Ridgway.
The two hard-working men became friends and in 1884, Murphy moved to Ridgway to set up a joint operation. Their partnership led to fame and fortune, creating gorgeous woodwork for prestigious buildings located throughout the United States and beyond.
Famous locations that contain Hyde-Murphy interiors include Yale University, All Soul’s Church, the National Geographic Society, U.S. Botanic Gardens, Constitution Hall, Harvard University, Biltmore Country Club, and the Pentagon. Local examples still abound, primarily in historic homes built during their heyday.
“While not a Ridgway native, I have long been fascinated by the incredible beauty hidden behind the doors of so many of Ridgway’s historic homes. We are so pleased to finally bring this national treasure to light”, shared Fox.
For Imhof, working on the book brought back memories of walking past the plant on Race Street where he could look in the windows and watch the saws cutting the lumber to make the components for their amazing mill work.
When it closed in 1961, the Hyde-Murphy company was the oldest long-term business in Elk County.
“Those memories were my motivation to be involved with publishing this book”, he explained. “We hope readers will find it informative and an honor to this amazing company”.
In addition to the material in the book, many local photographers offered their services to document interior examples of Hyde-Murphy work in locations throughout Elk County.
In the future, these beautiful photos will be made available for public viewing, as a supplement to the book.
The Hyde-Murphy Company book can be purchased at the Ridgway Welcome Center. Phone orders are available at 814-776-1424, and books can be mailed for a small charge.
They are also available in Ridgway at the Ridgway Public Library, the Elk County Historical Society and Cliffe’s and the Prescription Center.
The Ridgway Public Library is also hosting a book signing event by the author at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 24. Books will be available for sale.
More information about Hyde-Murphy can be found on www.ridgwayheritagecouncil.org.