The Ridgway Sanitarium was such a restful place to go to just get away from the stress of job or even home.
The rates were very affordable. Just $8 to $10 per week and the meals were only .25 to .35 cents! The only requirement was that you notify the Sanitarium in advance of your desire for accommodations.
Hydetown was quite a place back then. The Titusville Electric Traction Company had a trolley that passed through Hydetown every hour. It was a beautiful ride from Titusville to Hydetown where Main Street was lined with beautiful Maple trees.
Then you had the train depot right across the street from Ridgway’s Sanitarium. There were daily trains to and from Buffalo and Pittsburgh. There were trains with a single change running to New York, Philadelphia, Erie, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Chicago.
Sometimes Uncle Sam would walk across the street and greet people getting off the trains at the depot. He loved people. He couldn’t stand to see a human being or animal in pain.
My grandmother used to tell me that any time Uncle Sam would see someone walking by and they might be laboring a little, he would go to them. He would then coax them into one of his sanitarium treatment rooms and begin working on them. My grandmother used to laugh when she would tell stories of her Grandfather Samuel Ridgway. Then she would say to me, “I wish you could have known him. He was such a wonderful man.”
The fame of the Sanitarium was spreading across the country and all the employees were riding high, except Uncle Sam. He liked working with the people, so in 1893 he turned the management over to his son-in-law, S.E. Nason. Uncle Sam went back to his first love, compassionately treating patients.
Then eight years later came the first shocker! Everybody’s Uncle Sam Ridgway had a massive heart attack and died at the age of 77 on April 9, 1901.
The whole Oil Valley mourned the loss of this great but humble man. Even John Mathers, the oil photographer, felt a need to take pictures of Uncle Sam’s funeral.
But what about the Sanitarium?
Come on out. Pull up a bridge. We’ll sit a spell and swap some stories!
— Hydetown Baptist Church: Pastor Jeff Sterling. Sunday: 9:30 a.m., Sunday school; 11 a.m., Worship service. Wednesday, 6:15 p.m., Prayer Focus Group; 7. Bible study and prayer. All are welcome.
Easter Sunday services at Hydetown Baptist Church:
— Breakfast at 9:30.
— Easter Worship Service at 11.
Hydetown area residents can tune their radios to 90.3 FM on Sunday to hear the entire Worship Service at 11. Folks are also invited to come to Hydetown, park their cars and hear the service live on their car radios. The service can be heard for up to three miles in every direction from the church.
— Hydetown United Methodist Church: Pastor Richard Foland. Sunday: 9:45 a.m., Worship service. Wednesday 3 to 5 p.m., Bible study.
Easter Sunday services at Hydetown United Methodist Church:
— Brunch at 9:45.
— Easter Worship Service at 10:30.
Hydetown and Tryonville churches will join at Hydetown church.
A final word
Have a safe and blessed Easter celebration weekend!
Jeff and Robin may be reached at (814) 775-0107 for anyone wanting to make positive contributions to this column. People submitting news and activities are asked to limit the news and activities to those of the Hydetown area.