POTTSVILLE — An old two-story house with a dark attic is perfect for fall festivities, or Ghostly Galla Night, in the case of a fundraiser for the Potts Inn Museum.
The museum in downtown Pottsville will host the event beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday in celebration of fall and the 100th anniversary of the Citizen’s Bank building.
It’s the first Ghostly Galla Night ever held, said Benita Drew, museum volunteer.
The name is a nod to the name of the creek that runs through Pottsville; a community, Galla Rock; and Galla Station, the former train depot, Drew said.
Plus, the alliteration makes it fun, she said, laughing.
“We are really working hard to get more involvement with the community,” she said. “The house just really needs paint, and also, it has structural problems. Everything will go to our paint fund.”
Potts Inn is in an 1850s antebellum home, built by Kirkbride Potts for his wife, Pamelia, and their family, which eventually included 11 children.
U.S. 64 used to go right by the museum, but now the highway bypasses the old downtown, Drew said.
“We’re just trying to get more community awareness, … trying to keep the word out that we’re here,” she said.
Ghostly Galla Night will include pumpkin carving, a night tour of the museum, a re-enactment of a 1926 bank robbery, ghost stories in the attic and a weenie roast.
The pumpkin-carving contest is first on the agenda, scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Entering is free, but pumpkins must be purchased from the museum, Drew said. Large pumpkins are $10, and small pumpkins are $6. Pumpkins will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Children must be accompanied by an adult, and contestants must bring their own carving tools.
“We don’t have a lot of rules to it,” she said.
The audience will judge the pumpkins between the re-enactment of the robbery, which will start about 6:30 p.m., and the night tour of the museum.
Although the bank has been gone since the mid-’90s, Drew said, the city-owned building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
As the story goes, a man came through town wearing a Santa mask and carrying a sack, planning to rob the bank. When he said, ‘This is a holdup,’ the teller thought he was joking, laughed and said, “I’ll be with you in a minute,’” Drew said.
The robber got tired of waiting and explained that it was a real hold-up. Some boys in the bank started digging in the Santa-robber’s pockets, looking for candy, and coincidentally, children were setting off fireworks outside, she said.
“Apparently, one of [the boys] grabbed the gun and shot through his boot,” she said. “He didn’t know it until that night, and he took his boot off and it had blood; [the bullet] nipped his toe.”
A hole in the tile in front of the bank is allegedly where the bullet struck, Drew said.
“An older gentlemen in town — his dad told him,” she said of the legend.
(The re-enactment will be done minus the gun, Drew pointed out.)
Immediately after the robbery re-enactment, night tours will be given of the Potts Inn Museum at a cost of $5 per person, children and adults.
The house does not have electricity. Guides will use
lanterns for the tour, which will culminate in the attic, where someone will be telling Ozark ghost stories.
“We don’t have a lot in the attic — it’s pretty dark — it’s an attic,” Drew said, laughing. “It’s original, not finished out; it’s got a floor in it. You can see the wooden pegs. … You can see how the house is put together.”
Beginning at 7 p.m., a campfire will be built, and refreshments will be sold, including s’mores, roasted weenies and hot apple cider.
If the event goes as well as expected, Drew said, it will be held again.
“We were thinking of things we could do seasonally,” she said. “We’ve got some pretty creative minds.
“We used to do trick-or-treat, but it didn’t raise funds. We’d just have the kids come, and we’d give out candy.
“We thought we’d do this and bring out adults, too — something to change it up,” Drew said.
Asked if Potts Inn is haunted, Drew paused: “Will it help attendance?” Then she laughed. “Not that we know, no, no.”
Then, again, it is a Ghostly Galla. “We’ve never had anyone go through it at night,” she said.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or email@example.com.