Fisher, Thierwechter publish book documenting local history

LEWISTOWN – The Mifflin County Historical Society is here to preserve the past, but also to share it, said Nathaniel Thierwechter as he paged through “Mifflin County: Then and Now” with collaborator Forest Fisher.

“We want people to take away an appreciation for what we had historically, but also for what we have now,” Fisher said. “Things are constantly changing and each change has it’s own unique story.”

Fisher and Thierwechter’s first publication, “Mifflin County: Then and Now,” documents the passage of time through the camera lens, comparing more than 175 vintage and contemporary photos of area communities and landmarks.

The book, which took more than a year to complete, features photos from as early as 1902 beside their recent counterpart. The modern photos, taken by Thierwechter, were designed to look as close to the original picture as possible.

“I tried very hard, with varying degrees of success, to not only match the angle of the photo from the past, but also to consider other factors such as weather conditions, time of day and time of season,” Thierwechter said.

Generally, the photos were taken with a tripod, then reviewed and compared to the original photograph. Sometimes the process was more difficult, for example, when the landscape had completely changed or if a building no longer existed, Thierwechter said.

Each set of photos is accompanied by a brief historical synopsis, researched and written by Fisher, detailing the timeline of changes between the “then” picture and the “now” picture.

Fisher also was responsible for the collection of historical photos, using his access to the society’s photo collection as well as the Kepler Studio collection.

“I’m just thrilled to have these comparisons available for people to see,” Fisher said. “I don’t know if it’s fun to see how fast things change, but it’s interesting to see how they do.”

Fisher and Thierwechter will be signing copies of “Mifflin County: Then and Now” from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 19 at Friendship Bookstore, in Burnham.

The book is available for $20 plus tax at the Juniata Valley Chamber of Commerce store, Historic Courthouse, Friendship Book Store and Mifflin County Historical Society office or library. The book also may be purchased online at For more information, contact the historical society at 242-1022.