Modern Mountain Men Recreate Frontier Life Nonprofit Group Honors History

By Ganster, Kathleen | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), July 3, 2015 | Go to article overview

Modern Mountain Men Recreate Frontier Life Nonprofit Group Honors History


Ganster, Kathleen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Ed Kavulik may live in the modern world, but he is fascinated with frontier life. And he isn't alone.

Mr. Kavulik of Green Tree is the president of the Independent Mountain Men Living History Society, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and educating about the times of the early frontier. Mr. Kavulik, 75, has been a member for over 30 years.

"It's just in my blood. My wife always says that I was born 200 years too late," he said.

Mr. Kavulik said the group focuses on the life of the American Frontier from 1750 to 1840. Independent Mountain Men has over 70 members - all men.

"When women complain that they can't join, I tell them that is what it was like back then, and if they want to join, they have to have a man," said Peter Smolter, 58, of Shaler, who is vice president and has been a member for 26 years.

The group was formed in 1979 and incorporated in 1986. Members have purchased almost 400 acres in Emlenton in northeastern Pennsylvania, where they moved and restored a two-story log cabin now used to host workshops, re-enactments, presentations and other events.

"We are all kind of fascinated with that time period," Mr. Kavulik said.

The Society will be participating in the Fourth of July parade in Midland and will be hosting the Western Pennsylvania Primitive Rendezvous from July 16-20 at their camp.

Ken Grabenstein, chairman of the board, said the first rendezvous was held in 1985.

"In frontier times, a rendezvous was when all of the mountain men came together after being out on their own trapping and hunting. They would come together to socialize, party and sell their traps and furs," he said.

The present-day rendezvous are open to the public and include demonstrations of frontier times cooking, muzzle loading and shooting, clothing making and other demonstrations and hands-on activities. …

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