Beech Creek, Pennsylvania in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel, 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: This photo is licensed under the the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Images of the 1880 Beech Creek Victorian house where Bechdel grew up accompany this New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/garden/03bechdel.html. If you live near Beech Creek or have photographed Bechdel’s historic childhood home, we would love to share your images. Contact us at booma.bookmaps+images@gmail.com.

“Our Gothic revival house had been built during the small Pennsylvania town’s one brief moment of wealth, from the lumber industry, in 1867. But local fortunes had declined steadily from that point, and when my parents bought the place in 1962, it was a shell of its former self. The shutters and scrollwork were gone. The clapboards had been sheathed with scabrous shingles. The bare lightbulbs revealed dingy wartime wallpaper and woodwork painted pastel green. All that was left of the house’s lumber-era glory were the exuberant front porch supports.”1

Beech Creek, Pennsylvania is the childhood town of, and setting for, Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Childhood memories of her odd and distant father focus on his obsessive restoration and elaborate decoration of their Gothic-style house. When he is not perfecting the house, he is an English teacher and the director of the Bechdel funeral home, lovingly nicknamed “Fun Home” by the family. Shortly before the untimely death of her father, Alison comes out to her parents as a lesbian and learns her father has had affairs with younger men. Bechdel deals with his death and attempts to understand his aloof life through this funny, heartfelt, and honest comic.

Beech Creek is a small borough – only 0.6 square miles – in Clinton County, Pennsylvania. During the 2000 U.S. census, the population was only 717. The house that was bought and restored by the Bechdel’s in the 1960s made the Bicentennial House Tour of Clinton County in 1976 and won the Clinton County Historical Society’s Annual Preservation Award in 1978.

Read more about Beech Creek and Alison Bechdel on Wikipedia. Visit Alison Bechdel’s website Dykes to Watch Out For. Find Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic at a local library or on Amazon.

1Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006. 8-9. Print.

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Author: Emily Pearson

Emily Pearson is a junior at the University of Arizona who is studying English and creative writing.