The Walk of Fame

What is the Walk of Fame?

Founded in 2016, the Northern Appalachian Folk Festival’s “Walk of Fame” recognizes the important contributions made by residents of the Northern Appalachian region including and not limited to the fields of education, the environment, human rights, the arts and sports.  


Nominees are inducted into the “Walk of Fame” at an annual ceremony that takes place during each Northern Appalachian Folk Festival Inc. festival. Inscribed bricks are then placed into the sidewalks, much like the Hollywood Stars, so that we can remember the great individuals of our region for years to come. 

2020 Inductees will be:

More to come soon...

2019 Inductees were:

  • Education - Nellie Bly 

    • Elizabeth Cochran Seaman (May 5, 1864– January 27, 1922), better known by her pen name Nellie Bly, was an American journalist who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she worked undercover to report on a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism. Bly was also a writer, inventor, and industrialist.  Early in her life she lived in Pittsburgh and briefly attended the Indiana Normal School (now IUP).

  • Human Rights- John Brophy   

    • Brophy was born in Lancashire, England to a family of miners. His family emigrated to the United States when he was nine years old and found work in the central Pennsylvania coal mines. Brophy began working in the mines at age eleven; by the age of fourteen, he had joined the UMWA. He rose within the union to become president of District 2 of the UMWA.  Brophy ran against John L. Lewis for President of the UMWA in 1926 calling for nationalization of the coal industry, a 30 hour work week at the same pay as a 40 hour week and the establishment of a third national progressive political party.  He lost the union election to Lewis, but most historians feel it was rigged and that Brophy probably would have won the election if the vote had been held democratically.  Lewis controlled the counting of the ballots.  Brophy advocated for the human rights of the miners, their families and communities.  He also created a very innovative community-based education program called “Labor Chautauqua’s” that sought to educate miners and their families about democracy and the role of government.

  • Environment - East Run Hellbenders Society, Inc.  

    •  In 2012, residents of Grant Township in northeastern Indiana County were informed that a Marcellus shale company, Pennsylvania General Energy, from Warren, PA, wanted to install a Class IID injection well where it would literally shoot the wastewater from Marcellus shale gas wells into the ground near their homes.  Since all the residents of the township use well water, this was a major concern.  PGE’s own state record for environmental violations with the Department of Environmental Protection outlined the very real possibility that the wastewater would leach in the ground and eventually pollute their water.  In response, Grant Township residents created a group that would work to stop this threat and took on the hellbender as a symbol representing their cause.  Major newspapers have written stories about the Hellbenders including the Rolling Stone Magazine.  Currently, oral arguments scheduled for Friday, October 4, 2019, Pittsburgh will be heard on whether this community has the right to protect itself from corporate harms like injection wells.

  • Arts - Jim Rogers   

    • Jim was a self employed photographer for over 25 years. He was employed by the Communications Media Department of IUP as a faculty advisor for WIUP-FM and taught classes in radio and photography. Volunteering at WIUP-FM for over 30 years, he primarily aired Saturday and Sunday morning radio programs which highlighted singer-song writers, folk music and bluegrass.   As Special Programs Director/Community Volunteer Coordinator, he was producer/host of WIUP-FM’s Modern Troubadours (29 years), FolkTime! (34 years) and The Bluegrass Ramble (9 years).  He was also director of FolkTime! Productions, Indiana Pa

  • Sports - IUP Woman's Basketball 

    • ​IUP women's basketball followed up its wildly successful 2017-18 season with another historic year. The Crimson Hawks won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Western Division regular season title, the PSAC tournament championship, and another Atlantic Region crown to advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the second consecutive season. IUP head coach Tom McConnell was named PSAC West Coach of the Year, with seniors Carolyn Appleby, Lauren Wolosik and Brittany Robinson each earning all-league honors. Appleby also earned All-Atlantic Region and All-American accolades.


2018 Inductees:

  • Jim Nance - Sports

    • Jim was the first two-time African American Pennsylvania high school state heavyweight wrestling champion, a star football running back at Syracuse University, and the first two-time NCAA heavyweight national champion. Later, he was a star running back for the Boston Patriots (now the New England Patriots)

  • Andy Warhol - Arts ​​

    • Andy was an American artist and filmmaker who kicked off the popular and iconic pop art style that we know today. The original purpose of his artwork is said to have been a commentary on commercial culture in America. Many of his artworks are displayed in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

  • Edward Abbey - The Environment 

    • Born in Indiana, Pa., Edward was an author who frequently wrote of environmental issues. He advocated strongly for environmental preservation specifically in Western America. He often wrote about his love for nature. His novel The Monkey Wrench Gang inspired a change in some environmental activism, the advocacy group EarthFirst! being a prime example of the novel’s inspiration.

  • Ida Tarbell - Education

    • Ida was a teacher, writer, and investigative journalist, the role she is most known for. She was one of the leading muckrakers during the Progressive Era, exposing many of the issues in the rising oil industry. Her writing is noted to have been easy to digest for any type of reader.

  • Chris Catalfamo - Human Rights

    • Chris, an Indiana resident and former St. Vincent's College history professor, was said to be the "catalyst" for the transformation of the ​former Second Baptist Church into the Blairsville Underground Railroad History Center. The history center is a walking and self-driving tour through Indiana County, educating the public on Blairsville's effort to help African Americans flee enslavement through underground railroads.

2017 Inductees:

  • Jeff Kelly - Arts and Music​​

    • Jeff was a renowned local musician that pursued a career across many musical genres. Originally a rock-n-roll player, he eventually switched to performing solo folk music. After experiencing Chicago's rich blue's traditions, he was inspired to become a self-taught historian and interpreter of blues in the tradition of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters among other classic performers. Jeff incorporated their style into his shows and received many local and regional awards for the quality of his work.​

  • Rachel Carson - The Environment 

    • Rachel was a marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.  Silent Spring described the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment.  The book received other accolades, including an edition with an introduction written by Al Gore and being designated a National Historical Landmark by the American Chemical Society. 

  • Dr. Irwin Marcus - Education

    • Dr. Irwin Marcus Emeritus Professor of History at IUP.  He taught at the university for over 35 years, developed the first course of “working class history” in the state, served on numerous thesis and doctoral committees, organized conferences that received national attention and was a mentor to thousands of students throughout the years.​

  • Clara Roberts- Human Rights

    • Clara was an up and coming human rights advocate who worked on social justice causes, organizing events for gender equality and reproductive justice.  She was also involved in political campaigns for candidates that supported progressive causes. At the time of her tragic and untimely death at age 24, she was preparing to attend New York University’s School of Law to pursue a degree in law that promoted social justice.​

  • Education - Lucy Donnelly

  • Sports - Bernice Gera

  • Human Rights- Marilyn McCusker

  • Environment - Peggy Clark

  • Arts - Abby Morris

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