The Cisek Family
Bill Cisek moved to Rockland/Van in August of 1977 when his dad transferred there with Quaker State. After graduating from Penn State, he moved to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne Law. It really wasn’t until Judge Oliver Lobaugh asked him to return to Venango County to clerk for him that he even considered coming back. After taking the Bar Exam in the summer of 2001, he moved back to Van with his wife, Jennifer. Jennifer, who grew up in rural North-central Pennsylvania, had been a Buyer for Kaufmann’s Department store based in downtown Pittsburgh. When his two-year clerkship was complete, he moved across the street to join Wilson and Thompson and became a partner in what is now Wilson, Thompson and Cisek in 2005. He “commuted” from Van until April 2008, when the Ciseks moved to their current home on Elk Street, in the heart of Franklin’s downtown.
Bill said there were probably two main factors for their move to Franklin: to be closer to work (Jennifer also works in Franklin at Seneca Printing/WS Packaging) and to be more a part of a community.
They purchased their home on Elk Street – right a crossed from “the Fountain” – because of the close proximity to work that this location provides – 287 step for Bill; 7 minutes for Jennifer. “The biggest surprise though was the true magic that living downtown offers – especially now that we have our son, Will,” Bill said.
“There is a sense that every festival is a celebration just for us. Light-up Night is Will’s night and he plans his party for months. We sit on our front porch and watch the flowers come in for May Mart and the multi-day building of the temporary city otherwise known as Applefest and the tear-down that happens in mere hours. We delight in the colored lights on the ice sculptures for Franklin on Ice and eat for hours at Taste of Franklin,” Bill said.
Even without the festivals though, there is abundant beauty in everyday Franklin life. The Ciseks look forward to seeing their favorite vendors each week at the Farmers Market or hearing the melodies coming from the Silver Cornet Band at the Bandstand or the outdoor music performers at the downtown restaurants. They watch older residents walk on the safety of the park sidewalks – or a young family having a picnic by the fountain. They anticipate a walk to Bella Cucina or Leonardo’s in the silence of the first big-snow of the season. And they find joy in visiting their friends at Edible Arrangements – Will’s favorite Franklin business!
“For us, everything about Franklin is special - there is a Franklin ‘Feeling’ that cannot be described – it just must be experienced,” Bill said.
Jennifer in particular remembers travelling through Franklin on her way to Penn State football games and thinking what a wonderful little town it was (even when stuck in Applefest traffic!). Little did she know that someday it would be the home where we would raise her family.
Bill said there is an overwhelming sense of community pride that touches every aspect of life in Franklin and draws people in. “Pride in the physical appearance of the houses and businesses. Pride in buying local and supporting our neighbors. Pride in an amazing arts community. Pride in a multi-denomination Ministerium working together for the common good. Pride in our schools and our kids. Pride in ‘showing-off’ our town with endless events that highlight what a great place Franklin is to visit, work and live.”
As a side note: we can recall watching the fireworks from Courtroom 1 on what we think was the very first Light-Up night on a Friday evening when Penny and Cliff Minnick got married a few doors down from where we live now!
According to Bill, Franklin is big enough to offer the conveniences of a bigger town (restaurants, shops, theatre) but small enough to remain a close-knit community. For the Cisek family especially, the advantage of having the park, the YMCA, and Central Elementary School within a two-minute walk, not to mention all the other amenities in the walkable downtown, is priceless.
“All of the things I talked about above - or maybe it is better to say, we like everything about Franklin!”