Monthly Meetings - 2024

Translations from the 1794 Business Diary of Johannes Markley, Blacksmith—a    primary source document about life in late 18th century New Hanover Township.

Bob Wood

Thursday, May 16,  2024,  7:30pm

Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, Pennsylvania

Bob Wood has continued studying and translating the Markley diaries and he will present his new findings at the May meeting of the Historians.  Bob will high-light some translations from the business Diary of Johannes Markley that shed light on life and wide-spread business practices at that time. In addition to all manner of local trade, by 1794, Johannes Markley had established a thriving business partnership with his brother Abraham in Charleston SC, shipping south tons of ironwork and getting back such things as indigo, rice, hides, and money. His manufacturing and retail trade made him one of the richest and most influential people in the township. In 1802 he erected a magnificent Federal style house which stands today as the club house of the Bella Visa Golf Course. An immense barn also stands there, now used as an event space.

 The Markley Iron works was located on the previous site of Henry Antes’ father, Philip Frederick Antes,’ tavern and plantation.  The 1884 Markley Freundschaft notes, “May 31, 1777, Abraham Markley purchased of William Antes a tract of 116 acres in New Hanover Township  (Wm. Antes was  married to Abraham’s daughter Christina [b.1736]) . May 14, 1782, he sold this to his son, Benjamin Markley , who in 1794…sold 100acres of the tract in connection with other land to his brother John Markley.”

One of John Markley’ seven children, Maria, married Enos Benner, of Sumneytown, well known publisher of the Bauern Freund newspaper as well as numerous books and pamphlets.

The diary books themselves contain some 700 pages of personal notes and financial records penned by Markley in vernacular German.  The pages give an unquestionable record of who’s who in the Fagleysville area in 1794, as well as details of their lives and the goods they purchased.

A mile from the Goschenhoppen Historians restored Antes House in Upper Frederick Township, if someone needed such things as apple trees, lime, indigo, shoe leather, saw mill parts, axes, and any manner of blacksmith work in 1794, Johannes Markley (1760-1820) was the man to see. 

Special Event

Spring Open House of the Goschenhoppen Museums at Red Men's Hall

Sunday April 14, 2024

Gathering 1pm

Open House 1:30 to 4pm

 

Be sure to reserve the date of Sunday, April 14, 2024 for the “Spring Open House of the Goschenhoppen Museums” at the historic 1907 Red Men’s Hall, which will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

We will gather at 1:00 p.m. in the second floor Auditorium for organ music played on the 1864 Pomplitz Pump Organ by Mr. Gordon Gerhart. Next will be the Welcome and Orientation and “A Short History of the Goschenhoppen Historians, Red Men’s Hall and the Tohickon Tribe #386  of the Improved Order of Red Men” by Edward Johnson, President of the Goschenhoppen Historians. There will also be some light  refreshments to enjoy.

Then, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., visitors can explore, at their leisure, the four levels of Red Men’s Hall to see all that our Museum headquarters has to offer. The Folklife Museum and Library on the third floor will be open for you to learn more about life in the Goschenhoppen Region in years past.  See the many exhibits and stop by the Library to learn more about Henry Antes and the 1736 Antes House Plantation, the Goschenhoppen Historians’ other historic property and home of the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival. Also in the “parlor” of the Folklife Museum, Gordon Gerhart will provide music on our 1830 John Ziegler Parlor Organ, which was built locally in Skippack, PA. In the second floor Auditorium, be sure to inspect the various paintings of the Goschenhoppen region and skim the titles of a selection of books available for sale from the Goschenhoppen Historians on the table. A docent in the Country Store Museum on the first floor will welcome you to come on in and browse the vast selection of items, both unusual and mundane, representative of items that could be found in a country store in the region in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Finally, you will not want to miss the opportunity to visit the Blacksmith Shop in the basement level of the building, located just off the meeting room.  A recreation of an authentic blacksmith shop, you see for yourself the “tools of the trade” that at one time was so important to the residents of the area.

Come and engage with members of the Goschenhoppen Historians and learn more about our Museums and Collections on “Opening Day” for the Museums for to the 2024 Season.  The Country Store and Folklife Museum will be open regularly the second and third Sunday each month through the end of October. Special tours of the Museum or the Goschenhoppen Historians’ historic Frederick Antes House in Fredrick can always be arranged by contacting the office at 215-234-8953 or redmens_hall@goschenhoppen.org.

April Monthly Meeting

Ed Johnson

Thursday, April 18th, 7:30 PM at Red Men’s Hall

 

“Lotteries in Early American History: Funding Public Projects”

 

When we think of lotteries today, what comes to mind are such games as PICK 4, CASH 4 LIFE, and MEGA MILLIONS. According to Pennsylvania’s lottery website, the various games have generated more than $22.6 billion to fund senior centers, low-cost prescription drugs, free transit and reduced-fare shared rides, a property tax/rent rebate program, and long-term living services. During the colonial period and the years of the early republic, lotteries were used for very different purposes. Local and provincial/state governments as well as private citizens and companies used lotteries to fund a wide range of construction projects. These included supplying the Jamestown settlement, an artillery battery to protect Philadelphia, the Continental Army, and the Union Canal. Colleges (Dickinson, Harvard, and Yale among them) and churches got in on the action. Local examples include the Perkiomen Bridge at Collegeville, a church at Hereford, and the “Sumney-town School-house.”

 

Ed Johnson, President of the Historians, will present an illustrated talk, “Lotteries in Early American History: Funding Public Projects,” for our April program. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 in the second-floor public hall of Red Men’s Hall in Green Lane. Light refreshments and our usual camaraderie will follow the program.

 

March Monthly Meeting

Bob Wood

Thursday, March 21st, 7:30 PM at Red Men’s Hall

 

Our March meeting will feature a presentation by Bob Wood on the development and evolution of the kitchen range.  Bob’s program traces the shift from hearth cooking to the almost universal acceptance of kitchen stoves by the end of the nineteenth century. It was wood and then coal burning kitchen stoves that reoriented family life in the Pennsylvania German homes of the Upper Perkiomen Valley from the heated stove room to the ever expanding kitchen.  

The impact of kitchen stoves on family life has been, it seems, one of the least examined of the many innovative nineteenth century technologies. Mr. Wood notes that perhaps domestic practices and stove evolution received so little attention because historians have long considered men’s involvements, practices, and interests more important than domestic chores that were mainly centered on and practiced by women.

Bob traces the slow evolution of early heating appliances from the “5 plate” jamb stoves to the first “ten plate” stoves in the late 18th century that combined an enclosed fire box with a primitive oven. With rapidly expanding casting technologies in the early nineteenth century a multitude of stove designs became available. In the four years between 1835 and 1839 alone, 102 patents were issued for various cook stove designs.

Following the Civil War, kitchen stoves grew ever larger and more “beautiful” becoming central to domestic life. Not without stress and trouble, however, the skills and artistry of cooking adapted and evolved with the stoves. Many of the Historians  can well remember growing up with wood or coal burning kitchen ranges and reminisce about coming in on a cold winter’s day and warming their hands and souls in front of the stove. Those days are echoed in today’s gas and pellet fueled fireplace inserts that serve no cooking function but do provide auxiliary heat to the home and, as before, warmth to the soul.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, March 21st at 7:30 pm at Red Men’s Hall, our headquarters at 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29) in Green Lane. Join us to enjoy Mr. Wood’s illustrated Power Point program exploring the evolution of cast iron cooking stoves. As always, the presentation will be followed by our Kumme Esse, an opportunity to discuss the subject matter with the presenter and other attendees, while partaking of light seasonal refreshments, amid an atmosphere of camaraderie. Guests are always welcome at Historians’ meetings. 

February Monthly Meeting, From Hearth to Cook Stove by Bob Wood

February Monthly Meeting (rescheduled from January)

Thursday, February 15, 7:30 PM at Red Men’s Hall

The upcoming 2024 Folk Festival theme of “Von Heem Grieg” meaning “Get from Home,” encompasses both possessions and knowledge handed down from one generation to the next as well as within the broader community. In keeping with this theme for the January meeting we can think beyond material things passed on from our forebears to those familial lessons and precepts that may have guided our lives and that we have attempted to pass on to our children and grandchildren. In many cases the memory may be illustrated by a material object while in others it may be best illustrated by a story we can share with the group.

This is a slightly different approach from past February meetings where we often brought in objects of unknown origin or purpose to share. Focusing on this more personal theme, any displayed items may be common or uncommon, new or old, useful or simply serve as a gateway to our memory of home and family. Examples from my own life are the love of libraries as a master key to anything we wanted to know, anywhere we wanted to go , or see, or hear, instilled in us by my parents. Some of my fondest memories are of visiting the Logan Public Library with my mother, and dragging a little red wagon up the road with our three children for the weekly Bookmobile visit.  My mother, born in Wales, came to this country with her parents when young, but carrying on many Welsh food traditions, then  passed on down to us. We still use my grandmother’s dough mixing bowl to make our Welsh cookies, a recipe and process passed on to our children and several of the Historians over the years.

Bring your family lessons and stories to the February meeting, with or without your own little red wagon and share with the rest of us. Among other Kumme Esse treats you will surely discover some Welsh cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Meetings - 2023

December Christmas Meeting

Joshua Fink

Thursday, December 21, 2023. 7:30 PM at Red Men’s Hall

 

Once again Joshua Fink will dip into his vast knowledge of things Christmassy and present a humorous

and thoughtful program, including carol singing and other songs of the season accompanied by Gordon

Gerhart on the Pomplitz Organ. How better than to follow up a fun and interesting meeting with our

traditional Holiday Kumme Esse, provided by members with treats of the season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Meetings

 

When Moravian Bethlehem Changed to a More Open Society

Christopher Malone

Thursday, November 16, 2023

 

The November meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature a presentation by Christopher Malone on the profound changes that occurred in Moravian Bethlehem over its first century of existence. Between its founding in 1740 and 1845 the community metamorphosed from a closed-form of church-controlled communalism to an entirely open society. As proposed by Mr. Malone the change was precipitated by the outside world’s direct influence on the Moravian’s missionary efforts towards Native Americans. Bethlehem went from an economy based on supporting their missionary goals to one that focused on pleasing outsiders through the goods and services they provided to visitors.

 

Growing up in the Lehigh Valley, Mr. Malone developed a passion for its history and an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage found in the art, architecture, and folk customs of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He followed that passion with degrees in Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University. While volunteering at the Philadelphia History Museum, he began working at the Moravian Historical Society and entered the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture, Mr. Malone studied the ways in which outside visitation affected Moravian material culture in the first one hundred years of Bethlehem’s history. His thesis, which won the E. McClung Fleming prize for the most distinguished thesis in the Winterthur Program class of 2021, is the basis for his presentation. Mr. Malone is currently the curator at the American Swedish Historical Museum where he is responsible for the museum’s collections, exhibitions, archival materials, and library.

 

The meeting will take place on Thursday, November 16 at 7:30 pm at Red Men’s Hall, the Historians’ headquarters at 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29) in Green Lane. Join the Historians to enjoy Mr. Malone’s beautifully illustrated Power Point program detailing the changes that occurred over Bethlehem’s first century. Recalling that Henry Antes of local fame was very influential in the original settlement and design of Bethlehem and other Moravian settlements this program holds special significance for the Goschenhoppen Historians and this region. As always, the formal program will be followed by a Kumme Esse, an opportunity to discuss the subject matter with the presenter and other attendees, while partaking of light seasonal refreshments, amid an atmosphere of camaraderie. There is no charge for admission, and guests are always welcome at Historians’ meetings. More information at 215-2324-4119.

October Monthly Meeting

Spook Night with Charlie Adams

at the Henry Antes House

October 28, 2023 (Note date change). 7:30 PM 

 

We will forego the regular October meeting night to celebrate the October full moon with “Charlie

Adams and Schpuck Nacht at the Antes’ Plantation.” What better night to hear Charlie’s accounts of

unexplained happenings throughout the Goschenhoppen region and beyond? Perhaps some of the

Antes’ descendants who died under mysterious circumstances will choose that evening to roam the

plantation. The house will be open and the program will take place in the Stage seating area with a large

bonfire to keep spirits at a respectful distance. In case of foul weather the evening’s festivities will shift

to Red Men’s Hall in Green Lane at the same time. Goschenhoppen benches will be available at the

plantation. Bring your own lawn chairs and a flashlight for more comfort.

 

Who Invented Butter Pecan? and
Other Flavorful Ice Cream Facts

Candace Perry

Thursday, September 21, 2023

 

Who doesn’t like ice cream, especially Butter pecan, a favorite of the Pennsylvania Dutch?  But who invented Butter pecan? The answer to that and many other questions about one of America’s favorite treats will be divulged by Candace Perry at September’s meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians. Ms. Perry, Curator of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center, is one of the region’s premier presenters and she has compiled an interesting and fun filled program to start off the Historians program year.

 Seems no one knows just when ice cream was first invented but the Persian elite were enjoying it more than two thousand years ago.  Gelato, French Ice Cream, Neapolitan, you name it, all are derived from the same basic process. Ms. Perry explores the history of Ice Cream with humorous side trips including America’s prohibition era, and homemade frozen treats.

Join the Goschenhoppen Historians on Thursday September 21 at 7:30 PM at Red Men’s Hall, 116   Gravel Pike (Route 29) in Green Lane for an enjoyable evening with Candace Perry. The meeting is open to all and seasonal treats alongside Butter pecan ice cream will be served during the Kumme Esse (social hour) following Ms. Perry’s presentation. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

Restoration of the Daniel Hiester House in Sumneytown

Lisa Minardi

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

 

The May meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature a Power Point presentation on the restoration of the Hiester House. Built in 1757 for Daniel and Catharine Hiester, the house is located on the east side of Route 63 (Sumneytown Pike) just outside the village partway up the long hill heading to Harleysville and has long entranced passersby with its beautiful architecture and setting.  Lisa Minardi, the Executive Director of Historic Trappe, and husband Phil Bradley, acquired the property and undertook the six year effort to restore the house to its former glory, and glorious it is. 

Lisa’s presentation will show how the later 19th and 20th century changes and “improvements” were removed, allowing the discovery of many original features in the process. Outbuildings such as the summer kitchen have also been restored to their period and surrounding gardens are in the long process of recovery and restoration. Every effort was taken to replicate the materials and construction techniques of the mid-18th century in the restoration, and her visual record of the work is very complete and interesting.

Join the Historians Thursday evening, May 18, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane to witness the metamorphosis of the Daniel Hiester House from near oblivion to a local, award winning, and period treasure.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program. Further information at 215-234-4119

Construction Records of Red Men's Hall (1907)

Ed Johnson

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

 

The April meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature an interesting presentation on the construction of Red Men’s Hall, the Historians’ headquarters in Green Lane, by Ed Johnson, President of the Historians. When the Historians acquired Red Men’s Hall from the Tohickon Tribe, No. 386, of the Improved Order of Red Men, the Historians acquired all of the local chapter’s records as well.  These included membership rolls, meeting minutes, and ledgers. Also included were the complete and detailed construction records for the building which was built in 1907 and 1908. From the incorporation of the Red Men’s Hall Association to the acquisition of the property, from the cornerstone to the bricks, from the tin ceilings to the fire escapes, Ed’s well illustrated talk will examine the construction records of this fascinating building. 

April is also the month in which the Goschenhoppen Historians traditionally present their Awards of Merit to one or more individuals for their contributions studying, preserving, or teaching about the folk culture of southeastern Pennsylvania, the Goschenhoppen region and its principal settlers, the Pennsylvania Germans.  Award ceremonies, like so many other activities, were interrupted by COVID-19 and the Historians are delighted to be once again honoring those who have been so important to the organization’s mission. This year two people will be so honored in a brief ceremony preceding the evening’s program. 

President Ed Johnson has been excavating the contents of the vault to develop a fascinating tale of the building of one of Green Lane’s iconic buildings. Join the Historians Thursday evening, April 20, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane to hear Ed’s tale and discover this year’s recipients of the Award of Merit.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program. Further information at 215-234-4119

George W. Bockius’ Art of the Perkiomen Valley

Susan Bockius

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

 

The March meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature a captivating presentation on the life and work of local artist George W. Bockius. Moving into the Perkiomen Valley in 1951 with his young family, George Bockius focused his artistic talents on recording the many remaining colonial era homes and farms scattered throughout the region. He loved the Valley and painted its hills and streams, its roads and buildings, with joy and inspiration. While he also recorded scenes from other areas, it was the Perkiomen Valley and its history that most enthralled him and he documented its beauty for all time.

Like many artists Mr. Bockius at times turned his talents to more prosaic, and remunerative, endeavors as a sign painter. The Green lane Fire Company and many local businesses advertised their mission or services with his graphic efforts. Susan Bockius, the artist’s daughter and Upper Perk graduate, has developed an interesting and colorful Power Point presentation on her Father’s work, with emphasis on his representations of the Perkiomen Valley. An artist herself in other genres, Ms. Bockius is an interesting informant on her Father’s art.

Join the Goschenhoppen Historians for Ms. Bockius’ artful presentation at 7:30 PM, on Thursday, March 16 at Red Men's Hall, the Historians’ headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program. In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we request that you be prepared to wear a mask if so inclined. Further information at 215-234-9252 

PROGRAM NOTES (through July, 2023)

April: The Construction of Red Men’s Hall by Ed Johnson, President, Goschenhoppen Historians

When the Goschenhoppen Historians acquired Red Men’s Hall from Tohickon Tribe No. 386, the Red Men left all their records in our care. These included membership rolls, meeting minutes, and ledgers. Also included were the construction records for the building which was built in 1907 and 1908. From the incorporation of the Red Men’s Hall Association to the acquisition of the property, from the cornerstone to the bricks, from the tin ceilings to the fire escapes, Ed’s illustrated talk will examine the construction records of this fascinating building. 

 

May: Restoration of the Hiester House: A detailed visual record, by Lisa Minardi

As preparation for June’s on-sit visit Lisa will present a detailed history of the restoration efforts to return the Hiester House to its former glory and outfit it with amazing period pieces. Several years ago we visited the house in the early stages of restoration when much still was to be learned about its original construction and details. Lisa’s Power Point program is a wonderful way to understand the efforts taken to restore the home in preparation for actually visiting it the following month.

 

June: A return On-Site Visit to the Hiester House

Lisa Minardi and friends will host our visit to the lovingly and beautifully restored Daniel Hiester House, recently featured in The Magazine Antiques. Those who attended the first on-site to the property while it was in an early stage of exploratory restoration work will appreciate the tremendous effort that Lisa, her husband Philip Bradley, and the many tradesmen involved,  expended over five years to create the showpiece we will have the pleasure of visiting. 

 

July: Save the Date—July 27, 2023

( A special, additional on-site visit in 2023!)

On a special evening, the 4th Thursday of July, we will be the guests of the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center in Pennsburg, to enjoy a special exhibit, “ A Culinary Journey from Germany to Pennsylvania” opening just a few days before our visit. Watch for further details in subsequent editions of this Newsletter

Local Wheelwrights and Carriage Makers

From the Colonial Period to the Early 20th Century

Rodney Kulp

 

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

 

 

The February meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature a presentation on local wheelwrights and carriage makers. Rodney Kulp has assembled an extensive review of his family’s six generations of wheelwrights and other local carriage makers. The last Kulp Carriage Works, located at the corner of Little and Church Roads in New Hanover Township, is still there in a community once known as Anise, but no longer even appearing on maps of the area.

Following his family’s endeavors in the wheel making trade, from 1765 until closing its doors in 1931, Mr. Kulp has compiled an interesting story of the their efforts and the local wheelwright/carriage trade across more than two-and-a-half centuries. His research has uncovered many details of a trade once omnipresent and important to the well-being and progress of our growing nation and world.

Join the Historians for an informative evening Thursday, February 16, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program. In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we request that you be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119

Broom Making

An Early American Craft Still In Great Demand

John Paul Warren

Local Broom Maker

 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

The Goschenhoppen Historians November meeting will feature a presentation on American broom making by local broom maker John Paul Warren,  who carries on what had been a thriving local industry right up into the early twentieth century. Although commonly believed that the modern style flat broom has been with us from antiquity, the truth is far different. Brooms of one sort or another have been utilized to clean out habitable spaces for as long as we have lived in them. But, such brooms were commonly made from a variety of materials, from bundles of twigs and palm leaves, to finely split branch wood.

More than anything else what separates the modern broom from all of its predecessors is the use of broom corn for the bristles. Ironically, broom corn isn’t even a type of corn but a member of the sorghum family, a species of grass commonly grown as an animal feed and other modern industrial uses. We know it more familiarly as a type of millet, a common cereal grain. Native to the African continent it was first brought to the American colonies by none other than Benjamin Franklin who noted its use in France and felt it held considerable promise for use here in America. Introduced into New England it sparked Yankee ingenuity and by the very end of the 18th century a rapidly growing domestic industry.

Broom maker John Warren relates these and much more about broom making in his most interesting presentation  along with many examples of brooms, both new and old, varieties of broom corn, and a few of the tools he uses to turn a bundle of sorghum stems and an ash dowel into a modern flat broom. Mr. Warren knows his business, from raising acres of his own broom corn to experimenting with dyes to permanently color designer brooms for the particular homemaker, turning an indispensable tool into a work of art. If you or any family members or friends worked in the broom making industry in the Upper Perkiomen Valley please make it a point to attend this meeting and share your mementoes and stories with the rest of the attendees. What was once a thriving local industry is now becoming lost to memory?

Join the Goschenhoppen Historians on Thursday, November 17, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program. In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we request that you be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119

General Washington's Command Staff

in Montgomery County -1777

Scott Houting

Executive Director of the Peter Wentz Farmstead

and retired Valley Forge National Park ranger.

 

Thursday October 20, 2022

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

The October meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature an in-depth review
of General Washington’s command staff during the Continental Army’s 1777
Philadelphia campaign, particularly during Washington’s stay at the Peter Wentz farm.
The amply illustrated Power point program will be presented by Scott Houting,
Executive Director of the Peter Wentz Farmstead, and retired Valley Forge National
Park Ranger.
After a brief introduction on the 1777 Philadelphia campaign and the Continental Army’s
movements around Montgomery County following the Battle of Brandywine, Mr. Houting
will focus on Washington’s aide-de-camp staff, and his military secretary, Robert
Hanson Harrison. In addition to his military staff General Washington had numerous
enslaved and civilian staff that the speaker will touch on as well.
The Continental Army’s movements around Montgomery County have been well
documented in books and by other speakers, but another fascinating part of that story is
Washington’s “military family,” and who accompanied him throughout eight long years of
war. Mr. Houting’s background and experience make him uniquely qualified to relate
that side of the story of our successful revolution from the tyranny of a colonial power.
Join the Goschenhoppen Historians on Thursday, October 20, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's
Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane. As always,
the public is invited and there is no fee to attend. Light refreshments will be served at the
conclusion of the evening's program. In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we
request that you be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119

The Muhlenberg Parsonage

Lisa Minardi

 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

Join us for a presentation by Lisa Minardi, executive director of Historic Trappe, about the Muhlenberg Parsonage--built in 1745 for newlyweds Henry and Mary Muhlenberg. Now owned by Historic Trappe, the parsonage is undergoing extensive research in preparation for its restoration. Learn what new discoveries are being made as layers of stucco and plaster are peeled away.

 

The meeting will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program.  Further information at 215-234-4119 or on the Historians’ website: www.goschenhoppen.org

In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we request that you be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119 or on the Historians’ website: www.goschenhoppen.org

 

 

Educated Pigs & Mrs. Wafflebach:

Shows & Show People In 19th Century Southeastern Pennsylvania

 

Candace Perry

 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

Spring is coming!  One of the sure signs was the announced arrival of the first traveling shows of the year. Southeastern Pennsylvania has a vibrant history of traveling entertainment in the 19th century—from a few show people traveling from town to town in a wagon to circuses and menageries. Local folks didn’t have to look too far for a bit of fun.  The April meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature a fun-filled look back to earlier forms of entertainment, presented by Candace Perry, curator of collections at the Schwenckfelder Heritage Center.

 

Throughout most of the 19th century, rural America enjoyed entertainment offered by traveling shows.  Originally very small, sometimes no more than a single person, they evolved into circuses, vaudeville and burlesque shows, and magic lantern extravaganzas.  By the time of the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago a new form of entertainment, uniquely American, was created: The American Traveling show.  Complete with a midway offering many forms of entertainment, from the hilarious to the grotesque in one central location.  Their very size and need for large paying audiences limited such endeavors to larger urban areas and fostered the creation of permanent State and County fairgrounds where they could be set up and run for a week or more.  Through all the growth and evolution, however, smaller shows continued to ply the byways of southeastern Pennsylvania right into the early 20th century.

 

Come on along with Candace Perry and meet funambulators, voltigeurs, and all sorts of clever animals who trod the boards and country roads throughout our region. The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program.  Further information at 215-234-4119 or on the Historians’ website: www.goschenhoppen.org

In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we request that you be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119 or on the Historians’ website: www.goschenhoppen.org

 

Early 1900’ˢ Postcard Tour of the Upper Perkiomen Valley

Aaron Heckler

Thursday, March 17, 2022

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

The March meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature an early 1900’ˢ auto tour along the main thoroughfare of the Upper Perkiomenville Valley, State Route 29, more familiarly known as Gravel Pike. We will travel from Perkiomenville through Green Lane and the three boroughs to Palm, viewing noteworthy buildings and sites along the way, via vintage postcards from that era, now a century or more distant. Aaron Heckler, noted book antiquarian and postcard collector, will be our guide.

Mr. Heckler is known throughout the area for his numerous postcard based tours of Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, and Lehigh counties.  See pictures of the service stations and train stations, hotels and schools, stores, factories, and parks along our route.  Many are now gone, existing only in our memories, while quite a few of the buildings are still recognizable even when repurposed for current uses. A great opportunity to reminisce and share stories related to the images. For those new to the area it is a chance to appreciate what a different community we had a century ago.

Come join the Goschenhoppen Historians for a nostalgic evening touring the byways of yesteryear. The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program. 

In recognition of the continuing Covid pandemic we request that you be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119.

Corn - A Uniquely American Grain

Bob Wood

Thursday, February 17, 2022

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

The February meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature a richly illustrated history of corn by noted local historian Robert Wood. This coming August the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival, postponed for two years by COVID, will feature corn as the central theme and Mr. Wood’s program will kick off the Historians’ preparations for the long awaited resumption of a highlight of regional events.  

While corn is indigenous to the Americas the word has been used throughout history to refer to other cereal grains such as barley (biblical), oats (Scotland and Ireland), and wheat (England). Although the original wild forms have long been extinct, native Americans from Chile in the south to northern Canada had developed and were cultivating many varieties, including sweet corn and popcorn, by the time of arrival of Europeans in the late 1400’s.

Indian “maize” was quickly adopted by European settlers, most particularly by the early Germans for whom it became a staple of life for livestock as well as the populace. Demonstrating the primacy of corn in the Dutchman’s life, Richard Beam’s The Comprehensive Pennsylvania German Dictionary lists no fewer than 140 Dutch terms related to corn, its culture and use. And around 1800 a Chester County writer described the local diet thusly: “Mush and milk constituted the common everyday supper for the farmers’ families; the mush was made about the middle of the afternoon so as to boil thoroughly, and then the pot was raised a few links higher to keep it warm until suppertime.”

Several centuries later and corn is no less an important part of life today here in the Upper Perkiomen region.  Join the Goschenhoppen historians to hear the fascinating history of corn as presented by Mr. Wood. The meeting will start at 7:30 PM on Thursday, February 17 at Red Men's Hall, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program, and you’ll be able to savor that quintessentially American treat, POPCORN, while enjoying Bob’s detailed presentation.

 In observance of the continuing Covid pandemic please be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119 or on the Historians’ website: www.goschenhoppen.org

Santa and His Reindeer: A History

Joshua Fink

Thursday, December 16 th, 2021

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen…”  These familiar names of four of Santa’s reindeer have been an inseparable part of American Christmas since they were first penned by Clement C. Moore in his 1823 poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”  And Rudolph, the “most famous reindeer of all,” didn’t become the ninth member of Santa’s team until his creation in 1939 by Robert May for Montgomery Ward in 1939. However, the concept of reindeer being connected with Christmas goes much farther back into history. 

The December meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will be treated to an informative, illustrated history of Santa’s reindeer by Joshua Fink, Board member, and local historian.  Mr. Fink, an avid collector, and researcher of Christmas lore and artifacts has prepared an interesting overview of reindeer from a scientific point of view, their connection to pagan mythology, the first appearance of Santa’s sleigh and his reindeer in literature, and the origins of the names of the reindeer. You can also hear details about the interesting backstory of the creation of the most famous reindeer of all, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” both in the written word and in song.

Come join the Goschenhoppen Historians at their December meeting for Mr. Fink’s illustrated presentation of the History of Santa and His Reindeer. The meeting will be held on Thursday, December 16,  2021, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend. Delightful holiday treats will follow the program at “Kumme Esse,” where attendees can enjoy homemade fare, delight in each other's company, and make merry.  In observance of the continuing Covid pandemic please be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119.

Harvest Home Celebration - The Original Pennsylvania German Thanksgiving

Bob Gerhart

Thursday November 18th, 2021

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

From long before President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863, Pennsylvania Germans throughout southeastern Pennsylvania had expressed their gratitude to God for another year of harvests to sustain their families and communities.  “Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home” has been heard in area churches for more than 150 years.  For much of this time it was the musical accompaniment for elaborate church displays of garden produce, orchard fruits, and sheaves and shocks of the field at “Harvest Home” services.  Communal observances and giving thanks for successful harvests have been celebrated throughout the world from earliest times. The concept of Thanksgiving is long lived. The day of Harvest Home service was a highlight of the fall season in Pennsylvania Dutch communities.

 

The November meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature an illustrated presentation of the customs and practices of harvest Home services in our region by popular local historian Bob Gerhart.  For twenty years Mr. Gerhart was pastor of the Hereford Mennonite church (now Butter Valley Community Church) in Bally; prior to that he served churches in the Quakertown area.  All of these observed the tradition of Harvest Home.  As a youngster growing up in the Perkiomen Valley, Bob also saw the importance of Harvest Home among the Lutheran and Reformed churches of many of his relatives in the region.

 

Come join the Goschenhoppen Historians at their November meeting for Mr. Gerhart’s illustrated presentation of the significance of the original “Pennsylvania Dutch Thanksgiving.” The meeting will be held on Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, the public is invited and there is no fee to attend.  Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening's program.  In observance of the continuing Covid pandemic please be prepared to wear a mask. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

Casting Cannons for the American Forces in the Revolutionary War: Antes' Family Involvement

Robert Wood

Thursday February 20, 2020

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

At the outset of the Revolution the small number of artillery pieces held by American forces had been imported from Europe and there was no American production of heavy armaments.  It was obvious to both sides of the conflict that without additional artillery the American cause would be seriously handicapped and England very successfully blocked the importation of any such arms for revolutionary forces.  Local historian Robert Wood will present an interesting program documenting Pennsylvania's iron furnace's efforts to address that imbalance at the Goschenhoppen Historians' February meeting.

It was clear that needed artillery would have to be cast here in the colonies to overcome the British embargo. But, it also quickly became evident that there weren't any iron furnaces in Pennsylvania, or throughout the colonies, with the knowledge and experience to produce such armaments.  Frederick Antes, first born son of immigrant Henry Antes, had considerable experience in gunsmithing with the Moravians and so was tapped by the Committee of Safety to be chief founder for a while at Warwick and Reading iron furnaces. A younger brother, William Antes, was also involved with both furnaces throughout the war effort.  Unfortunately, neither the Antes' nor the furnace’s master founders knew anything of casting large cannons. But they applied their patriotic spirit and ardor to the job at hand and began attempts to make useable cannons. However, getting their new ordinance to pass the rigorous proof testing as per contract was another story. 

Mr. Wood will present the compelling story behind these efforts as our infant nation struggled to maintain its independence from Great Britain's far superior military presence.  His presentation is well supported by a Power Point presentation highlighting local iron furnaces and their cannon casting efforts. The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2020, at 7:30 PM at Red Men's Hall, the Historians headquarters, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  

 

 

Past Programs

Bring Your Treasures to Share

Search the cupboards, basement and atttic to find anything related to the growing, harvesting, shucking and utilization of corn, our 2020 Festival theme.

 

Thursday January 16, 2019

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

A History of the Christmas Putz

Candace Perry

Curator, Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center

 

Thursday December 19, 2019

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

Hiwwe wie Driwwe - Part 2

An exploration of the Roots of our Pennsylvania Dutch Culture

Continued from the September meeting, watch the remainder of this interesting documentary on the Pennsylvania Germans.

 

Thursday November 21, 2019

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

Quilting: Then and Now

Linda Szapacs

Thursday October 17, 2019

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

Noted Quilter and Goschenhoppen Historians member, Linda Szapacs, will present a beautifully illustrated program with historic quilts from her own and the Historians’ collection and modern quilts of her own and other contemporary quilters.  She will explore the roots of quilt making and early and more recent methods and materials. Many quilts, new and old will be on display. Linda is a talented teacher and weaves an interesting story.

As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

Hiwwe wie Driwwe

An exploration of the Roots of our Pennsylvania Dutch Culture

Thursday September 19, 2019

7:30pm Red Men's Hall, Green Lane PA

 

The September meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians will feature part 1 of a documentary film exploring the roots of our Pennsylvania Dutch culture and language in the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany.  Inspired by Berks County native, and folk musician, Doug Madenford’s quest for his roots, German film makers Benjamin Wagener and Christian Schega produced a documentary film, “Hiwwe wie Driwwe,” loosely translated as: Over Here the same as Over There.

Narrated by Doug Madenford, the film explores current Pennsylvania Dutch culture and language in southeastern Pennsylvania and regional language and culture in the Palatinate, finding large similarities despite some 300 years of separation.  The film briefly details the genesis of the migration of many Germanic subjects to the Pennsylvania wilderness in the early 18th century and the endurance of the folk culture they brought with them that created what came to be called Pennsylvania Dutch, both culture and language.

Filmed in both Germany and America with subtitles in English when Dutch or German is spoken, it shows an interesting amalgam of cultural endurance and evolution.  At 91 minutes long it will be shown over two Historians’ meetings, the first in September, and the final segment in November. Join us on Thursday evening September 19, 2019 at 7:30 PM at the Historians’ headquarters in Red Men’s Hall, 116 Gravel Pike (Route 29), in Green Lane.  As always, there is no fee to attend and light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the evening’s program. Further information at 215-234-4119

 

June On-Site Meeting: 1736 Antes House

 

Bob Wood

Thursday, June 20th, 7:00pm (note on site meetings begin earlier to maximize daylight)

Antes Plantation, Frederick, PA

Our June monthly meeting is always one to look forward to! This year's on-site meeting is at our own Henry Antes House. The main level of the house is open during our Annual Folk Festival but this is a rare chance to tour the house from top to bottom. There is no electricity in the house so be sure to bring a flashlight. Free and open to the public.

NOTE: this event is not at Red Men's Hall - it is at the Antes Plantation, 318 Colonial Road, Perkiomenville.

 

 

Fraternal Societies:  Providing Valuable Services

 

Ed Johnson

Retired teacher and President of the Goschenhoppen Historians

Thursday, May 16th, 7:30pm

Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

 

Who was Henry Antes and why is he important in the history of the Goschenhoppen Region?

Bob Wood’s illustrated talk will develop the story of the Antes family in Germany and in early Pennsylvania. For the past fifty years, the Goschenhoppen Historians have devoted themselves to restoring the 1736 Henry Antes House and plantation in Upper Frederick Township, presently the site of the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival. Thanks to their efforts the house is now a National Historic Landmark. Much of his presentation will deal with the architecture and restoration of the Antes House. Few people in the very early Germanic settlement of Southeastern Pennsylvania (before 1750) were more noteworthy than Henry Antes for his work with religious, civic, and economic development of the region.

Bob Wood

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Red Men's Hall

216 Gravel Pike, Green Lane, PA

 

The Story Within Annie Funk's 1909 Page-A-Day Calendar:

In 1908 the Mennonite community sent a 1909 Page-A-Day Calendar to Annie Funk, serving as a missionary in India.  Each of the days was inscribed with a message of some sort from family and friends in the Hereford/Bally area of Goschenhoppen.  

Bob Gerhart

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

Hessian Soldiers In The American Revolution

Michael Jesberger

February 21st, 2019

Military historian Michael Jesberger will present a program on “British and Hessian Prisoners In Pennsylvania” at the February meeting of the Goschenhoppen Historians. His presentation will feature reproduction Hessian uniforms and equipment, journals, and eyewitness accounts to bring to life the experiences of British and German P.O.W.s held in southeastern Pennsylvania.

 

 

Christmas Meeting

December 20th,

Joshua Fink

Wetzel’s Mill Restoration and Museum Project: Illustrated presentation of the past, present, and future of the Wetzel Mill on Unami Creek.

Don Orcutt  

Thursday, October 18, 7:30 pm

Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA,

 

Late 18th Century In the Goschenhoppen Region Seen Through Recently Translated Blacksmith and Mercantile business Records

Robert Wood

Thursday, September 20, 2018, 7:30pm

Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

Early History of Old Goschenhoppen Church As Seen Through Manuscript Records of the Church and the Gaugler Family

Thursday April 19th, 2018

Del-Louise Moyer

A historian and Fraktur specialist

7:30 pm, Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

 

The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road:

Indian Trail to Highway of the New Republic

 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ed Johnson

Retired History Teacher and President of the Goschenhoppen Historians

7:30 pm, Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

How the Pretzel Survived Prohibition and Other Twisted Tales.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Candace Perry

Curator of Collections, Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center

7:30 pm, Red Men's Hall, Green Lane, PA

Bakeovens In The Goschenhoppen Region

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bob Wood

December 21st

Christmas Traditions on Vintage Postcards

Aaron Heckler

More Information

January 18th

Bring in Your Treasures to Share 

(theme to be announced)