Our monthly meetings will resume in the fall.

Please join us at the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival August 12th and 13th.

 

 

 

June On-Site Meeting  6:30pm

The Muhlenberg Parsonage

Lisa Minardi

Historic Trappe

 

Thursday June 16th, 2022

6:30pm, 160 E. Seventh Avenue, Trappe

(parking information below)

 

Annually the June meeting is special as we leave the confines of Red Men’s Hall to venture “On-Site” to a location of exceptional historic interest. This year we have the wonderful opportunity to visit a mid-eighteenth century home in the very beginning of physical and archaeological research to determine its original form and eventual restoration to that condition. A month earlier, at our May meeting, we had the opportunity to learn about the history of the family for whom it was built and their role in colonial Pennsylvania and Lutheran history.  Lisa Minardi, Executive Director of Historic Trappe, presented a beautifully illustrated Power Point program introducing the Historians’ to the Muhlenberg Parsonage and now we have the opportunity to visit that on-going research and restoration effort.

 

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Muhlenberg Parsonage, built in 1745 and now owned by Historic Trappe. Shortly after their marriage in 1745, Henry and Mary Muhlenberg built and furnished a house in Trappe with funds provided by Mary’s father, Conrad Weiser. Located near Augustus Lutheran Church, the house served as both a parsonage and the Muhlenberg family’s home. Eight of their eleven children were born there before the Muhlenbergs moved to Philadelphia in 1761 (when they returned to Trappe in 1776, they lived in the now-restored house at 201 W. Main Street). Although humble by today’s standards, the parsonage was quite impressive in its day—built of stone, with multiple rooms, two stories, and an attic—much grander than the one-room log houses in which most early settlers lived. Thanks to a generous donor, the parsonage was recently acquired by Historic Trappe to ensure its long-term preservation. The three-acre property also includes an early root cellar, summer kitchen, and a small caretaker’s house. Investigations are now underway to determine a plan for restoring the parsonage to its original appearance. Fragments of the original roof’s oak rafters have been found re-used in the cellar, which indicates that it was framed in an early Germanic style (known as a liegender Stuhl). The original roof was steeply pitched and covered in either wood shingles or clay tiles; archaeological study will be needed to look for tile fragments. The process of removing non-original plaster and drywall on the inside of the house is also well underway and is revealing significant evidence of the original structure.
The Muhlenberg Parsonage is located at 160 E. Seventh Avenue in Trappe. Look for a large blue and gold historic marker by the driveway entrance. Park in the grass at the top of the driveway and walk down the driveway to reach the house.

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)