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Historical Society Plans Meeting January 15, 2019

The Sadsbury Township Historical Society will hold a meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Sadsbury Township Municipal Building, 2920 Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyville. Doors will open at 6:45 p.m.

The guest speaker will be Terence Maguire, board member and vice president of the Kennett Underground Railroad Center and a retired teacher at Wilmington Friends School. His topic will be "The Underground Railroad."

Admission is free, and visitors are welcome. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 717-442-9240 or search for "Sadsbury Township Historical Society" on Facebook.


Veterans To Speak At ALLVETS Program January 14, 2019

ALLVETS will host presentations by two speakers on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the York History Center, 250 E. Market St., York. The event will be free and open to the public, and free parking will be available.

At 10 a.m., attendees will hear from Lynwood Schleeter, a World War II veteran who was involved in protecting the Aleutian Islands. At 11 a.m., John Bach, a veteran who was stationed in Korea, will tell his story.

ALLVETS is a nonprofit organization that records veterans' stories. Veterans are invited to participate by telling their stories. Meetings are typically held on the fourth Wednesday of the month from January through October, and special meetings are held on Saturdays. For more information, readers may contact Linda Bean at 717-881-6651 or


Fraktur Classes Slated January 11, 2019

The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (LMHS), 2215 Millstream Road, Lancaster, will offer two classes focused on fraktur, both of which will be taught by local artist Emily Smucker-Beidler. Fraktur, a fractured calligraphy surrounded by birds, swirls, and flowers, has evolved to become a distinctly American folk art.

The first class, "Fraktur Introduction," will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants will learn how to create fraktur, rendering traditional motifs in ink before painting them in watercolor. By the end of the class, each participant will have his or her own small work of fraktur to take home. Smucker-Beidler will also give a presentation on the history of fraktur, looking at the three distinct styles from southeastern Pennsylvania. A starter kit containing the basic supplies is included with the class. Separate costs have been set for LMHS members and for nonmembers. The deadline for registration is Friday, Jan. 25.

The second class, "The Illuminated Letter," will take place on Saturday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to noon. It will pick up where the first class left off, but participants do not need to have taken the first class. It will focus on learning lettering and calligraphy within the context and history of fraktur. Participants will learn how to use a nib pen and India ink and learn both traditional techniques and modern adaptations. The registration cost, which will be discounted for LMHS members, includes all materials required, including paper, handouts, tracing paper, pencils, and uncoated, machine-finished paperboard. The deadline for registration is Friday, March 8.

Experienced students can take the advanced fraktur workshops, available to those who have previously taken fraktur classes at the LMHS. Workshops have been set for 8 a.m. to noon on Feb. 2 and March 16. Participants will receive one-on-one assistance from 8 to 9 a.m. and have studio time until noon. The per-session registration fee is due by Jan. 25 for the Feb. 2 class and by March 8 for the March 16 class.

To register, readers may call the LMHS at 717-393-9745 or visit


Historical Society Sets Meeting January 11, 2019

The Solanco Historical Society will hold a meeting on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 1:30 p.m. at its Archives Building, 1932 Robert Fulton Highway (Route 222), Quarryville. The program, titled "Mechanics Grove," is free and open to the public.

Stan White and Mike Roth will tell the story of how a portion of a large, mostly wooded farm became a crossroads village with the building of a general store. This village, Mechanics Grove, is located on Route 222, where Spring Valley and Church Roads join the highway in East Drumore Township.

White and Roth are longtime members of the Solanco Historical Society, with Roth currently serving as treasurer and White as president. Co-authors of "A Railroad for the Southern End," "Quarryville," and "Fulton House," the two have collaborated on many presentations.

The Archives Building is located 6 miles south of Quarryville across from the Robert Fulton Birthplace.


Historical Society Slates Show-And-Tell Program January 10, 2019

The Historical Society of Salisbury Township will meet on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Salisbury Township Building, 5581 Old Philadelphia Pike, White Horse, at 7 p.m. The meeting will feature a show-and-tell program.

Everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, call 717-442-4071.


Historical Society To Hold Meeting January 9, 2019

The Red Lion Area Historical Society will meet on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m. at St. John's United Church of Christ, 161 N. Main St., Red Lion.

Guest speaker Terry Bluett will present "Quest for Freedom: Forgotten Heroes in York County."

The meeting is free and open to the public. The entrance may be accessed via the parking lot behind the church. If Red Lion Area School District schools are canceled, the meeting will also be canceled. For more information, readers may call president Robin Miller at 717-244-1912 or email


Preservation Society Sets Meeting January 9, 2019

The Glen Rock Historic Preservation Society will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at the town museum, located at 1 Manchester St., Glen Rock. Attendees should enter using the rear entrance of the PeoplesBank parking lot.

Donna Peace will present "Summit Grove - Providence," a program on the history of the New Freedom campground.

The museum opens at 6:30 p.m. on meeting nights and is also open from 2 to 4 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month, as well as by appointment.


Preservation Society To Meet January 9, 2019

The Lower Swatara Township Historic Preservation Society will host a presentation by Dustin D'Agostino, a local historian, at its meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The meeting will be held at Lower Swatara Township Firehouse, 1350 Fulling Mill Road, Middletown. D'Agostino will talk about Camp Meade, a local connection to the Spanish-American War. He will also share some of the artifacts that he has found.

For more details, contact or 717-944-9891 to leave a message.


Show-And-Tell Program Planned January 8, 2019

The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley will hold its annual Show and Tell program on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Ephrata Public Library, 550 S. Reading Road. Everyone attending is encouraged to bring along a "mystery" item that has been waiting to have its story told or something unique to show.

There is no admission charge. For more information, call the society at 717-733-1616.


History Center To Offer Updates January 2, 2019

York County History Center will host project updates on the progress and status of the History Center's new Museum and Library Archives at the former Met-Ed Steam plant in York. The presentations will focus on the core exhibit experience and the planned programmatic aspects of the new the History Center. Audience participation will be encouraged.

Each presentation will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and include light refreshments. Presentations will be offered on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Guthrie Memorial Library, 2 Library Place, Hanover; on Thursday, Jan. 17, at York County History Center, Historical Society Museum Library and Archives, 250 E. Market St., York; and on Thursday, Jan. 24, at Dover Township Community Center, 3700 Davidsburg Road, Dover.

The sessions are free and open to the public. Preregistration is encouraged, but not required. Readers may register by contacting 717-848-1587, ext. 210, or


Historical Society Sets Winter Show December 27, 2018

The Hummelstown Area Historical Society will stage "The Art of Giving" as its 2019 Winter Show. The show will be presented in the society's History House, 32 W. Main St., Hummelstown, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays from Jan. 9 to Feb. 6 and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays from Jan. 13 to Feb. 10.

The show will feature 12 exhibits, each of which demonstrates arts or crafts that were given as gifts to family, friends, organizations, and the community. The show will also highlight antique and vintage artifacts from the society's collection as well as items loaned by members. Exhibits will include artwork by Emma Landis and Robert Nisley; statues by Ellis Simpson; dioramas by Richard Hartwell; children's furniture, Tramp Art, and spool furniture; German folk art; sewn handwork and children's quilts; and photographs of stained-glass windows from local churches.

The History House was built in 1908 and retains its original fireplaces, lights, oak wood and finishes, and cabinets.

Everyone is invited to attend the display of arts and crafts. There is no charge for admission, but donations will be accepted to defray expenses. Readers who have questions or would like to schedule a special tour may call Josie Downey, the society's office manager, at 717-566-6314 or Wade Seibert at 717-919-0509.


Talk Will Focus On Gen. Custer December 26, 2018

The Millersville Area Historical Society (MAHS) will host a presentation, "George Armstrong Custer, From Ohio to Gettysburg," when it meets at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, at Millersville's Municipal Center, 100 Municipal Drive.

The speaker will be Bruce R. Liddic, an expert and researcher on the life and times of U.S. Army Gen. George Armstrong Custer. Liddic is the author of three books and several dozen magazine articles about Custer, the latest of which appeared in Research Review, a publication of Little Big Horn Associates Inc.

Liddic's presentation, featuring visuals on PowerPoint, will trace the life of Custer from his birth in Ohio to his education at West Point, from which he graduated last in his class, as well as his experience at Gettysburg. Custer was a cavalry commander in the American Civil War, after which he left for the West and the American Indian Wars. In 1876, while leading the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of the Little Big Horn against Native American tribes, Custer and all of his detachment were killed. A question-and-answer session will conclude the presentation.

Liddic retired after spending 39 years with the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. A Lancaster resident for the past 15 years, he was born in Williamsport and lived in Sayre as a young man. Liddic moved with his family to Montoursville, where he graduated from high school. The Navy veteran later earned a bachelor's degree in American history at the State University of New York and a master's degree in business management at Salve Regina University.

The talk on Jan. 12 will be open to the public free of charge, but donations will be appreciated. For more information, readers may contact Phil Gerber at 717-872-8837 or


Support Grants Available December 24, 2018

State Cultural and Historical Support Grants are now available for qualified museums and official county historical societies. This is the sixth year that the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PMHC) has worked with the state legislature to provide funding for museums through the grant program. A total of $2 million was included in the 2018-19 state budget for the initiative.

The Cultural and Historical Support Grant program is restricted to eligible organizations that are not supported by other state agency funding programs, including museums located in Pennsylvania with annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 and at least one full-time professional staff person. Some museums are not eligible if they are eligible for grant support from other state agencies. The maximum award for a museum is $65,000.

In addition, official county historical societies are eligible to apply. The awards for Official County Historical Societies range from $2,500 to $4,000.

Applicants must meet organizational eligibility requirements. Awards are based on a calculation that uses the operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year.

Applications must be received by Friday, Jan. 25. All PHMC grant applications are now submitted on the commonwealth's Single Application for Assistance system at Eligibility information and grant guidelines can be found at


Program To Focus On 18th-Century Clothing December 20, 2018

The Lititz Historical Foundation will host a free program on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. at the Lititz Public Library, 651 Kissel Hill Road, Lititz. Lynnette Miller and Janet Smedley will present "18th-Century Rural Pennsylvania Clothing."

Smedley, of Lititz, is a retired architect and working artist. Her studio is in the historic Pilgerhaus on Main Street, where early Moravian women worked. She comes from a line of woman artists and seamstresses. She can trace her family line to the 17th century in Chester County, and she loves antique decorative arts, including clothing.

Miller is an independent costume consultant and proprietor of Miller's Millinery. A member of the Costume Society of America, she focuses on promoting accuracy in historic interpretation, especially in the area of 18th- and 19th-century clothing construction and fit. She has won national awards in Civil War-era clothing competitions and served as national chairwoman of the costume committee for the Ladies of the North/South Skirmish Association for two terms. A retired art teacher, she writes magazine articles and lectures and conducts clothing and millinery workshops. Miller also demonstrates early textile production and millinery techniques at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in Lancaster.

For more details, readers may call 717-627-4636.


Museum Posts Holiday Hours December 18, 2018

The Middletown Area Historical Society of Dauphin County, 29 E. Main St., Middletown, has announced that its museum will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 26, but it will be open for extended hours on Thursday, Dec. 27, from 4 until 8 p.m.

The museum's "Toys of Yesteryear" exhibit will be on display until mid-January. The museum also features other displays relating to the holidays.

The parking lot next to the museum is available to museum patrons. There is no admission fee, as the society relies on freewill donations from the visiting patrons. Visitors who stop by the gift shop may request a free "wooden nickel" as a memento of their visit, no purchase required.

More information about the historical society is available at


Historical Foundation Plans Program December 6, 2018

The Lititz Historical Foundation will host a program on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. at the Lititz Public Library, 651 Kissel Hill Road, Lititz.

Janet Smedley and Lynnette Miller will discuss "18th-Century Rural Pennsylvania Clothing."

The program is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For more information, readers may contact the library at 717-626-2255.


Civil War Encampment To Spotlight Boy Soldiers November 30, 2018

More than 200,000 boys age 17 and under served in the opposing armies during the American Civil War. Two of them will be represented at the Civil War Living History and Tactical Exercises Encampment hosted by the Southern Lancaster County Historical Society on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 22, 23, and 24. The event will be held at the Robert Fulton Birthplace Museum, 1932 Robert Fulton Highway, located 6 miles south of Quarryville on Route 222.

Setup will begin on the afternoon of Thursday, June 21, and the event will be open to the public from 2 to 4 p.m. on June 22, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 23, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 24. Visitors may stop in at any time, and photos, questions, and conversations will be welcome.

"This is the only local Civil War living history encampment wherein attendees can meet and visit with President Abraham Lincoln, generals Grant and Lee as well as their generals, and troop encampments from both Union and Confederate armies on the same grounds," said event promoter Joel Moore.

The boy soldiers will be represented by Robert Vercoe and Paul Wunderlich. Robert will portray 2nd Lt. Edward Lee, who served as an aide and courier for Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. Paul will portray Sgt. John Lincoln Clem of the 22nd Michigan. After gaining fame as the drummer boy of Chickamauga who took down a Confederate officer trying to take him prisoner, Clem served as staff sergeant for Gen. George Thomas. The boys will relate their stories and those of other youths involved in the war at the Living History Camp, which will be located on the upper lawn. There will also be author conversations about the boys who served.

On the lower lawn, demonstrations of military camp life will include a rifle and artillery drill and battle re-enactments.

Visitors will be invited to wander the camps and visit with the participants. Guests may talk with a general, a boy soldier, and a Confederate spy; watch the blacksmith at work; learn about a sharpshooter's rifle and women's activities in wartime; try on a general's coat; and view surgical tools with Dr. Letterman, medical director of the Army of the Potomac.

Blacksmith wares and Civil War historic fiction and nonfiction research books will be available for purchase during the event. Vendors will sell food and beverages on June 23 and 24.

Admission to the event will be free of charge. Tours of the Robert Fulton Birthplace Museum will be available for a small fee.

For more information, readers may visit


CHPS To Host Model Train Open Houses November 29, 2018

Members of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society (CHPS), 21 N. Second St., Columbia, invite the community to visit the annual Ed King Memorial Model Train open house events. The events are open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in December and will also be open on Saturday, Jan. 5, and Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. Admission is free; however, donations are appreciated and will benefit CHPS.

The 2,200-square-foot HO model train display will be running several long freight and passenger trains, pulled by sound-equipped steam and diesel locomotives. A 200-square-foot section of the layout depicts the railroad neighborhoods of Columbia as they existed between 1920 and 1950. The model railroad, called the Columbia & Susquehanna HO Model RR, is set up on the second floor of the historical society. Trolley and train videos will be shown on a television screen in the train room.

Santa Claus is expected to make sporadic visits to the event to interact with children and other guests of all ages. Plus, visitors may enter to win an N-scale train set, The Yardboss, and the winner of the drawing will be announced on Jan. 6.

In addition to the HO trains running upstairs, the Lower Susquehanna Valley O-Scale Modular Group will have part of its modular layout set up downstairs in the main hall. The group's layout features sound-equipped locomotives, lit buildings, and an operating miniature drive-in movie theater.

Exhibits about the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Railroad, both of which were prominent in Columbia's history, will be available for visitors to enjoy, as well as exhibits on the history of the Underground Railroad in Columbia.

The Ed King Memorial Model Train open house events are held in honor of Ed King, a longtime volunteer at CHPS and an avid model railroader and collector. Some of King's memorabilia will be included in the display.

CHPS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the river town of Columbia and operates a museum featuring artifacts, a research room and microfilm archive, and published articles and books on the town's history. To learn more about the train display or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, readers may visit or call 717-684-2894.


Historian To Speak On Frontier Warfare November 29, 2018

Dr. Patrick Spero, the librarian and director of the American Philosophical Society Library (APSL) in Philadelphia, will discuss his latest book, "Frontier Rebels: The Fight for Independence in the American West, 1765-1776," when he speaks during the Millersville Area Historical Society (MAHS) meeting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, in the Millersville Municipal Center, 100 Municipal Drive.

Using PowerPoint to illustrate his talk, Spero will unveil the story of a group of ragtag frontiersmen that launched Native American tactics of warfare on the largest ever peace-keeping assembly of British and Native American leaders. The frontiersmen, known as the Black Boys because they dressed as Native Americans and smeared their faces with charcoal, foiled the peace effort and thereby became part of the interwoven struggles to determine whose independence would prevail on the American frontier - the British, Native Americans, or colonial settlers. A question-and-answer session will conclude the talk.

Spero is a scholar of early American history. He specializes in the era of the American Revolution and has published more than a dozen essays and reviews on the topic. In addition to his recent book, he is the author of "Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania."

Before joining APSL, the Narberth resident taught history and leadership studies at Williams College, where he integrated new technology in the classroom, and was the historian at the David Library of the American Revolution. Raised on Cape Cod, he earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.

The presentation will be open to the public free of charge, but donations will be appreciated. For more information about the MAHS, readers may contact Phil Gerber at 717-872-8837 or


New Residents To Open Old Home For Holiday Tour November 27, 2018

Early one morning, Dave DiFranco heard a horse and buggy clip-clop past his home on East Main Street in Strasburg. A bit later, the steam whistle of an iron horse wafted on the breeze. The two sounds drew a smile to Dave's face. "I can stand hearing that every day," he thought to himself.

As of Nov. 9, Dave and his wife, Debbie, are full-time residents at the house at 51 E. Main St. The couple and their son, David DiFranco Jr., previously lived in Swedesboro, N.J., but for the past two years, every weekend has been spent in their new home, rehabbing it in preparation for full-time living.

The DiFrancos initially purchased the house with David, who has since bought a home elsewhere in Strasburg. While the DiFrancos' home is new to them, it was built in 1852 and has been added to over the years. At first, neither of the DiFranco men were interested in the property, as it needed a lot of work, but Debbie saw its potential. The two men came around, and the family made an offer.

"I'm used to a very modern, 4,000-square-foot house, so this was a change," Dave remarked.

The family worked to refinish floors and paint walls. Debbie enjoyed shopping for Amish-made furniture, and she got to know more about her new community. The DiFrancos had been introduced to Lancaster County by friends approximately 15 years ago, and they had vacationed here every year since.

"Everyone here is so welcoming," Debbie observed. "This town is so friendly."

"We call this our Mayberry. It's so nice to walk to everything," Dave added.

The house is set back from the street, making room for a tiny courtyard where the DiFrancos often relax in the shade of a large tree. The wrought-iron gate will be open to ticketholders from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, as part of the Strasburg Holiday Home Tour hosted by the Strasburg Heritage Society. Folks may tour the first floor of Dave and Debbie's home, which will be decorated for Christmas.

The DiFrancos enjoy celebrating holidays, and they have been in Strasburg for the past few Halloweens. Last Christmas, while more low-key than usual, was held at the Strasburg house as well. David runs a YouTube channel, where, among other things, he posts videos of the family's celebrations. Glimpses of the house as the renovations neared completion can be seen in the two-part video of Christmas 2017. When they heard that the family planned to move from New Jersey, fans of the channel sent housewarming gifts, and several DiFranco-branded items can be found throughout the first floor.

Although the house looks good as it is now - Debbie is especially proud of the bucolic mural on the living room wall - the family still plans to add a few touches. Butcher block countertops are on the wish list for the kitchen, in which 7-foot ceilings harken back to its 19th-century origin. Dave also plans to set up a model railroad layout, but he does not expect it to be ready for the house tour.

Eight additional houses will be part of the Holiday Home Tour, and three churches will participate as well. What organizers are calling Tour Central will be set at First Presbyterian Church of Strasburg, 101 S. Decatur St., where guests may buy lunch from a Girl Scout troop and purchase tour tickets, crafts, and greens. Additionally, bids will be accepted in a silent auction for a Colonial dinner for six to eight people.

Tour tickets may be purchased at a discount through Thursday, Nov. 29, at Hart Road Potters, Main Street Antiques, and Speckled Hen. The proceeds will enable the Strasburg Heritage Society to continue its efforts to preserve historic properties and perpetuate interest in the historical and cultural heritage of the borough and surrounding area.

For more information about the Holiday Home Tour, readers may visit, find the organization on Facebook, or contact or 717-687-9039.

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