"Fresh Findings From The Past"

Historical Society Of The Cocalico Valley Opens New Exhibit

June 7, 2019

The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley in Ephrata, Pa., is pleased to announce the opening of its new exhibit titled “Fresh Findings From the Past” in its museum located at 249 W. Main St. The exhibit, which occupies two of the museum’s first-floor display rooms, opened on May 4 and will run through Dec. 31, 2020.
Featured in the exhibit is an eclectic sampling of artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, etc. that have been acquired by the society, either by donation or purchase, during the past 10 years, and which have never previously been exhibited to the public. The exhibit includes approximately 160 artifacts dating from the 18th through the 20th centuries representing all of the municipalities located within the Cocalico Valley. Items range from rare, one-of-a-kind manuscripts to more common utilitarian items such as plastic advertising items dating from the 1950s.
From Akron Borough, a 1906-10 guest register from the Akron Hotel and a 1929 $10 Akron National Bank note are included. From Adamstown Borough is a scarce original 1898 printed bird’s eye view of the town and plastic advertising items from Phares G. Harting’s general merchandise store. Denver Borough is represented by a traveling barber kit used by local barber Harry H. Kline (1894-1966), street banners from the 50th anniversary of the borough and the Denver Fire Company, and a Colonial costume worn by Stephen Malinick for Denver’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1975. From Ephrata Borough is one of the original Ephrata Railroad Station signs; the original circa 1805 brass seal of the Downingtown, Ephrata and Harrisburg Turnpike Co., present Route #322 or Main St.; and wooden signs from the Ephrata Shoe Co. and the Stunzi Silk Co. Also from Ephrata is the Ephrata High School football jersey worn by Larry Loose in 1956 and a large cotton banner from the Ephrata High School Class of 1910.
In addition there is a rare 1838 needlework sampler by Amanda Heitler of Ephrata, a circa 1815 Adam and Eve broadside printed by Samuel Bauman of Ephrata, and a wonderful late 19th-century painted cast-iron toy train owned by brothers Harry and Edwin Mohler of Ephrata when young boys.
From Clay Township is the 1867-1894 cabinetmaker’s ledger of William Romig of Weidmansville; a circa 1910 cotton applique crib quilt made by Amanda B. (Snyder) Landis; and an 1857 hair sample book of Mary (Eberly) Shirk, which contains braided hair samples from her friends and relatives.
Ephrata Township is represented by a circa 1925 “White Owl” baseball uniform worn by James N. Rhoads; the team was based in Murrell. In addition, there is an 1826-1838 shoemaker’s ledger of Simpson Keller, who lived in the area of Mohler’s Church; an unusual dated 1866 dried gourd made by Mary Nolt (Musselman) Stoner for her son Abraham M. Stoner; and a pieced privy bag made by Fannie Widders in the early 20th century. For those unfamiliar with privy bags, they were made to hold the “necessary” paper in the outhouse or privy.
An array of items from East Cocalico Township are also displayed. Included in the exhibit is the original 1734 Penn land patent issued to Eberhard Ream for the land that now includes the town of Reamstown. In addition, there is a circa 1845 man’s beaver top hat made by David Blensinger of Reamstown; a 1923 original oil painting on canvas by artist John Wesley Von Nieda, a native of Swartzville; and the unusual combination sign and clock used by Dr. William N. Lober in the window of his Main Street doctor’s office in Reamstown.
West Cocalico Township is represented by the telegraph keys and sounder used at Reinholds Station; a printed taufschien (baptismal certificate) of Maria Palm, who was born in 1850 in the township; and a printed corn meal bag from the Reinholds mill of Oscar B. Swartz.
And from West Earl Township are an 1860-1867 ledger of Brownstown blacksmith Emanuel Duck, the 1882-1959 diary kept by his son and granddaughter Emanuel K. and Mary Duck, and a hammer and spatula made by his blacksmith son, Hiram K. Duck. Also exhibited from Brownstown is a 1929 $20 Brownstown National bank note.
A unique quilt included in the exhibit, while only 36 years old, has a most interesting story connected with it. The quilt was made in 1983 by the two fourth grade classes at the Lincoln Elementary School, taught by Mrs. Young and Mrs. Conte. The patches were cut and sewn by the students, and the quilt was quilted by several of the students’ mothers and grandmothers who brought a quilting frame into the school and quilted the bed covering right in the classroom. At the end of the school year, during “Lincoln School Days,” the quilt was auctioned off and purchased by the late Dr. Michael Szutowicz, the father of one of the students. Betsy Young, one of the teachers, reported that the money received from the sale of the quilt was donated to the restoration fund for the Statue of Liberty, which was refurbished during 1984-86. The quilt was discovered at a sale at Horst Auction Center, Ephrata, by Robert Dickershied, who purchased it and donated it to the society. Among the patches is a silhouette of the Statue of Liberty along with two patches containing the names of all the students who worked on the quilt written in cursive in red ink.
Admission to “Fresh Findings From the Past” is free to all. The museum’s hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or by appointment.
For an appointment or additional information, call 717-733-1616.


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