Monday, May 20, 2013
Do you remember the days when milk was delivered to Hellertown homes in baby-faced glass bottles from Brookfield Dairy?
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
I am fortunate to own but one Lerch Dairy quart bottle and one source of history relating to Howard K. Lerch of Hellertown, whose brief biography appeared in my great uncle's book, published in 1926 by Editor-in-Chief George P. Donehoo and titled "Pennsylvania, a History." When the book was printed, the Lerch Dairy stood on the northwest corner of Front and Water streets in Hellertown. The writer, Donehoo, described the dairy as one of Hellertown's "most enterprising and up-to-date industrial plants" where on a daily basis "two thousand quarts of milk pass through this establishment, where the latest type of machinery pasteurizes it." Lerch had been born on a Lower Saucon Township farm on Jan. 16, 1875. He attended Hellertown schools …
Saturday, May 11, 2013
The family descended from mid-18th century immigrant Nicholas Hess have shaped the Lehigh Valley.
How a single local family can have such a vast impact upon the history of Pennsylvania must be explored accurately. The best source sometimes is the family's own recorded legacy. Thus, the family of Nicholas Hess needs close examination. This includes his third child, Elizabeth Hess, born in Springfield Township on Jan. 4, 1753 and married to Samuel Beitelman of the same area. The couple settled in Springtown, Bucks County. Originally a potter, Samuel had moved to his brother Adam's home to take part in the tanning business. However, as some men fail at one endeavor, they continue to another. Since Beitelman allowed his hides to rot in their tanning vats, this business failed. So next, he rented a 278 acre farm owned by his father, Elias. …
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Thanks to the efforts of academics such as Harry Hess Reichard (1876-1956), the Pennsylvania German dialect is studied and appreciated to this day.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
Sunday, May 5
The Hess family of Saucon Valley dates back to 1741, and many other Pennsylvania German families have intermarried so that the researcher never runs out of personalities to investigate. Another contributor to local history is Harry Hess Reichard, who lived between 1876 and 1956. Born in Lower Saucon Township, he married Ida Elizabeth Ruch of the same locale in 1903. After graduating from Kutztown Normal School in 1895, Reichard received his B.A. degree at Lafayette College in 1901, and then his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1911. Dr. Reichard served as Professor of German at Muhlenberg College until his 1945 retirement. He became well known for his work in Pennsylvania German folklore and his radio role as Assebe in the radio …
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
A dedication ceremony for the rediscovered Limekiln School House cornerstone will be held at the Heller Homestead in Lower Saucon Township on April 27 at 10:30 a.m.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
Wednesday, April 24
A couple of weeks ago Jeff King of Hellertown donated a valuable historical artifact to the Michael Heller Homestead operated by Saucon Valley Conservancy. This item, I told him, should live here, and it will be dedicated on April 27 at 10:30 a.m. during Saucon Valley History Day. It is none other than the last cornerstone of the Limekiln School House, put in place when the building was reconstructed for the last time in 1891. The edifice had been constructed first in 1802 but had burned down and was rebuilt in 1864. It is most appropriately to be displayed at the homestead since nearly 20 Hellers lie at rest in the adjoining graveyard, including Michael Heller, the Elder, who named three of his sons Michael. The building had first been a …
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Hellertown resident and Saucon Rail Trail advocate Lee Weidner says vandalism, dog waste and motorized dirt bikes continue to threaten the sanctity of the popular Saucon Valley path.
Tuesday, April 16
To the editor: "Ignorance is not the mother of devotion, but the mother of darkness, stupidity, superstition, and all kinds of error and degradation." This quotation is found in "The Golden Censer," written by Rev. H. Harbaugh, D.D., and published by the Board of the Reformed Church in the U.S. in 1860. It seems that ignorance has not diminished in 2013, exemplified by abuse of Hellertown's rail trail and the old trail leading past the remains of Saucon Iron Company and woodland, otherwise known as the Cinderbank area. Fortunately, the vast majority of Hellertown's citizenry cares for these areas. In addition, wisdom of elected officials and police have enacted changes, including dog stations which provide plastic bag dispensers, refuse …
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Hellertown resident and 'activist' Lee Weidner says he has joined the NRA and bought a gun since 'Democratic political lefties have taken aim at the Second Amendment.'
To the editor: Recently, Chicago playwright David Mamet stated that "the so-called assault weapons ban is a hoax. It is a political appeal to the ignorant... The ban addresses only the appearance of weapons, not their operation." I could not agree more. Since the Democratic political lefties have taken aim at the Second Amendment, I never leave home without carrying a defensive tool, have joined the NRA, have purchased my first gun ever and intend on joining the Hellertown Sportsmen for weaponry training. I will complete the Sportsmen's requirements, including safety training. Home defense has become a priority, since over the last eight years I have been deemed an activist. Therefore, I have stepped on several Big Toes. Certain Demos in …
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Although the descendants of patriarch Christopher Heller are most closely associated with the Saucon Valley and its history, they also helped shape the modern Christmas City.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
Thursday, March 28
Most local history afficianados know that Hellertown was named for the Christopher Heller family, who emigrated from Germany and arrived in America in 1738. His second and third sons, Simon and Michael, eventually secured much acreage on both sides of the Saucon Creek. Today this land forms a portion of Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township. Much has been written about Simon and Michael, but not about Jacob, Simon's third child. His tale is also remarkable. Born in 1750, he moved with the family to Plainfield Township in 1764, and eventually Simon transferred all 600 acres there to Jacob. Jacob became proprietor of the Post House along the King's Highway near Wind Gap. Later this hotel became known as the Woodley House. During the …
Monday, March 4, 2013
Hellertown resident and Saucon Rail Trail advocate Lee Weidner says the vigilance of others is helping to keep the trail safe and clean.
To the editor: My favorite classic rock tune is Bob Seger's "Against the Wind." It is symbolic of my life led by the theory that one must get involved in controversy rather than look the other way. This is why I have waged war against motorized dirt bikes and ATVs defacing the surface of the rail trail. This is why I have waged war against dog crappers abusing the area. I celebrated Valentine's Day by chasing a dirt bike out of the Hellertown Cinder Banks and taking note of its four lookouts who watch out for police, Weidner and other vigilantes or vigilant citizens who give a damn and refuse to tolerate ordinance offenders. Afterwards I spent one hour knocking 26 dog poops off or away from the trail users' area with the crappy end of my …
Sunday, March 3, 2013
A 'Meet the Artists’ Reception' featuring the Bethlehem Palette Club will be hosted by the Saucon Valley Conservancy at the Heller Homestead on Monday from 7 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Hellertown resident Lee Weidner says he thinks some local residents "look the other way" when they see something bad happening in Hellertown.
Wednesday, February 27
To the editor: I do not wish to be the friend of lawbreakers, such as those who deface public property, spew litter all over, distribute illegal drugs, distribute illegal gaming machines, ignore speed limits and stop signs, those who rape and pillage, who steal and maim, who bully others without restraint and concern for others. I refuse to look the other way when feral cat colonies are fed by the stupid or those who race dirt bikes illegally or prey upon the helpless. Maybe some folks, a majority, do not want to get involved for fear of retribution. I choose not to live in fear. So last Friday, I chased a dirt bike out of Thomas Iron woods, knocked 20 dog poops off walking areas, most along the Water Street Park split rail fence (16 of 20…