Sunday, November 25, 2012
Lee Weidner's "Saucon Secrets, Volume 2" is being published in time for the 2012 holiday season. The author will discuss some of the stories in his book at upcoming book-signings in Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township.
Correction: An earlier published version of this article included an incorrect date (Nov. 29) for the book-signing at Borger's Rare Coins in Hellertown. The book-signing will be held Thursday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 8pm. We apologize for any inconvenience the error may have caused. On the heels of his recent introductory talk before members of the Lower Saucon Township Historical Society, local author and frequent Patch contributor Lee Weidner has announced that orders for copies of his book "Saucon Secrets, Volume 2" are now being accepted. Weidner's new book features vignettes about life in Hellertown and Lower Saucon during days gone by, such as a story about how the borough was almost renamed "Hampton" by entrepreneurs. It is the successor …
Friday, October 19, 2012
A century ago the Saucon Valley was home to countless farms on which Pennsylvania German-speaking residents lived and worked.
Recently while reading "Pennsylvania German Dialect Writings and Their Writers" by Harry Hess Reichard, Ph.D., published in 1918, I was struck with the feelings of joy and appreciation due to many interviews of Saucon Valley residents who grew up on local farms within the 20th century. Their anecdotal remembrances are classic and have given me glimpses of an earlier way of living that I never had the opportunity to experience first-hand. The Gubish farm in Lower Saucon Township is one example. Reichard cites the writings of Lee Light Grumbine who composed the following portion of a poem titled "Der Alt Dengelstock." Dort hoert m'r laute stimme, Die Buwe sin am schwimme, Im Damm wird gebotzelt un' gekrische; Un dort drunne im Krickle, Im …
Monday, September 17, 2012
Local historian and author Lee A. Weidner plans to publish Volume II of his book "Saucon Secrets" later this year.
Monday, September 17, 2012
As a child of elementary age, I had a reoccurring dream that I was an archaeologist digging for old artifacts like coins and pottery. This dream has come true in a figurative sense in that I have dug for local history stories for more than a decade, not with a shovel but by speaking to people. Langston Hughes, noteworthy black American poet, wrote: "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird, unable to fly." My dream continues to this day--to seek out stories of local history. This has become a passion. Soren Kirkgegarde, Danish existentialist, said that being a Christian demands a "leap of faith." Very true. Just read the New Testament Book of Hebrews. I continue to believe in God, but also have faith that very …
Friday, September 7, 2012
A beer stein that once decorated a hotel in the "Heights" neighborhood near Bethlehem Steel is now in the possession of local historian Lee Weidner.
It is not out of the equation to enjoy watching the cable TV show "American Pickers" if one is already involved in researching local history, but is unable to travel. Also, this writer enjoys collecting old "stuff," such as bottles representing the once-flourishing Brookfield Dairy and Hellertown Bottling Works. Recently I had the rare opportunity to pick certain objects from Bethlehem. My favorite is a large German-made beer stein once used as a decoration behind the bar of a popular hotel, part of the "Heights" neighborhood near the entrance to the Saucon Plant of Bethlehem Steel. During the 1930s, Paul and Julia Chulick operated the hotel with Paul bartending and Julia cooking local favorites. The stein was among six that sat on a shelf…
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Servitude of the poorer class of emigrants from England, Switzerland, Ireland and Germany was guaranteed from the early settlement of Pennsylvania.
"Ladies and gentlemen, view this strong, healthy German farmboy, a lad of 10 years. He will be your faithful servant for the next 11 years, guaranteed, with no family affiliation." This scenario took place in Philadelphia, port of entry from Germany, Switzerland, England or Ireland of an untold number of families unable to afford passage aboard ship from their homeland to the New World during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Later, many of the surviving descendants would become avowed Abolitionists, thoroughly against the institution of slavery. They had eventually made their way to Saucon Valley, where they became active in the Underground Railroad prior to the War between the States between 1861 and 1865. Often the only records still …
Friday, July 27, 2012
Experience "Ghosts of the Museum" at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum on July 27
Friday, July 27, 2012
John Wilkes Booth, Amelia Earhart and ghosts of other historical figures will haunt the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum from 5:30 to 9 p.m. today. Tour the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum at night and see the exhibits come to life. Meet Pennsylvania Germans, colonial Americans, and many other personalities who will reveal how the past connects with the present. The first tour leaves at 5:30, and the last tour leaves at 9 p.m. Admission: The museum is located at 432 West Walnut Street in Allentown. Call 610-435-1074 for more information.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Two men with the same name lived just miles apart, but apparently never met.
Seldom do two men with the same name lead parallel lives in nearby communities without being aware of each other. Post-World War I, minstrel show comedies became very popular in Coopersburg and the Coopersburg Dramatic Club even competed against the Muhlenberg College thespians. Joseph Bechtel began the shows in Coopersburg in 1921 and "Front Page" was selected for competition with Bob Weisel playing the role of the telegraph operator, according to the history book, "Coopersburg, the Town of Possibilities," published in 1979 and written by Evelyn Borger for the Coopersburg Historical Society. In Hellertown, it was Bob Weisel's younger brother and WWI veteran, Herb Weisel, who was the Weisel family's actor for American Legion productions …
Thursday, October 20, 2011
At an Oct. 12 presentation, Lost River Caverns co-owners Bob Gilman and Beverly Rosewicz told members of the Lower Saucon Township Historical Society about their family's long association with the famous geological landmark and Hellertown attraction.
The exact year of its discovery remains shrouded in mystery, but most people agree that the entrance to the underground labyrinth that's today known as Lost River Caverns was first breached sometime in the 1880s by a limestone quarrying operation then located on the outskirts of Hellertown. For the sake of consistency, the year 1883 is generally provided as the year in which the caverns were discovered, co-owner Bob Gilman said. However, because it would have been filled with sediment, the cave was probably cleared and explored in stages, over a number of years--which may explain the confusion over early dates related to its discovery--his sister and cave co-owner Beverly Rosewicz explained. During an Oct. 12 presentation to members of the…
Friday, September 30, 2011
The Lower Saucon Township Historical Society’s Second Annual Apple Festival will be held Saturday at the Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse on Countryside Lane.
The Lower Saucon Township Historical Society's Second Annual Apple Festival will be held from 10am to 3pm Saturday at the Lutz-Franklin Schoolhouse on Countryside Lane in the township. The festival raises money for educational projects at the restored one-room schoolhouse and for ongoing maintenance. Admission to the festival is free, said Judy Heydt, chairperson of the event. There will be lots of activities for children, schoolhouse tours, basket raffles, music, an apple dessert contest, and even an appearance by Johnny Appleseed, she said. Johnny is really Mark Marano, a student at DeSales University. Heydt said he will read stories to the children and pass out apple seeds in Johnny Appleseed tradition. Along with Johnny, juggler Bob …
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
This week's guide to affordable day trips also includes information about the Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, People's Light & Theatre Company in Malvern and the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust in Huntingdon Valley.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Looking to save money? Try visiting one of these four locations--all of which you can reach on one tank (or less) of gas! Address: 500 Harriton Road, Bryn Mawr, Pa. How Far From Your Patch? About 47 miles (1 hour, 6 minutes) from Hellertown. Hours: Wednesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for tours. Advanced notice is recommended. Admission Fee: Summary: Harriton House is one of 19 institutions in Bryn Mawr that are more than 100 years old. In 1704, a Welsh Quaker named Rowland Ellis built a house on some of the 700 acres of land he received from William Penn. He called his estate "Bryn Mawr," which means "high hill" in Welsh. The estate's most famous occupant was Charles Thomson, the first and only secretary of the Continental …