Monday, October 29, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Saturday, June 4th, 2011
10AM – 4PM
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Self-guided tours of Historic Sites (ticket required)
10AM – 4PM Events at the Square Tavern:
Newtown Market Square: Artisans, crafters, community groups & vendors
Colonial Re-enactors and Encampment Children’s hands-on activities & games
Live music by Hugh Mason’s Bluegrass Band
Food & beverages for sale Historical Society Gift Shop open
Pick up your Historic Newtown Square Day T-shirt (limited to first 200 people, ticket required)
1PM – 3PM Newtown Square Antique Roadshow (ticket required)
6PM Volunteer Party at the Paper Mill House Museum (invitation required)
HISTORIC BUILDINGS & SITES
The Paper Mill House Museum (c. 1770)
The Friends Meeting House (c. 1711, 1791)
The Hood Octagonal School House (1842)
The Square Tavern (1742)
Old St. David’s Church (1715)
Bartram’s Covered Bridge (1860)
PRR Freight Station & Railroad Museum (1895)
1 Ticket gets you into all the historic sites,
the Antique Roadshow and a T-shirt.
$5 in advance, $6 the day of and can be purchased at the Square Tavern
Site descriptions found throughout book
See map on page 6 for map/ site locations
ABOUT THE NEWTOWN SQUARE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
In 1976, The Newtown Township Tricentennial Commission was formed by Stan Short to celebrate Newtown Township’s 300th Anniversary. With the help of many individuals and organizations, this was a successful undertaking that included a spectacular parade and celebration, acquisition of the Paper Mill House property, restoration of the Square Tavern and the publication of an acclaimed book, History of Newtown Township.
In 1984, the Tricentennial Commission reformed as the Newtown Square Historical Preservation Society. For many years the main focus was the daunting restoration of the Paper Mill House with the bulk of the labor being provided by Jim Crossan and Stan Short, creating what is now the Paper Mill House Museum of Newtown Township. Since then, the Society grew and broadened the scope of interests and accomplishments to include the annual Historic Newtown Square Day (formally Colonial Heritage Day), educational tours, lectures/ programs, an elementary school tour, improvements to the Museum and a number of publications. We continue to lead the effort to protect threatened historic homes and resources in Newtown Square. We hope to save as much as possible of yesterday for tomorrow.
We are always seeking new members and participation. See back of this book for a membership application.
The Paper Mill House Museum is open in July and August on Sundays from 1-4PM
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I grew up in a suburban neighborhood of the 50’s and 60’s that represented everything that was right about a community. The generation now called the Greatest Generation had moved out to the new suburbs springing up all around the city. Almost every house on our street had a young family with children. We roamed in packs from back yard to back yard all day long, and each mother kept an eye on us when we came within her “zone”. Our whole neighborhood was built around a central elementary school, and everyone could walk there. In addition to providing education, it was the focal point of the community – the place to go for the spring Highland Fling, the 4th of July celebration, summer arts programs, little league baseball, movies in the auditorium, summer basketball leagues, etc., My parents were involved from the time they moved in. My father was one of the early presidents of the civic association, and my mom was the editor of the community newsletter for several years. My mother also ran the candy concession for each gathering at the school, and was the cookie storage location for the annual Girl Scout cookie sales. At various times in our lives we would come home to find boxes and boxes of candy and cookies – and were told to stay away – they were for the community events. Having parents and their friends involved in the community was my “normal”. We took for granted that every community has these events, and this energy level of involved residents. And of course as I grew up I found out … they don’t. It was something special that only certain communities have.
In Marple and Newtown, we are fortunate to have many of these community events still. We have one of the largest 4th of July parades in the County. We have two great little league organizations and facilities. At the elementary school level, my experience was that we had very involved parents and there were a lot of activities at the school. There is good community support for the excellent Marple Newtown High School band and its annual Bandarama. However, when I first joined the Newtown Square Historical Preservation Society in the mid 1990’s, there was very little going on in the Society. We had a monthly public program during the school year, but not much else. I agreed to be treasurer back then, because I was told “you only write 10-12 checks a year. No problem.” And then Sam Coco and Jan and Sid Elston and some others had this idea for Colonial Day, and all hell broke loose.
The original idea was to celebrate our Colonial history. According to a contemporary news article, "It's going to be like a little Williamsburg," said chairman Sam Coco. ''We're going to have people in costume doing colonial crafts like carpentry, smithing, and colonial art." That year, on June 10, 1995, we hosted that first Colonial Day. Costumed guides provided tours of eight of the historic locations in the township. A fife-and-drum corps and volunteers in costume kicked off the event at the Paper Mill Museum. George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Betsy Ross were in attendance at the opening ceremonies. Isobel Snyder taught students that day at the Octagonal School House. Several private homes were open for tours as well. Sam sold ads for an event program to raise money for the Society as well. We were not sure what the outcome would be for the event, but it was well received, and that first year has served as a template for what has become an annual event.
My favorite memories of Colonial Day involve two weddings that were held at the Newtown Square Meeting House. In 1999 or so, we had arranged for actors to act out a Quaker wedding, and sent out invitations, and promised a wedding reception at the Square Tavern after the event – open to all. At the last minute, the actors canceled on us. A friends of a friend and I agreed to step into the role of bride and groom, we had a full meeting house for the event, the wedding went off without a hitch (pun intended!), and then on a beautiful moonlit night, we had a wedding reception at the Tavern, complete with band and wedding cake. I recall sitting off to the side at one point and marveling at the music and dancing and laughter behind this old tavern that used to see its share of celebrations like this in the 1700’s. I thought “what a great way to bring the community together.”
The second wedding was similar to the first, but with a wrinkle. My daughter, a senior at Marple Newtown High School that year, chose to do her senior project on a Colonial wedding. She found the original records from the Meeting House during the time of the American Revolution, and read about how the young Quaker boys were eager to join the troops defending the area when the British invaded in fall of 1777, much to the dismay of the pacifist parents. She wrote a script for the day, incorporating those facts into an actual marriage that occurred that year. She recruited her friends to dress up and play roles in the wedding, with speaking parts. And then on the night before the event, the dress rehearsal, it poured rain – and the weather forecast the next day called for more on Saturday. I never felt lower at a Colonial Day than that Friday night, when she was close to tears because the hours and hours of work and planning for the event might be rained out the next day. Can you imagine having your wedding canceled on account of rain? But that next morning, our chairperson, Madaleen Ellis, made a bold call – “we are holding this event” – and we did. The rain was intermittent, but did not keep the wedding crowd from showing up for my daughter’s wedding. The wedding was held, afterward in the Quaker custom everyone in attendance signed the wedding certificate, and we had a happy volunteer’s party at the end of the day, as we do each year.
Last year’s volunteer party was a favorite memory as well – a number of the musicians who had played during the day brought their instruments back to the party. We set up outside, overlooking the Darby creek outside the Paper Mill House, and we sang and played till the wee hours. The ghosts of the hundreds of millworkers who had lived and worked along those banks in the 1800’s must have been thrilled to hear such life and laughter in this old building after too many years of empty silence.
So this year we are again hosting this community event, the 16th one, on Saturday, June 4th, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. We have changed the name – our history is not limited to the Colonial era and so we are simply calling it Historic Newtown Square Day. We have over 30 merchants and vendors who will set up behind the Square Tavern, to display their wares and show off their skills. We have tours still at the Paper Mill House, the Tavern, the Octagonal School, the Bartram Bridge, and the Newtown Square Friends Meeting. There are no private home tours this year, and the Sandy Flash Dash, a 5K event, is on hiatus this year. But there will be food, music, children’s activities and fun for all ages at the event. Please come out and join us that day. Support your community, see your neighbors and friends, and learn a little history in the process as well.
For more information, please visit our website at http://www.historicnewtownsquare.org/news_events/historicnewtownsquareday.asp
For additional photos and videos of past Colonial Day celebrations, see the blog article on Patch athttp://marplenewtown.patch.com/blog_posts/historic-newtown-square-day-creating-and-building-community