Welcome to the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley


What's new

for 2017




Meetings are held at 7:00 P.M. at the Ephrata Public Library, 550 S. Reading Road, Ephrata unless otherwise stated. Open free to the public.

(In case of inclement weather, Society programs will follow the Ephrata School District closing schedule.)


March 22, Pennsylvania Dutch/German Culture

Musician, educator, and expert on Pennsylvania Dutch language and culture Keith Brintzenhoff will discuss the past near-demise of Pennsylvania Dutch and today's renewed interest in the dialect. In addition, he will describe how music and instruments have set the culture apart.


April 26, The Native Lenni Lenape (Delaware)

Darius Puff, a life-long devotee of Native American history, will share his knowledge of the lives of Lenni Lenape people. Real artifacts, reproductions, furs, ceremonial dress and story-telling will enhance his presentation.


Cocalico Valley Church Tour

April 22, 2017 10 AM-3PM



A great collection of architecturally significant buildings will be featured on this tour.

Participating Churches are

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church, Ephrata

First United Methodist Church, Ephrata

Mohlers Church of the Brethren, Ephrata

Bergstrasse Evangelical Lutheran Ch, Ephrata

(Serving breakfast 8:30 am - 12 noon)

Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lincoln

(Serving light lunch 11:00 am until 1:00 pm)

Zion's Reformed United Church of Christ, Lincoln

Springville Old Order Mennonite, Ephrata

St John's United Church of Christ, Denver

Weist Memorial Church, Schoeneck


Advance tickets at HSCV library or from board members


Self guided tour

Adults 18 and over $15.00, Under 18-Free




Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

9:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Saturday 8:30 A.M. - 4:00

The Theodore R. Sprecher Museum Hours

Saturday, 10:00 A. M. to 4:00 P.M.

Other times by appointment with a 24 hour notice

Free to the public.

Educational and civic group tours can be arranged.

(717) 733-1616 or EMAIL  HSCV@cocalicovalleyhs.org


Come on in and pull up a chair. Whether you are a newcomer or an old timer you can get to know us and experience our rich heritage. The Society was founded in 1957. There is so much to see and learn about the Cocalico Valley. Visit the Theodore R. Sprecher Museum housed in the Connell Mansion in it's Victorian elegance. You will find thirteen rooms of exhibits with collections from the early 1800's to present and period room settings. Be sure to see the current feature exhibit. Quite possibly you may want to do some research in the library with its wealth of local history and genealogy. Resource materials range widely from the standard body of legal and church records to the specific and unique resources focused on the Cocalico Valley. To get a glimpse of the collections you can view an online card catalog which includes files through the year 2000. Current files can be perused in the library. You have heard our story, maybe you have one too. We would love to hear from you.


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Programs and events

237- 249 West Main Street (Rt. 322),

Ephrata, corner of Oak St.


Historical Society Announces

New Exhibit for 2017

 “The Many Faces of the Cocalico Valley”


If you have driven by the Historical Society in recent weeks you may have noticed new banners hanging on the front porch of the museum, one announces the 60th Anniversary of the Historical Society. The second banner features a large portrait of a rather dour-looking elderly woman advertising the museum’s new exhibit.

To find out her identity stop by the museum beginning March 4, she is part of the new 2017 special exhibit— “The Many Faces of the Cocalico Valley.” The exhibition is designed to both recognize and celebrate the countless men and women who inhabited the Cocalico Valley and contributed in a variety of ways to its development over the centuries. This exhibit, through the use of photographic portraits and artistic portraiture, presents only a sampling of the people who in their own personal way contributed to the development of the boroughs of Adamstown, Akron, Denver, and Ephrata, and the townships of Clay, Ephrata, East Cocalico, West Cocalico, West Earl, and the portion of Earl Township included in the Society’s scope. The portraits of the men, women, and children included in the exhibition are representative of the people from all walks of life, all educational levels, both blue collar and white collar workers who lived in the Cocalico Valley through the years. Some of the individuals pictured were or are well known to their communities (a few were known throughout the county, state, and beyond) but many were common people— housewives, day laborers, cigar makers, and factory workers. Many of the portraits found in the exhibit are of people who were born in the Cocalico Valley and spent their entire lives here; a few are of people who moved here from other parts of the state. Some of those born here, upon reaching maturity, left their families and moved to other parts of the country. Whatever the circumstances all contributed in their own way to the development of the community now known as the Cocalico Valley. The 116 portraits that fill the walls of the exhibit, as well as the additional portraits displayed in the room’s showcases, are only a miniscule representation of the people who inhabited the Cocalico Valley since its settlement. As visitors wander through the other rooms of the museum they will be encouraged to pay particular attention to the portraits found there. They represent a diverse selection of local inhabitants— craftspeople, veterans, children, business owners, athletes, physicians, politicians—all of whom contributed in varying degrees to the lifestyle that now exists within the region defined as the Cocalico Valley. A special feature of the exhibit will be a display of memorabilia from the military career of Ephrata native General William Thomas Hobbins, USAF, Retired, the only 4-star general to come out of the Cocalico Valley. Hobbins the son of the late Robert J. Hobbins Sr. and Theodora (Mentzer) Hobbins Clemens, the grandson of Ivan H. Mentzer, and the great grandson of Ephrata Burgess and Postmaster Dr. John F. Mentzer, graduated from Ephrata High School, Class of 1964. While in high school he was well known as the lead guitarist for the “TJ’s” and after graduation he played with the “Velaires, both local rock and roll bands. Following his graduation in 1969 from the University of Colorado he entered the United States Air Force where he graduated from Officer Training School and continued his military education in pilot training school learning to fly the T-37 and T-38. Through his career as a Command pilot he has registered over 5,100 flight hours in the F- 15C, F-15E, C-20, A-10, AT-28 and the T-38. At the time of his retirement in 2008 he was Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, NATO Allied Air Component Command; and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. General Hobbins, who will be the guest speaker at the Historical Society’s 60th Anniversary Banquet at Lily’s on Main on Oct. 14, 2017, now resides in Lancaster with his wife Robbin. The new exhibit will open March 4 and run through the end of December 2017. th The museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or by special arrangements