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.)
May 25, 2016 The
Civil War in Pennsylvania
The Civil War in Pennsylvania Cooper Wingert, a young author and Civil War
historian, will provide this presentation. He has written several books about
Confederate action north of Gettysburg. Central Pennsylvania was an important
center for the recruitment and training of soldiers in the Civil War.
Confederate forces twice tried to envelope Harrisburg, but failed. This
author will be available for book signing after the talk.
June 22, 2016 Annual Picnic
This year's members-only picnic will be held at the Lititz Springs Park. For
those interested, following the meal there will be a walking tour of the
historic buildings in Lititz Church Square. Details will appear in the
July 27, Field Trip
This year's field trip will be a
visit to the Conestoga Area Historical Society, located at 51 Kendig Road in
Conestoga. Seven major buildings make up the museum grounds, including a 1733
log cabin, a blacksmith shop, and a bank barn. The main building contains a
rotating exhibit area.
9:30 A.M. to 6:00
Saturday 8:30 A.M. -
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.
civic group tours can be arranged.
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
Exhibit Commemorates 125 Years of Ephrata Borough
The Historical Society is
pleased to announce the opening of “125 Years of Ephrata Borough,
1891-2016,” a new exhibit commemorating the 125th anniversary
of the incorporation of the Borough of Ephrata. The exhibit,
which will open on Saturday March 19, 2016, was curated by former
Ephrata Mayor Clarence E. Spohn, and is cosponsored by Ephrata Borough
and the Ephrata National Bank. The exhibit will continue through
Dec. 31, 2016. The Historical Society’s museum, 237 West Main St., is
open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or by appointment. Group
visits are welcomed and encouraged, for arrangements call 717-733-1616.
Admission is free to all.
Probably the most memorable
event to occur in Ephrata during the past 125 years was the crowning of
Ephrata native Evelyn Margaret (Ay) Sempier, “Miss America 1954.” On
Sept. 29th, 1953, following Miss Ay’s coronation in Atlantic
City, tens of thousands of area residents gathered on Ephrata’s Main St.
to welcome home the new Miss America. The Sempier family has graciously
loaned the Society artifacts and memorabilia from that event for the
exhibit. Included in the display are the gown Evelyn wore for her
homecoming, the diamond ring the town presented her, and her “Miss
Pennsylvania” and “Miss America” trophies. Also part of the exhibit are
the tobacco leaf crown she wore in 1950 when she was crowned “Miss
Lancaster County Tobacco Queen - Miss Ephrata Fair” and the trophy she
The exhibit will feature over
120 photographs relating to the Borough’s history, among which are
aerial views of the borough, dating from 1910 through the 1950's.
Ephrata’s history dates back to
the founding of the Ephrata Cloister in 1732. The town’s earlier history
is represented in the exhibit by an original copy of the “Chronicon
Ephratense,” the history of the Cloister printed there in 1786, along
with an original ca. 1766 hand carved printer’s woodcut of the seal of
the Ephrata Cloister, and two pieces of the its wooden communion
Among the documents on display
are the original 1891 oaths of office for the borough’s first council
and burgess. Other documents on display are early borough ordinances,
the first minute book of the Pioneer Fire Co., the first minute book of
the Ephrata Board of Health. There is even a letter from the Ettla Fire
Co. expressing the need for a new horse-drawn hook and ladder fire
engine for the town, it is accompanied by the original canceled check
used to pay for the hook and ladder. Also on display is the borough’s
original cast iron hand seal with its original invoice.
Another important artifact featured
in the exhibit is the newly restored Old Mill Road covered bridge sign. The
bridge, demolished in the 1924, was the only covered bridge located within
the modern day boundaries of the borough. The sign, donated to the Society
by the late June Haller over thirty years ago, remained in storage until it
was carefully restored in 2015 by Hartmann Fine Art Conservation Service,
Other exhibits call attention to a
sampling of residents who served the community in various leadership
capacities during the last century. Items included are Mayor Lloyd
Gerhart’s top hat and J. Harry Hibshman’s shaving mug.
Many of the Borough’s older
residents can recall the “twelve o’clock whistle,” the steam whistle which
was mounted on the Church Avenue light plant. For decades the whistle,
which is part of the display, announced the noon lunch hour to the town’s
Also included are period clothing
worn by past generations of Ephrata residents which are displayed in the
museum’s parlor and bedroom. Among the clothing is the wedding gown worn
by Rachel (Myers) Keller in 1913, a circa 1915 wool bathing suite worn by
Sallie (Baker) Carter, “Dutch” Greenly’s police uniform, a dress from the
Diamond Jubilee in 1966, and a circa 1952 wool Ephrata baseball uniform.