NEWTOWN SQUARE–The Newtown Square Historical Society has been celebrating the local history for 16 years by bringing the community together for Newtown Square Historical Day.
This year's event included a marketplace with a few new vendors, historical skits, and a great bluegrass band. Several local historical sites such as The Square Tavern, Old St. David's Church, Bartram's Covered Bridge and The Paper Mill House were open for visitors to tour. Volunteers were on hand to explain the story behind each location.
For the first 13 years, the event was Colonial Heritage Day and focused on that specific time period. They have since expanded to include historical buildings and sites that were not colonial as well as doing more community outreach. In the past two years they even included a 5K race. Doug Humes, president of the Newtown Square Historical Society, said the addition of these new events will help draw a wider variety of attendees.
"The intent is to continue to add new things and new attractions, but still have open historical sites," said Humes.
Humes explained these old buildings are filled with rich history and even a ghost story. As legend has it, 'Mad' Anthony Wayne's bones were brought back from Lake Erie where he died in battle. The trunk containing them had broken open during the journey and supposedly a bone or two was lost. Wayne was finally buried at Old St. David's Church, and on his birthday his ghost come back looking for the missing bones.
Back at the Square Tavern, things were a little less spooky. Guests could participate in some colonial kitchen work such as churning butter, kneading dough and other chores from an era past. For those who enjoyed more recent historical activities, the first 200 people received free t-shirts which they could tie-dye on site.
The marketplace was filled with great local businesses and organizations. Eric T. Shephard American Antiques sold colonial-era antiques, while others at the fair included quilters, chair caning (weaving), and lots of handcrafted goods.
Dr. Sam Moyer brought his very own extensive collection of handmade brooms and the equipment he designed to make the brooms right on the spot. Moyer is a retired professor of biology. According to Moyer, he actually developed his own hybrid of sorghum, or broomcorn that he uses for his brooms making them very unique.
For local resident Jennifer Mark, she does not have a store or even a website but she does have a very talented family. She makes handmade soaps, scrubs, and soy candles. Her mother designs terrariums and her father makes cabinets and birdhouses. Mark believed business was even better than last year, plus the weather was a lot cooler.
Ethel Smith and Lenore Quinn represented Undercover Quilters. Although their quilting craft dates back to the colonial era, their charity work is very modern. Their group teaches quilting and donates many of their quilts to children in need. The group raffled off one of their handmade quilts.
"We make quilts for kids...that's a very big activity with us, and they go to domestic abuse, CHOP, Crozer, any child in need," explained Smith.
There was plenty of food to choose from as well. Angelina's was on hand selling hoagies and cannolis while Christopher Chocolates had something for your sweet tooth and Burlap and Bean was there to give you a little caffeine buzz. Speaking of buzz, local honey farmers Honey By The Bees were selling honey and showing off a hive.
Driven Robotics may be more futuristic than historical, but this local high school robot building team was present to do some old-fashioned fundraising. They were selling food to help raise money for their next competitions.
Newtown Square Historical Society members Lisa McCauley and Cathy Cavalier-Gach focused on getting vendors with elements of traditional heritage to maintain the original idea of the event. McCauley also wanted to bring in groups that had a touch of "the modern world."
One of the big new attractions was the Antique Roadshow. During the year, the society holds several public programs at Dunwoody Village and one of the most popular events include bringing in an antique expert. The antique expert is on hand to evaluate certain items residents have brought. To spur off of this idea, the historical society brought in Wilson Antiques to examine items that residents brought to the fair on Saturday.
The day was a great mix of old and new, but it was all uniquely Newtown Square.
Editor's note: Don't forget to check out our gallery of Newtown Square Historic Day here.
Get involved with the past. The Newtown Square Historical Society is always looking for volunteers or new members.