Preserving the History of Ambler, Whitpain and Lower Gwynedd

Headquartered in the Whitpain 1895 Public School, the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society serves to educate the public about the heritage and history of the people, institutions and events that have influenced and shaped the communities of the Wissahickon School District which encompasses Whitpain Township, Lower Gwynedd Township and the Borough of Ambler.

Featured

Please see our new video about the history of the Franklinville School, prepared by the Montgomery County Historical Society to encourage donations to the renovations there.  WVHS appreciates the assistance of the MCHS! 

To support the Franklinville School repair work, please click on Donate.

The Wissahickon Valley Historic Society has completed the first phase of its renovations to Whitpain Township’s Franklinville School, and the society is seeking donations for further work.

The 1858 Franklinville School is the only remaining one-room schoolhouse in the area that will be open to the public. Others have become private residences or have been torn down.

The school is located on Morris Road and was once part of the historic Normandy Farms.

The Franklinville School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role, not only as a school, but as an early 20th-century community center. Thousands assembled there each summer for community picnics.

The start of the renovation project, which began earlier this year, included a new electrical panel, improved drainage, and waterproofing of the foundation. 

Initial funding was obtained primarily through a $20,000 PA legislative grant, offered by the Keystone Communities Program, and made available through Representative Liz Hanbidge. Individual donors have also supported the project.

Several essential renovations are still planned for the school, including rewiring, a new roof, new HVAC, rebuilding the front and back porches, and painting, inside and out.

The work is important to ensuring the integrity of the structure and to making it accessible to visitors. When all the renovations are complete, the building, furnished as a 19th century, one-room classroom, will be used to educate students and the community about the history and customs of our area. 

To complete the renovations, fund-raising continues. “We certainly appreciate every donation, large or small, and we will make sure each one is recognized publically,” said Joe Langella, WVHS vice president. “The contributions are important because we still have much costly work to do! In addition, when we preserve historic buildings, we enhance our neighborhoods.”

Donations of any size can be made online at www.wvalleyhs.org  or by mail to WVHS, P.O. Box 96, Ambler, PA  19002.

The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society promotes and preserves the history of Ambler Borough, Whitpain Township, and Lower Gwynedd Township. Its headquarters and museum are located in Blue Bell at the historic 1895 Public School. The society welcomes new members.

About Us

Founded in 1975 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society’s purpose is to preserve the local historical buildings, artifacts and folklore of the historic Wissahickon Valley.

The Franklinville School

The Franklinville School c.1858 is a white stucco one-room schoolhouse on an acre of ground, located at 1701 Morris Road, Blue Bell, between Normandy Farms Estates and the Windermere Community.  It is the only one-room schoolhouse open to the public in Whitpain Township.

The 1895 Public School

The two-story schoolhouse has a Library containing deeds, wills, photos, books, maps and genealogies, a 19th Century School Room and a Museum of local artifacts, focusing on items, pictures and records from the early farms and our industrial past.

Announcements and Coming Events

Click to view our latest newsletter!

Mark Your Calendar for these WVHS Activities in 2022:
 
December – Holiday Open House cancelled due to COVID
January – No meeting. Stay warm
February 7 – Great topic!  (This is the first Monday of the month, not the second. Please note the change of the date to avoid conflict with Valentines’ Day.) Author Tamra Phillips will speak on The History of Blue Bell’s Grace Baptist Church on its 150th Anniversary
March 14 – Wissahickon Trails speaker
April 11 – Speaker to be determined
April 24 – Wine and Cheese Fundraiser (Sunday, 1-3 pm)
May 9 – WVHS elections and speaker to be determined
June – Picnic—location to be determined
Also being planned:  Demonstration of the Evans-Mumbower Mill Get-together at Bluestone Country Club

September 2021 Newsletter

In this issue:

Although unofficial, a grant may be coming our way, Volunteers needed at fall street festivals, Meeting announcement: Monday, October 11th, Farewell to Yen Ho, history researcher and blogger, Flags commemorate September 11th, Open House on Sunday, Nov 7th

The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society’s
Pandemic 2020 Initiative
To help capture the extraordinary experiences of our community
during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society
is collecting stories and artifacts related to the pandemic of 2020. Images,
videos, diaries, poems, stories will all be accepted as part of the project.
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For attachments and files, please email them directly to
info@ wvalleyhs.org
or mail them to WVHS, P.O. Box 96, Ambler, Pa 19002
215-646-6541

Click here to learn more about Yen Ho’s website on Wissahickon Valley history!

Learn From the Past, Shape the Future

Pennsylvania’s Wissahickon Valley Region: A Story Worth Telling

Hello Everyone!
My name is Yen Ho, and I’ve been a member of the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society for 3 years. I am currently a graduate student at Drexel University, pursuing a Master’s degree in
Library and Information Science.
 
Prior to Drexel, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in historic preservation. I always have a curiosity about my hometown in Ambler (technically I live in Whitpain Township). What sparked my curiosity was the old buildings/homes that are still standing today in the Wissahickon Valley (Ambler, Whitpain, and Lower Gwynedd).
 
I want to know their history, and whether or not they should be recognized.
I have a history background, and I have the opportunity to express it through my research in my blog.
We invite you to sign up for our newsletter to stay informed of upcoming events, educational programs and community activities. Please email us at info@wvalleyhs.org if you prefer to have our newsletter mailed to you. Be sure to include your name and address, thank you.

Wissahickon Valley Historical Society is a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization