Upcoming Events

March 11th – 7 PM – To Be Announced

March 17th – 1 to 3 PM – Spring Open House with artist Eli Moniz

April 6th – 3PM – Ambler Historic Walking Tours. Registration required.

April 8th – 7 PM, Robert Harley, His Family’s Boxwood Farm and His
Grandfather, Dick Harley, Professional Baseball Player

Apr 20th – 1-3 PM –  WVHS tour of Historic Trappe with Executive Director
Lisa Minardi. Advance registration required, $15 donation. Registration due April 1st.

April 20th – 3PM – Ambler Historic Walking Tours. Registration required.

May 4th – 3PM – Ambler Historic Walking Tours. Registration required.

May 13th, 2024 – 7 PM, Bernadette Dougherty, “The Deck Family: 100+
Years of History in Ambler” and Election of Officers.

Patron’s Party: To be Announced

May 18th – 3PM – Ambler Historic Walking Tours. Registration required.

June 1st – 3PM – Ambler Historic Walking Tours. Registration required.

June 10th – 6:30 PM, WHVS Picnic

June 15th – 3PM – Ambler Historic Walking Tours. Registration required.

Save the Date! Sept 14, 2025, 1-4 PM, William Penn Inn, WVHS 50th Anniversary
Celebration

Past Events

February 12th 2024 – 6:30 PM at the Ambler Library

Dr. Friederike. Baer, Penn State Professor and author of new award-winning book, Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War 

Monday, January 8th, 2024 at 7:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Do you own something strange or unusual? Perhaps something odd or historic? Bring it and share what you know!

Please bring an item for SHOW and TELL: WVHS Meeting on Monday, January 8, at 7 PM. The meeting will be a “Show and Tell,” so bring one of your historic or special items to the meeting and be prepared to tell the group about it—just 3-5 minutes.

Prior Show-and-Tell programs were great fun with a chance for guests to learn new things and enjoy each other’s company. Light refreshments and social time will complete the evening

Monday, December 11th at 6:30 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Holiday Party!

For WVHS members and a significant other
• Monday, December 11th
• 6:30 PM (Note the start time)
• POTLUCK, so please bring finger foods or desserts
• BYOB—WVHS will supply beverages and paper goods
• Bring items ready to serve (for example, on a platter)
• Bring the serving utensils you will need
• Available to set-up or clean-up? Let us know: info@wvalleyhs.org
• If you have not paid your 2023-2024 WVHS dues, please pay at the
meeting ($25 per individual or $35 per couple/family).

Wednesday, December 6th – 7pm at the Historical Society of Montgomery County

Monday, November 13th at 7:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Megan McNish of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office will present  Understanding the Programs of the Pennsylvania SHPO

PA SHPO is part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), which is the commonwealth’s official history agency. PA SHPO administers the commonwealth’s historic preservation program as authorized by the Pennsylvania History Code and the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. PA SHPO administers a variety of programs, including the National Register of Historic Places, Certified Local Government, and Keystone Grants, which can benefit communities across the commonwealth. Understanding the programs of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office explains the PA SHPO’s responsibilities, initiatives, and how they can benefit Pennsylvania’s communities.

With an office near WVHS, at Historic Hope Lodge, Megan McNish is the Eastern Region Community Preservation Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). As the Eastern region’s community preservation coordinator, she provides technical assistance to Certified Local Governments and community preservation partners. Prior to joining the SHPO, Megan was a historic preservation planner for the City of Columbia, South Carolina, where she reviewed preservation projects at the local level. A graduate of Gettysburg College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in history, and West Virginia University, where she received her master’s degree in public history, Megan is passionate about helping communities find ways to preserve their historic places.

In November, PA SHPO will be touring Ambler Borough with the Ambler Storytellers, setting boundaries for a new historic district to help define Ambler as a “company town.” This is just one of several steps in the process of gaining recognition. In addition, Megan has also been helpful to WVHS as SEPTA threatens to demolish Ambler train station’s pre-Civil War Freight House.

Sunday, October 29th from 1:00 – 3:00 at the Frankliville School

1701 Morris Road, Blue Bell, PA 19422

For the first time since the decline of the pandemic, WVHS’s historic 1858 Franklinville One-room Schoolhouse on Morris Road (west of Route 202 inside Normandy Farms) will be open to the public this coming Sunday, October 29 from 1 to 3PM.

Please join us for an opportunity to go back in time and learn what it was like for 19th century school children to spend an entire day, six days a week attending school to learn—among other things, reading, writing, arithmetic, American history and geography.

You will also see first hand, some of the recent and ongoing renovations that many of you made possible at this historic structure that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

Monday, October 9th at 7:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Lisa Minardi, Pennsylvania German specialist will present Historic Trappe and the Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania

Lisa Minardi is the executive director of Historic Trappe, home to several house museums associated with the Muhlenberg family and the new Center for Pennsylvania German Studies, and she is also the executive director of the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia. She worked as a curator at Winterthur Museum for over a decade. Her PhD research involves the German-speaking community in early Philadelphia.

She is the author of many books and articles on Pennsylvania German art and culture, including Pastors & Patriots: The Muhlenberg Family of Pennsylvania and A Colorful Folk: Pennsylvania Germans & the Art of Everyday Life. Her latest book, just published in late September, is Native Son: The Life and Art of David Ellinger, and it serves as the catalog for Historic Trappe’s latest exhibition.

Lisa will present on the Muhlenbergs, described online as “a political, religious, and military dynasty.”

Sunday, September 17th from 1:00 – 3:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

 

Featuring a Private Collection about Woolworth’s Lunch Counter. Past President Frank Russo (with Joan Duxbury’s help) is showing off hundreds of items, including an Ambler Woolworth’s waitress uniform and Woolworth’s dishes and serving ware. He is including some prized dishes used at a South Carolina lunch counter during a 1960 Civil Rights Sit-In! As a fund-raiser, lunch-counter dessert and coffee will be served.
Please enjoy the treat and make a donation.

Monday, September 11th at 7:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Russ Bellavance will pesent: Lafayette’s Farewell Tour as The Nation’s Guest

In 1784, the Marquis de Lafayette returned to America as a representative of France. He spent a week at Mount Vernon and then departed from his beloved George Washington, expecting to return again soon. Events intervened, including the French Revolution, and Lafayette did not return again until 1824, when Congress and President Monroe begged the Hero of Two Worlds to make a final farewell tour.

 
Thursday, August 17th at 2:00 at Wissahickon Valley Public Library – Blue Bell
 
Monday, June 12th 
6:30 at the 1895 Schoolhouse
 
 
Announcing the WVHS June Picnic and “Fun Fund-raiser”: Monday,
June 12, at 6:30 PM
Join us for a Potluck Picnic on Monday, June 12, starting at 6:30 PM (the
usual second Monday of the month, but starting a little earlier than usual).

• Bring your favorite picnic dish, and WVHS will supply the plates,
utensils, and beverages.
• The entertainment will include the traditional “Corn Auction.”
• Guests will purchase raffle tickets (10 for $10) and use them to bid on
wrapped items. Be prepared; please bring cash.
• Bring a wrapped “gift” for someone to purchase—It can be a valuable
thing or something to make us all laugh. It’s up to you, but the buyer
will not know.
• If you plan to attend, please send us an email, so we can be ready:
info@wvalleyhs.org

 
 

Monday, May 8th at the 1895 Schoolhouse at 7:00

Josh Kasper is the Assistant Executive Director of the American War of
Independence (AWI) Privateer Museum, Schooner Pursuit Historical
Society. He says, “I have been involved in living history in one form or
another since I was born and have been with the AWI Privateer Museum
since 2017… I have also worked as a historical interpreter at Washington
Crossing State Park between 2019 and April of this year. Recommended
to WVHS by Frank Russo, Josh will tell us more about his organization, its
mission, and the important role of privateers during the American
Revolution.
 
 

May 6th – Ambler Historic Walking Tours

Monday, April 10th

Mark Ashton will present: Thomas Ustick Walter, from West Chester to Washington

In early 19th century America, the occupation of ‘architect’ was just becoming recognized, and as North America’s wealthiest city, Philadelphia was the place to be when it came to building ‘big’ or with a cutting edge.

Early Philadelphia was home to Benjamin Latrobe, William Strickland, and John Notman, each of whom has left us with a remarkable architectural legacy. But perhaps the pre-eminent architect of antebellum America did almost as much work in suburban West Chester, Pennsylvania, as he did in the city. Then, Thomas Ustick Walter departed for Washington D.C., where he built iconic buildings, including the House and Senate Chambers of the U.S. Capitol, as well as its majestic dome.

Retired attorney and “reformed” pirate-lecturer Mark Ashton recently presented an exhibit of Walter’s work in the U.S. and abroad at the Altman Gallery of Historic Yellow Springs in Chester Springs, PA. He will give us an armchair tour of Walter’s work in our region and abroad, as well as explain the architect’s financially chaotic life in a day when banking and investment were fairly described as “unregulated.”

 

Tuesday, March 14th – Historical Society of Montgomery County Presents: Introduction to Genealogy

6:00 – 8:00 at HSMC: 1654 DeKalb St.
Norristown, PA 19401

 

Monday, March 13th at the 1895 Schoolhouse at 7:00

Archeology in Center City Philadelphia

Stephen W. Tull is Vice President of AECOM’s Cultural Resource Management Department.  He will explain the National Historic Preservation Act, which spells out why Archaeologists excavate ahead of United States infrastructure projects. Then he will help us explore over 8000 years of local history that has been discovered as part of the PennDOT I-95 GIR Highway Improvement Project in Philadelphia.

AECOM has managed numerous multi-million-dollar projects throughout the US. Today, Stephen is the project manager for the I-95 dig, uncovering the lost history of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. He and his staff have collected almost 2 million artifacts!  Besides just “the dig”, AECOM oversees a small Center City museum, which displays what his group has found.

https://aecom-burlington.com/

 

Monday, February 13th at the 1895 Schoolhouse at 7:00

Join us for a “Show and Tell,” at WVHS. Visitors are encouraged to bring a historic or
special item to the meeting and give a 3-5 minute talk on it. Prior Show and Tell programs were great fun with a chance for guests to learn new things and enjoy each other’s company. Light refreshments and social time will complete the evening.

 
Saturday, December 17th and January 21st

3:00 – Ambler Historic Walking Tours

Ambler Storytellers are hosting walking tours of Ambler on the following Saturdays: December 17th, January 7th and January 21st. The tours will emphasize the importance of preservation and will begin at 3:00. Click here to learn more.

 

Monday, December 12th

6:30 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Get into the spirit of the holidays at our Holiday Potluck party! Please bring a dish to share (appetizers or desserts) ready to serve. RSVP to info@wvalleyhs.org to let us know you will be attending.

 

Wednesday, December 7th

6:00 to 8:00 at the Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1654 DeKalb Street
Norristown, PA 19401

Our friends at the Historical Society of Montgomery County are presenting: Reading Your House, Researching Your Home.

Many people entering the doors of our Research Library & Archives are searching for information about their home. When was it built? What did it look like originally? Why does it look the way it does now? What can I do to preserve it? Who built it and who lived in it? This class will offer an introduction to some resources and tools that will help anyone discover a little more about their home. Click on this link to learn more!

https://hsmcpa.org/index.php/events

From our October 2021 Newsletter – Tips on How to Research Your Home

WVHS, Searching a PLOT’s Genealogy, 2021

 

Monday, November 14th

7:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

This month’s speaker is Jeff Marshall, President Emeritus of the Heritage Conservancy in Doylestown. Jeff has worked for over 40 years in historic preservation and land conservation. Earlier this year, he was awarded the F. Otto Haas Award by Preservation Pennsylvania, a statewide historic preservation organization. This award honors outstanding individual or group achievements in the field of historic preservation over an extended period, and is presented to recognize contributions and consistent achievement above the standards of the profession. Jeff serves on the Board of the National Barn Alliance and was a founder and president of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of PA. An author of six books on land protection and historic preservation, he will present his recent publication, Barnstorming in Eastern Pennsylvania & Beyond, which will cover many examples of historic barns throughout our area.

Saturday, October 15, 22, and 29

3:00 at the Ambler Train Station on Short Race St. (the former Bussinger’s model train store)

WVHS offered Historic Walking Tours of Ambler, sponsored by the Ambler Storytellers. Tours covered the historic buildings in downtown Ambler. You will be surprised what you have overlooked and what you will learn! Tour guides will define what Ambler’s buildings looked like before they were modernized, and the tour will take about 1 ½ hours to complete. (Perhaps plan a dinner afterwards at your favorite Ambler restaurant?) Tours will begin at the Ambler Train Station, near the
former Bussinger model train store. Tours are free, but a donation is requested. 

Monday, October 17th, 2022

7:00 at the 1895 Schoolhouse

Tom Wiekowski, PhD, Chair of the Cheltenham Historical Commission and Vice-President of the Old York Road Historical Society, will speak on his new book about three generations of the Barkers, influential 19th-Century bankers from Chelten Hills. (Please note the location of this meeting!)

Tom states, “Family luminaries include Jacob, largest ship owner in the United States at the beginning of the 19th century and the financier of the War of 1812; Abraham, president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, cofounder of the Union League, and an ardent Abolitionist; Anna, a central figure in the Transcendentalist movement and wife of the co-founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Wharton, US presidential candidate and international banker honored with knighthood by Czar Alexander in 1879 for constructing four warships at the Cramp shipyard in Philadelphia for the
Russian navy. Abraham was a founder of Camp William Penn and Wharton
served as an officer at the camp during his summer vacation from the
University of Pennsylvania in 1863.”

Sunday, October 16, 2022

1-3 PM. Open House at the 1895 School, featuring a special Amchem exhibit.

Saturday, October 15th, 2022 at Noon

On October 15th The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society hosted a luncheon at the William Penn Inn to honor Russ Bellavance for his decades long contribution as WVHS president and as a Leader to preserve local history. 

All proceeds went to fund air conditioning at the 1895 Whitpain Public School, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
 
 
On September 14, WVHS celebrated the safeguarding of the historic Milestone, located at the Centre Square Fire Company.  The fire department and Whitpain Township were both acknowledged for moving the road marker and storing it for four years during road construction.  The 250-year-old Milestone was recently returned to its original position.
 
The Mileston states “18 M to P,” meaning “18 miles to Philadelphia.”  Placed by the Crown, the markers were used to set postal rates and served as addresses for the scattered property owners in the area.
 
 WVHS extends it appreciation to the following businesses who donated to the event:  Giant Foods, Pudges Steaks and Hoagies, Roma Bakery, and Whitpain Tavern.
 
Thursday, June 23, 2022
 
 
A Members Party with a Reservation at Bluestone
Country Club. Please enjoy a tour and complimentary reception. The
optional tour will be indoors, so bring a mask; the reception is outdoors.
Due to limited space, WVHS has sent an email with details to paid
members only. For non-members who wish to attend, it’s not too late: The
membership application is online at https://www.wvalleyhs.org/getinvolved/
 
Tuesday, June 14, 2022
 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Special Open House for WVHS at the EvansMumbower Mill, located at the junction of Swedesford and Township Line Roads in Upper Gwynedd. Wissahickon Trails has invited WVHS as guests to see the mill in operation!

Monday, May 4, 2022

Come join us this coming Monday May 9 at 6:30PM in the Wissahickon Valley Library Community Room (at 650 Skippack Pike in Blue Bell) for a talk entitled “Typhoid Mary: Irish Immigrant” presented by local historian Jim Miller.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Mark Ashton, lawyer and longtime WVHS member, will talk about the Golden Age of Piracy in the Americas and muse about how a class of people — noted mostly for rape, robbery, and other hanging offenses– are still celebrated by the Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay sports franchises.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Our speaker for March is Jenn Bilger, Executive Director of  Wissahickon Trails (formerly the Wissahickon Watershed). She will be talking about the history of the Wissahickon and especially the connections it provides.

The Wissahickon Creek Watershed begins in the middle of Montgomery County, creates a lovely valley in Fairmount Park, and then enters the Schuylkill River. It has a rich history. Early mills, like the nearby Evans-Mumbower Mill, harnessed its energy to provide mill services and power for the early settlers in our area; Washington’s army camped along its banks; and many of us have hiked its Green Ribbon Trail.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Monday, February 7, 2022

Great topic! Author Tamra Phillips will speak on The History of Blue Bell’s Grace Baptist Church on its 150th Anniversary

Monday, September 13th, 2021 – Researching Historic Deeds

If you are fully vaccinated, please join us for the first meeting of our new year to be held on Monday, September 13, starting at 6 PM.  Please note the time and location:  We will meet at the Wissahickon Valley Public LIbrary at
 
650 W Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422.

We will be following Montgomery County COVID restrictions, so masks will be required for everyone throughout the meeting. 
We are meeting at the library to help with social distancing.

In addition, individuals who are fully vaccinated are welcome. 

A membership meeting with the election of officers will begin at 6 PM.

The speaker will begin promptly at 6:30 PM.  Jeanne Sorg, Ambler Mayor and Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds, will present “Researching Historic Deeds.”

The remarks will end by 7:45 to allow time for the library’s closing at 8.  No refreshments are planned.

Monday, March 9th, 2020 – Area Colonial Taverns

Light Refreshments at 6:30, Presentation at 7:00

Presented by Russ Bellavance

The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society invites the public to a meeting on Monday, March 9 at 7:00 PM at the 1895 Schoolhouse, 799  Skippack Pike at School Road in Blue Bell. Light refreshments will be served at 6:30.  The  program will be Area Colonial Taverns including William Penn Inn, Spring House Tavern and the Blue Bell Inn. The program is presented by Russ Bellavance.

Three of the oldest colonial taverns in the area are the William Penn Inn and Spring House Tavern in Lower Gwynedd Township and the Blue Bell Inn in Whitpain Township. Delve into the history of these three taverns with Russ, who is apparently no stranger to
colonial taverns.

Monday February 10th, 2020 – The Battle of Whitemarsh

Light Refreshments at 6:30, Presentation at 7:00

Presented by Bob Bradley

The Wissahickon Valley Historical Society invites the public to a meeting on Monday, February 10 at 7:00 PM at the 1895 Schoolhouse, 799  Skippack Pike at School Road in Blue Bell. The program will be The Battle of Whitemarsh presented by Bob Bradley.

Bob will give an overview of the events in 1777 following the Battle of Germantown to the march into the winter camp at Valley Forge. Having lost two major battles within a month, the Continental Army was utterly exhausted and needed rest and resupply. George Washington and the army spent weeks attempting to resupply and make their way closer to British occupied Philadelphia, all while figuring out their next move. Find out what happened during the final chapter of the Philadelphia Campaign with army’s encampment in the hills of the Whitemarsh area, and Sir William Howe’s attack on the Continental position in early December. Several local sites (St. Thomas Church, Emlen House, Hope Lodge, Skippack Pike) played roles in the Battle of Whitemarsh

Monday January 13th, 2020 – The Writings of George Washington

Presented by Russ Bellavance