Contributions to Historic Preservation



Frick's Meetinghouse Exhibit


With the permission & blessing of Henry Rosenberger, custodian for the Fricks Conservancy, Digging History has built a display featuring 31 period artifacts unearthed on the Frick's Meetinghouse property in Hatfield in 2013.  On Saturday, 25 January 2014, the display was presented to Henry at his homestead in Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania. 



Ultimately, the display will be presented to the Mennonite Heritage Museum on Yoder Road in Franconia, Pennsylvania.



A small display containing about 16 relics from Frick's Meetinghouse has also been assembled by Digging History for the Hatfield Museum & History Society of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. 


Walter Kulp's Creekside Dump

As a result of the Walter Kulp House dump dig in 2012, Digging History had discovered 3 artifacts with significance to Hatfield's medical profession: a pocket thermometer case with Dr. L.L. Cope, MD's name printed on it, a clear glass medicine bottle embossed with Dr. Titus Albright's name, and a small pair of medical scissors.  These three artifacts have been mounted in a small display for the Hatfield Museum & History Society of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. 



The display was presented to the Society during their March 2014 meeting. The program had a high turnout (about 100 people) and the display was well received.

A Digging History team member found this comb at the Walter Kulp dump site in Hatfield and identified it as a souvenir of the former Souderton Hotel, an establishment in central Souderton Borough, Pennsylvania that stood at Front & Broad Streets.
 



The comb has been retained by the finder in his personal collection.  Souderton Borough was founded in 1887 on community growth around a station on the North Pennsylvania Railway.  It is shown on the 1894 Montgomery County atlas as owned by D.H. Meyers.  Today, it is known as the Olde Indian Valley Inn. 

A third recovery from the Kulp dump that was donated to HMHS upon completion of the display mount is a broken medium-sized Philadelphia-style axe head, which has been de-rusted, preserved, and mounted by Digging History. It was donated in the fall of 2015.



Hunsicker Grist Mill Blacksmith's Hammer

This blacksmith's hammer, age uncertain, was found along the Perkiomen Creek near the now-abandoned Gypsy Rose estate.  Historical research indicates that ruins nearby are a former grist mill owned and operated by the Hunsicker family and the hammer may have been used at the mill.  Despite its poor excavated condition, the hammer cleaned up well for preservation and now sports a new wood handle.

 

The hammer was discovered a few years before Digging History was founded and had been in the collection of a team member until a serious effort to formally donate it to the Skippack Historical Society could be made. 

The hammer was formally presented to SHS on June 26, 2014 during their summer meeting at the Indenhofen Farmstead on Skippack Pike, where it was received with gracious enthusiasm by society director Walt Johnson. 



Local Trapper's Tag

This tag was found on the former Chester Knipe farm in Hatfield Township, Pennsylvania.  The name inprinted into it is "Geo. Smith / Hilltown / PA"; George Smith was the son of a family employed & boarded by the Knipes on their farm between 1907 and the early 1960s. 



Trap tags were often homemade and served the purpose of identifying a trap's owner in the event of loss, theft, or recovery by the area authority.  This tag was unearthed last spring along the west branch of the Neshaminy Creek. It was found bent completely in two. After cleaning and straightening, it was donated to the Hilltown Historical Society of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.


David Rosenberger Homestead

Long rifle muskets were initially developed in the early 18th century and endured for about a century before newer technology phased them out following the War of 1812.  Pennsylvania-made long rifles, particularly those produced by the Pennsylvania Dutch, were known for their heels' sharp overhangs like the one shown here.

Shown is a plate recovered by Digging History on a Hatfield property dating back to the mid-1700s originally belonging to the Rosenberger ancestry, and a diagram of musket parts on the right (courtesy of Eric Saunders). 

 

The heel plate was donated to the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Franconia, Pennsylvania on July 12, 2014, as it was found on land originally owned by a historically Mennonite family.



A second artifact unearthed at the homestead site is an unusual Philadelphia/Jersey style axe head with a forged carry loop that has been mounted and has been donated to the Hatfield Museum & History Society during their first 2015 meeting. 


"Decoration Day" Printing Plate

DH founder Jonathan was out on a personal hunt at Brandywine Springs Park in Delaware with some friends when he unearthed this turn of the 1900s printing plate featuring a "Decoration Day" logo.  "Decoration Day" is the original name for the Memorial Day holiday, which was initially coined in the aftermath of the Civil War by Gen. John Logan, and officially established as a national holiday in 1967 by Nixon's administration.

Here you can see the face of the original plate, a flipped image, and a "map" of the motifs:



You may click on each picture to view an enlarged image.

The plate measures about 2" square and has been officially donated to the Red Clay Valley Visitors Center museum, which houses artifacts from the former Brandywine Springs Amusement Park (1886-1923) and is maintained by the Friends of Brandywine Springs organization.


Regional Native American Artifacts

During the course of Digging History's recovery projects, or even during normal personal activities, occasionally artifacts of American Indian manufacture are found.  Such artifacts of significance will be displayed here.

This primitive stone axe was identified and dated to the Mesolithic period by Lee Hallman, a curator at the Museum of Indian Culture in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  It was found in the Skippack Creek and, according to Lee, is worn to the degree that any further wear would have obscured the workmanship beyond recognition. It measures about 7 inches long by about 4 inches wide.



The head also features a fletching notch (top), indicating that it saw many generations of usage before it found its way to the creekbed. 



Digging History has crafted a handle for context and has donated the artifact to the Skippack Historical Society in October 2014.



Calling Card Printing Template

This unique item was unearthed in Lower Saucon Township on the Lehigh University Campus and has been identified as a printing template for a calling card. Calling cards were a form of personal identification, usually reserved for middle class businessmen or upper class elite. The name on the card is "Hr Ludwig C. Flaccus", a German engineer who twice visited the Lehigh Valley to conduct business with Bethlehem Steel; he was awarded four patents for steel industry mechanisms during his visits.

Here, you can see a close-up view of the name, reversed in Photoshop for easy viewing:



During the course of research it was determined that Flaccus was actually Ludwig Konrad Flaccus, a minor baron in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II. It is unknown why he changed his middle name during his travels to the United States (he used Carl on his patent applications), other than the possibility that he was here for the secondary purpose of spying on US industry capabilities and may have conspired to sabotage, if necessary.

Incidentally, the #4 machine shop - where heavy guns were manufactured for the Allied powers during WWI - was destroyed by fire on 10 November 1915. Sabotage was immediately suspected, as approximately 800 guns were also lost in the fire, but the cause was ultimately determined to be faulty electrical wiring. (Courtesy of the Lehigh Valley Historical Archive)

 

The calling card template was accepted for exhibition at the National Museum of Industrial History (a Smithsonian affiliate) in Bethlehem by collections curator Andrea Zaia on 14 September 2016. Ms. Zaia added that the Travel Channel expressed an interest in any NMIH artifact that could be featured on their show Mysteries at the Museum, and that the calling card template certainly qualifies!








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