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Trench Art: Beautiful Remnants of War

In their free time, soldiers, especially during World War I, created folk art from discarded bullets, shell casings, and other materiel.

They kept their creations as souvenirs or gave them as gifts to loved ones when they returned from war.

Ryan Berley will share with us the history of Trench Art and show examples from his collection.

The Historical Society will also display the vase that local resident, Von Byre, brought home to his mother. The vase is part of the NPHS’s permanent collection.

Trench Art
Thursday, April 11 at 7:00 PM
Helen Kate Furness Free Library – Chadwick Auditorium

About the Speaker: Ryan Berley, Curator of the Rose Valley Museum at Thunderbird Lodge, has a life-long interest in antiques. He and his brother are owners of Franklin Fountain and of Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia.

The program is presented by the Nether Providence Historical Society and is free and open to the public. Please RSVP using the contact form below.

“What the Boys Use When They Go Over the Top”

Second only to the many brave Delaware Countians who served in the armed forces in WWI, the County’s most significant contribution to America’s war effort was rifle production in Eddystone.

Join us to learn the story of the remarkable industrial achievement of the Eddystone Rifle Plant, located on the far side of the Baldwin Locomotive Works property. It was America’s largest rifle plant and produced the majority U.S rifles, almost 2 million.

The Eddystone Rifle Plant During WWI
Wednesday, March 13 at 7:00 PM
Helen Kate Furness Free Library – Chadwick Auditorium

About the Speaker: Kurt Sellers is a retired Major in the U.S. Army, a graduate of West Point, and served in the 1991 Gulf War. A volunteer researcher for the United States WWI Centennial Commission, Kurt has received approval on behalf of Eddystone Borough for a state historic marker to be placed near the site of the old rifle factory on Route 13.

The program is presented by the Nether Providence Historical Society and is free and open to the public. Please RSVP using the contact form below.

 

William Penn Weekend

The last weekend of September, local historical organizations will commemorate the 300th anniversary of William Penn’s death with a schedule of activities celebrating his legacy of tolerance.

  • Thursday, September 27: Lecture at Lima Estates, 7:00 PM
  • Friday, September 28: Colonial Music Presentation, 6:00 to 7:30 PM at Newlin Grist Mill
  • Saturday, September 29: Bus & Car Tour of Historic Sites (contact Delaware County Historical Society for details: 610 359-0832).
  • Sunday, September 30: Self-Guided Tours of Historic Sites

Nether Providence Historical Society will have a display of Sharpless family history at Chester Meeting House (520 East 24th Street, Chester) on Sunday afternoon from 1:00 until 3:00 PM.

The John and Jane (Moore) Sharpless (Sharples) family were the first permanent English settlers in what became Nether Providence, in 1682 on a Penn land grant. They are buried at the Chester Meeting House. A son, after finishing the house his father started, “Wolley Stille,” on today’s Harvey Road lived in a house on Providence Great Road from 1700 until 1720, now known as 322 North Providence Road.

Other sites open Sunday afternoon are the Pusey Plantation in Upland, and the Delaware County Historical Society Library and Museum in Chester, and the 1724 Court House next door.

Come visit local history sites this special Penn weekend, especially our Sharpless display at the Chester Meeting House!

Lecture: Art & Archaeology – M. Louise Baker

To early 20th century archaeologists digging in the Middle East and South America for 2,000-year-old artifacts, the most popular woman in America was artist M. Louise Baker – and she lived in Wallingford!

An artist, Baker worked at University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology from 1908 to 1936. She traveled the world at the request of archeologists to illustrate their finds. Watercolors and reconstructions make up the over 500 works of hers that are in the Penn Museum today.

In retirement, Baker lived on Brookside Road with a studio above the garage that had a large window for sun and views.

Dr. Elin Danien, a research associate at the Penn Museum, will give an illustrated talk about Ms. Baker and her art on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 at the Helen Kate Furness Library.

Come learn about a Nether Providence resident, well-known to others, but not to us – until now.

Local Family’s Immigrant Roots

In February, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a piece about the Kassab family. Penned by a granddaughter of the patriarch who brought the family to Nether Providence, the article was entitled A Syrian Immigrant’s American Story. Marie Kassab Helfferich described her family’s roots in Syria and the welcome they experienced as immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century.

The family is so well established in Nether Providence and Media that you would be hard pressed to find a longtime resident without some connection to a Kassab. Many were patients of the family – more than a few of Dr. Kassab’s progeny were or are dentists.

Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

Did your family’s immigrant story find its way to our township? We’d love to feature it here. Send an email to info@nphistory.org.

Nancy Webster Publishes Colonial Cooking Article

Early American Life - Feb 2017Well-known local historian, Nancy Webster, has an article in the newest issue of Early American Life.  Entitled How the Lesser Sort Ate, it is about colonial cooking for every-day people. The women could not cook all day because they had many other jobs to do, including raising children. Nancy writes about what cooking tools they had, what foods were available when, and even sharing of food. The article grew out of a recent presentation Nancy made at a meeting of the Historic Foodways Society of the Delaware Valley, held in Warminster, PA.

The article is not posted on the magazine’s website, but you can pick up a copy at Barnes & Noble.

100 Years Ago Today – Flower Show at Bickmore Farms

Chester Times, April 17, 1916.

Chester Times, April 17, 1916.

The April 17, 1916 Chester Times carried a report of a horticultural exhibit at Bickmore Farms where Milton H. Bickley had a large nursery operation on his property at Palmer’s Corner (the corner of Providence and Rose Valley Roads).

The flower show became an annual event to which the public was invited every year on Palm Sunday.

Milton Horace Bickley owned, along with his father, a drug store at 4th and Market Streets in Chester. He purchased the 102-acre Cedar Lane Farm from James Miller in 1913 and called it Bickmore; a combination of his last name and his father, Mortimore Bickley’s first name. There, he raised a variety of flowers in 19 large greenhouses (300′ x 75′). There was a 75′ smokestack for the furnace used to heat the greenhouses.

The family also ran a poultry farm on the property. In 1916, there were regular advertisements placed in the Chester Times announcing “we have just installed a big hall incubator and decided to do some custom hatching. You can bring, or buy your eggs from us. We also have baby chicks for sale.”

Milton Bickley died in 1937.

In 1944, W. J. Messmer, a Chester florist, purchased the Bickmore nursery on the south side of Rose Valley Road. The purchase included 60,000 square feet of glass-enclosed greenhouses.

By 1954, the 15 acre site had been purchased by the Wallingford Development Company. When the nursery buildings were razed to make way for 22 houses, it took two blasts of dynamite to level the smokestack. The neighborhood was named Bickmore Hills. The first of the split level houses were completed by July and offered for sale at $15,590.

Bickley Druggist and Apothecary at 4th and Market Streets in Chester

Bickley Druggist and Apothecary at 4th and Market Streets in Chester