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HSP Surveys Collection

Von Byre DiaryThe Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s “Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories” seeks to ferret out the hidden, but often important, archival collections held by the many small, primarily volunteer-run historical organizations in the five county Philadelphia area.

Project Surveyors recently visited the Leiper House to view the Nether Providence Historical Society’s collection.

They posted an account of what they found on the HSP’s blog, Archival Adventures in Small Repositories.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of World War I, so they focused their post on the collection of materials we hold related to the Byre family. Von Byre served in WWI and kept a journal of his June 1918 voyage to Europe on a troop ship.

Friends of Thomas

FrontEntryBuilt by Philadelphia merchant Thomas Leiper (1745 – 1825) the mansion sits above Crum Creek on his summer estate, Strath Haven, named for Leiper’s birth place in Strathaven, Scotland.

The house was scheduled for demolition to make way for the Mid-County Expressway (I-476). Through the joint efforts of interested citizens and Nether Providence Township, the expressway was re-routed and the historic house was saved. The house is furnished with circa 1800 antiques, including some Leiper family pieces. Its four remaining outbuildings are restored. Displays reflect Mr. Leiper’s prominence in manufacture, transportation, and politics in the development of the area, the state, and the nation.

The 1785 house is a fine example of Federal Period architecture and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of the Thomas Leiper House, a separate organization from Nether Providence Historical Society, together with Nether Providence Township, maintain the house and its outbuildings.

The Friends recently sent out their annual appeal for donations. The Township covers the bulk of the maintenance, but it is up to the Friends to fund the maintenance of the collection, to maintain a staff of volunteers to open the house for tours and other programs, and to chip in on larger projects.

Attached is the Friends membership form. Will you help with the preservation of this community treasure? Download the membership form and send in your contribution.

Perfect for Holiday Gift-Giving

Hot off the presses – a new reprint of A Brief History of Nether Providence, first published in 2010.

Pick up a copy (or two) at Furness Library, the Leiper House, or the Township Building.

At only $10, it makes a great stocking-stuffer or a thoughtful and unique hostess gift.

Diamond Named for Nether’s Favorite Slugger

New Sign at Mickey Vernon Field

New Sign at Mickey Vernon Field

New signs, created and installed by the Township, identify the baseball field at the corner of Westminster Drive and Bullens Lane, dedicated last year to baseball great and former Nether Providence resident Mickey Vernon.

James Barton Vernon was born in Marcus Hook. He attended Villanova University then entered the minors. In 1939, he joined the Washington Senator, playing with them through 1955 except for two years of service in the Navy and a season and a half with the Cleveland Indians. He played for five teams, finishing his playing career with the 1960 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates. He later was a manager and coach. Vernon has the rare distinction of having played ball over 4 separate decades.

Vernon was named to seven All Star teams and is widely recognized as one of the best all-around first basemen of his time. Some argue that if he had played on better teams, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He was on the ballot in 2008, but was not voted in. A lefty, Vernon had 2,495 hits, 172 home runs and a career batting average of .286. He holds American League records for  double plays (2,044) and games played by a first baseman (2,237).

Mickey and Lib Vernon raised their daughter Gay in Nether Providence where they lived from 1951 through 2004. Mickey died in 2008 at the age of 90.

In 2003, Marcus Hook residents erected a life-size bronze statue of Vernon.

President John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Washington Senators Manager,  Mickey Vernon,  during opening day of the 1963 season at D.C. Stadium.

President John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Washington Senators Manager, Mickey Vernon, during opening day of the 1963 season at D.C. Stadium.

1955 Red Man Card

1955 Red Man Card

The Battle of Gettysburg

GettysburgAs the 150th anniversary of the Battle approaches, the Society will present a lively lecture and discussion on the battle that ended Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North.

Local Civil War buff and Gettysburg College alum, George Albany counts among his ancestors a soldier who was on the battlefield. Fought July 1st through 3rd, 1863, the battle of Gettysburg had the largest number of casualties in the Civil War and is considered to be  the war’s turning point.

Join us Sunday, June 2nd at 2:00 pm at The Helen Kate Furness Free Library at 100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford. The program is free and open to the public. Bring a friend!

New Acquisitions in the Leiper House Collection

Thomas Leiper Kane (1822 – 1883) was an American attorney, abolitionist, and military officer who served as a Union Army colonel and general of volunteers in the Civil War. He received a brevet promotion to major general for gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. Kane was born in Philadelphia, to John Kintzing Kane, a U.S. district judge, and Jane Duval Leiper. His brother was naval officer, physician, and explorer Elisha Kent Kane.

Thomas Leiper Kane (1822 – 1883) was an American attorney, abolitionist, and military officer who served as a Union Army colonel and general of volunteers in the Civil War. He received a brevet promotion to major general for gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. Kane was born in Philadelphia, to John Kintzing Kane, a U.S. district judge, and Jane Duval Leiper. His brother was naval officer, physician, and explorer Elisha Kent Kane.

The Leiper House will open for the season on Saturday, April 27th and will be open for tours each Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 until 4:00. Be sure to visit and see two recent acquisitions to the collection.

Mr. William Archard donated a large painting of the Leiper barn that once stood in the location of the parking lot. The picture was painted by Valerie Morrison in 1972, about two months before the barn was razed for construction of the Blue Route. It hangs in the middle bedroom, where the barn would have been visible from the windows.

In the fall, Mr. Thomas Africa of Warren, Pennsylvania, donated a china punch bowl that likely belonged to Thomas and Elizabeth Leiper. The bowl is decorated with the monogram of the Leiper’s son, William. William inherited it and other items from his parents and, having never married, left them to his nephews and nieces. A large painting of Avondale Village was left to Thomas Leiper Kane. Mr. Africa’s mother, a Kane descendant, left the painting to the Leiper House several years ago, as a bequest of her will. When the punch bowl was discovered, Mr. Africa kindly donated it as well. It now sits on the dining room table.

Another new display, courtesy of the efforts of Eagle Scout Dan Lordan, features the Leiper House’s antique tool collection.

Stop in for a tour!

 

 

Remembering Dick Clark

Dick Clark Memorial

Click to enlarge.

An informal memorial has sprung up at the corner of Dogwood Lane and Plush Mill Road, near the former home of the late Dick Clark. Clark and his family lived in Nether Providence in the early 60s, while he hosted American Bandstand in West Philadelphia.

An article in the January 1961 Delaware County Daily Times reports on an impromptu visit he paid to a Junior Assembly Dance being held at Summit School across the street from his home. The ‘tweens’ in attendance must have been thrilled when he stuck around to watch them do “The Pony.” Don’t remember that dance craze, made popular by Chubby Checker’s song, Pony Time?  Take a look.

Dick Clark Visits Dance

Click to enlarge.

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