secthead Resources

The Sculptress
Written by Marianne Heckles, Research Assistant and Coordinator of Photograph Collections   
March 23, 2017

     A360130Since it's still March, and March is Women's History Month, let's take a look at one of Lancaster County's most notable and rather interesting ladies: Blanche Nevin. Born in 1841, she was the middle of three sisters. As a child her family lived at Windsor Forge for a time while their home "Caernarvon Place" was being built on Columbia Avenue. Perhaps the most creative of the three Nevin sisters, Blanche studied art in Philadelphia when she was 21 and later continuted her studies in Italy where she fashioned a statue of General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In Lancaster, though, her most noted work is the Lion in the Park - a fountain sculpted into a lion at Reservoir Park. Miss Nevin was also quite the poet, possibly even a bit of a songstress, as she wrote a poem entitled "Jessie Come In" for Jessie Wilson, daughter of President Woodrow Wilson and husband of her nephew, Francis Sayre. Word is she even sang it to the couple as they arrived at her home at Windsor Forge upon their honeymoon visit. She made a lovely home at Windsor Forge later in her life, even adding a statue of Buddha on the lawn. She loved to entertain at the mansion, even hosting outings for the Lancaster County Historical Society in its early days. Miss Nevin passed away in 1925, but not before leaving quite the impression on Lancaster. She's pictured here in a photo by Frank Reid Diffenderfer, strumming her guitar on a boat. 

Little Munich
Written by Marianne Heckles, Research Assistant and Coordinator of Photograph Collections   
February 28, 2017

     2100109As long as there's been a Lancaster County, there's been beer and ale to drink. But it wasn't until the second wave of German immigrants arrived in the 1840s that the tap really begain to flow. Escaping the faltering German economy after the Napoleonic Wars suddenly became a boon to our own with their brewing expertise. Breweries cropped up all around the county, and by 1873 the Lancaster Board of Trade reported that there were 14 breweries in the county employing 80 workers, 40 horses and producing 775,000 gallons of beer per year. The city of Lancaster, in particular, was home to four prolific breweries - Sprenger, Haefner, Wacker and Rieker. With vaults of beer deep below the city's streets and brewhouses that towered over them, beer became big business and earned Lancaster the nickname "Little Munich". 

     Pictured here are Frank A. Rieker, right of the keg, John G. Forstberg, to the left, and employees of Rieker's Star Brewery enjoying the fruits of their labor, c. 1885. The Rieker Star Brewery was on West King Street. Rieker's Western Market Saloon at 602 West King Street is probably better known to current locals as the Historic Blue Star. To see more historic brewing photos of Lancaster, check out my "Little Munich" photograph exhibit in the lower level of  

Strike Up the Band!
Written by Marianne Heckles, Research Assistant and Coordinator of Photograph Collections   
January 12, 2017

     D020321A wise person once said that the whole purpose of music, since the beginning of time, is to make people happy. And I'd say this is entirely true. Just look at Burger's Orchestra, all decked out in their clownish costumes getting all giddy with their instruments. They're just raring to play. The band was led by Pirmin Burger - probably the man at the marimba - who owned Burger's Music Shoppe at 6 North Prince Street. Burger came by his musical talents naturally and somewhat genetically. His father was Christian Burger, a Reading native who led Buffalo Bill Cody's touring band during the 1880s. After leaving Cody's Wild West Show in 1890, Christian Burger settled in Lancaster, opened his music shop in 1896, had his own orchestra and even worked with the orchestra at the Fulton Opera House. Christian died in 1906 and eventually Pirmin took over the family business. Pirmin taught drum lessons, and, like his father, played in the Fulton Opera House orchestra. When he died in 1955, so did Burger's Music Shoppe, but this photo taken in 1921 keeps the music alive.

The Great Fair
Written by Marianne Heckles, Research Assistant and Coordinator of Photograph Collections   
September 29, 2016

911020019It's that time of year again. Yes, it's autumn and pumpkin spice everything season. But more important, it's fair season. It's that time of year when we all head to our local fair and gorge on fatty fried foods we wouldn't dare eat on a daily or even weekly basis. Toasted cheesburgers, Fink's french fries, maybe some pulled pork followed by ice cream and waffles or - that traditional fair staple - funnel cakes. Of course there's also the rides - the ferris wheel, the Scrambler, the Tilt-A-Whirl. And there's the prize winning produce and blue ribbon livestock. Maybe take a chance on the carnival games and win some goldfish that probably won't last the week. It's all fun and games and good food. And it's been a Lancaster County tradition for decades. Perhaps even a century. 

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Our Blogs

The History Bucket


Because the world is a bucketful of questions.  And someone's gotta answer them

While working with the object collections of we come across many questions.  Visit here to see some of the more unusual stories that we have uncovered.

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Historically Speaking


The staff and volunteers of the Archives Department at never know what they'll find when working on the documents and records in the collections.  Fortunately, when they do discover something noteworthy they are very willing to share!

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Marianne's PhotoBlog


Because pictures are worth a thousand words, but sometimes they need an interpreter.

You know that cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words? Ok, well, imagine the stories going on in my head after cataloging several hundred photos every single day!

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Wheatland: A Love Story

Who would have guessed that a young lady would fall in love with an old President and his old house?

One Young Lady, One Old House, Two Hundred Years of History

I’m Jennifer Walton, Museum Associate at President James Buchanan's Wheatland, and I love an old President and his old house! Over the past nine years, I’ve learned quite a lot about both, and I would love to share it with you!

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