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Location: East Berlin, PA
Date Built: Late 18th--Early 19th Century
Handloomed textile lady
On Saturday 12, 2009, historic East Berlin, Pennsylvania held its 35th Annual Colonial Day in the town's National Historic District which was established in 1985. It was a juried show which consisted of over 100 artisans, many dressed in colonial garb demonstrating their methods of colonial living and selling their wares. The streets were lined with 18th century tinsmiths, candle makers, shake shavers, handloomed textile weavers, broom makers, and lathe turners. Some of the best juried work was displayed including muslim made cats, hooked and rag rugs, painted boxes, tavern signs, baskets, redware, chairs, herbs, scherenschnitte, boxwood, dried flowers, and indian corn. The event was held from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The weather cooperated most of the day except for light drizzle early in the morning.
Andrew C Maher, lathe turner
Colonial Day was started in 1975 to help restore the historic buildings of East Berlin. Today the town's historic district has many buildings dating prior to 1800. The log and stone structures were influenced by their Germanic origins, with log houses sheathed with beaded siding and stone structures with square blocks laid out in uniform pattern. One of the private log homes, the C. Oram Altland Homestead built in 1786 was opened for a public tour.
The crowds gathered on East Berlin
Hoffman and Woodward Makers home
In a 1790 stone house lined with grape vines lived Hoffman & Woodward Makers. They sell furniture, woolen and linen material and decorative accessories for the 18th century enthusiast. Take a stroll down the brick lined walkway in the back of the house and you will discover a typical 18th century garden complete with roosters and chickens. In the outside lean-to you will discover garden pots, rakes, hanging onions, colored bell jars, and fly catchers.
Hoffman's 18th century garden
Cedar Shake Shaver, NYCHAPS
There was Ray Oxenford who was demonstrating his woodworking and tinsmithing. Ray began working at the age of 16 at Merritt's Antiques in Douglassville as a clock repairer. That was 46 years ago. Even though he retired five years ago from Merritt's, he admits that he still does all three jobs. His wife, Pat does all the traditional tole painting on the pieces that Ray produces. Pat also was offering her new book Heritage Crafts Today, Tole Painting.
Colonial Man with raccoon cap
C.W. Emig of Old Fontenelle Gun Shop had a stand providing examples of Pennsylvania Rifles 1760-1860 along with powder horns, flasks, and gunpowder tins. Andrew C. Maher was giving demonstrations on lathe turning. He was dressed in colonial clothing.
C.W. Emig, Pennsylvania Gun Display
The Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society had a stand to educate the people on historic building restoration. One of the gentleman from the Preservation Society was using a traditional shaving horse and drawknife to plane cedar shakes for the Woodworker Building at the Dill's Tavern in Dillsburg. He said there was evidence that the shakes used before were also shaved. Dill's Tavern is their current project and is open on Sunday's from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Ray Oxenford, Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen, tinsmith
At the west end of town, Gretchen and Jim Davis had their business, Lion and the Lamb opened in their 1813 stone carriage house. They sell Shooner redware pottery, grain- painted cupboards, a stretcher base tavern table, linens, pantry boxes, flags, and copper weathervane type statues.
Lion and the Lamb
David Studebaker house
East Berlin was laid out with with 28 lots in 1764 by a Prussian John Frankenberger who purchased 200 acres from the Penns. It was named after his hometown in Berlin, Germany. To avoid confusion with another Berlin in Somerset County, East was added in 1827. East Berlin was part of Adams County when it was formed out of York County in 1800. The people of East Berlin requested the town be incorporated as a borough which took place on November 10, 1879. The town now has 1400 people. A famous family who lived in town was David Studebaker family. They were involved in producing Studebaker automobiles.
The plaque for Studebaker house
Tasker's Chance trio- dulcimer, fiddle, guitar
Mark your calendar next year for the Colonial Day show which is held the second Saturday in September. Don't forget the wonderful food provided- hot dogs, cheeseburgers sausages, pig roast, kettle corn, fries, old time root beer in bottles, funnel cakes, baked goods in the church, and more. This is a wonderful show not to be missed. Fundraising is used to maintain five early buildings in town- Swigart's Mill (1794), Liberty No. 1 Fire Hall (1892), the log house (1832), the log Church Schoolhouse (18th century), and Red Men's Hall (1840) which is the society's headquarters and museum.
Well dressed colonial man
Source: Research, photos & text by Bryan Wright
Andrew C. Maher Custom Furniture & Repair
The Oxenfords Country Crafts & Things
Northern York County Historical & Preservation Society
East Berlin Historical Preservation Society
East Berlin Christmas House Tour
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