Springfield Township Historical Society
Date: October 2008
Heritage Day at the Black Horse Inn
Carolinn Skylar playing the glass armonica.
Visitors to Heritage Day at the Black Horse Inn on September 28th took a step back in time to enjoy colonial crafts and music, while looking ahead to the future. Ned Hector, portrayed by Noah Lewis, sharing some stories. The event at the inn, a Flourtown landmark which is currently undergoing renovations, was planned by the Black Horse Inn Advisory Committee, the Springfield Township Historical Society and the Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike, to celebrate the completion of the exterior renovations and the beginning of the last phase of fundraising for the inn's interior as well as to thank contributors.
Highlights of the festivities included making Native American and colonial-style toys and visits with re-enactors Carl Closs who portrayed George Washington; Noah Lewis, who did living history portrayals of as Revolutionary War hero Ned Hector, and Joe Becton who appeared as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Seated on the porch of the inn, colonial musicians Jan & John Haigis entertained guests as they went inside to hear glass armonica player Carolinn Skyler, and look around the first floor, Jan and John Haigis, Colonial Musicians, greeting people as they arrived at the inn. where there was information on the Black Horse Inn and other inns along Bethlehem Pike. A frame of a staircase has been built, and a pressed metal ceiling is in place enabling a visitor to envision what the interior will look like after it is completed. Carolinn Skylar playing the glass armonica.
At a podium on the side porch of the inn, speakers included State Rep. Larry Curry and historical society president Ed Zwicker, among others. Curry spoke about Bethlehem Pike's connection to the Battle of Germantown, which took place in the fall of 1777, and Zwicker discussed the history of the inns along Bethlehem Pike. Zwicker and historical society vice president Charles Zwicker talked with visitors at an information table and historical society and Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike members were among the many volunteers who helped at Heritage Day.
Scott Vierick, Lina Sorg, Rebecca Sherwood and Jenny Uehling — High School essay contest winners Curry presented awards to winners of the "Young Historians Essay Contest" for students at Springfield Township High School and Springfield Township Middle School. Winners of the high school contest--- Jenny Uehling, Lina Sorg, Rebecca Sherwood and Scott Vierick?each read portions of Jenny's first place short story, "Spying History". The Springfield Twp Middle School winners were Aaron Caplan, first prize; Michaela Fallon, second prize; Kelli Bray, third prize, and Billy Sorg, merit award.
Band musicians from the Springfield Township High School and Springfield Township Middle School under the direction of Chuck Gottesman and Marcy Klugman entertained guests between speakers and presentations. Rich Lalena, a town crier for historic sites such as Carpenter's Hall, brought a colonial style to announcing activities of the day.
Scott Vierick, Lina Sorg, Rebecca Sherwood and Jenny Uehling — High School essay contest winners.
The inn, parts of which are believed to have been built in the mid-18th century, was the first stop on the Philadelphia-to-Bethlehem stagecoach line. Expanded in the 19th century, it was a stop for farmers, when grain was taken to the local flour mills, and later used for meetings of the Society for the Apprehension of Horse Thieves, township commissioners, voting and horse trading. It continued to operate as a restaurant or tavern until the 1990s when the property was sold. Children watching intently as STHS board member, Liz Jarvis, demonstrates colonial era toys. Plans called for the building to be razed or relocated before the property deed was transferred to Springfield Township and efforts to restore the building got underway.
The restoration of the inn is being funded by individual contributions now exceeding $120,000, and state and federal grants. The grants include a federal $150,000 Save America's Treasure grant; two $500,000 Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants and an $85,000 Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Keystone Preservation Grant. A feasibility study is now underway for raising funds to complete the renovations to the interior of the inn.
Members of the Heritage Day Committee were STHS board members Cynthia Hamilton and Christine Fisher Smith, township commissioner Doug Heller, and Friends of Historic Bethlehem Pike members Ellen Swoyer Manning and Don Mitchell. Hamilton is also a member of the Black Horse Inn Advisory Committee.
Ned Hector, portrayed by Noah Lewis, sharing some stories.
Jan and John Haigis, Colonial Musicians, greeting people as they arrived at the inn.
Children watching intently as STHS board member, Liz Jarvis, demonstrates colonial era toys.