Human Interest Stories

I’ve found myself with several items in my “pending for Trailheads” folder that finally seem to have coalesced into a weekly post. At the very least I think they amount to a collection of interesting people who are all connected to the Trails of History directly or indirectly. So here goes.

Back in August, 107-year-old Lucille Severine toured Old Economy Village, enjoying the gardens, the George Rapp House, and the recreated Harmonist Museum. Everyone’s reasonably sure that Mrs. Severine is the oldest person ever to tour the site. (She was in her early teens when Old Economy became Pennsylvania’s first state-owned historic site in 1919.) We should all be so lucky to still be visiting new places at 107. Her connection to the Trails of History? Her grandson Michael Knecht is the site administrator at Old Economy.

From left:  Michael Knecht, Barbara Knecht, Lucille Severine,
Jean Severine Knecht, and George Knecht

The Sept. 30 edition of the Lancaster Sunday News included two articles about Trails of History denizens. Mary Ellen Wright’s “In the Spotlight” feature focused on Michael Showalter, museum educator at Ephrata Cloister since 1996 (he’s been with PHMC for 25 years). Asked to describe the best part of being a museum educator, Michael noted that, “I enjoy being able to use my knowledge and creativity to bring history to life for everyone, regardless of age or background.” Anyone who’s seen Michael at work will appreciate the truth of that. (You can read the entire piece here.) There may still be tickets available for tomorrow night's "Mysterious, Melancholy, and Macabre" tours; call 717/733-6600 for reservations.

The “Local Flavor” column, by Stephen Kopfinger, featured Tom Martin, who many of you have seen doing open hearth cooking and other food-related things at Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum for the past 20 years or more. Since it’s the beginning of apple season, Tom shared a recipe for Apple Cake from the Landis Valley Cookbook that sounds simply wonderful. (Go here for the full article, including recipe.)

My apologies for the lousy image quality, but I remembered that I had a photo of Michael (on the left in the photo below) and Tom discussing Pennsylvania German food traditions during a break at Ephrata’s Winter History class in February of this year (blog post about the class here).

Somerset Historical Center is hosting a community trick or treating event on October 30, and attendees of all ages are invited to come in costume as a historical figure from county history. To provide some guidance, the Center staff has compiled a series of suggestions, complete with images and a list of costume elements. You can see them here (scroll down). A great way, in my opinion, to teach about local history and have some fun at the same time. Bravo. THIS JUST IN--HISTORY HALLOWEEN HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO NOV. 8 (AKF 11/1)


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