December 2014 on the Trails of History

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday, filled with lots of good things and the time to relax and enjoy them. Please be sure to check the holiday schedule to see which Trails of History sites are open today (Nov. 28). Events taking place this weekend can be found in the November program listings. And may I gently urge you to "Shop Small" at your favorite museum store this Saturday (please check the schedule - most sites will be open, but some have closed for the winter).

Ephrata Cloister's Museum Store is participating in Shop Small Saturday and the Ephrata Merchants Association "Lovin' Local" event (photo by Stephanie Harley, Ephrata Merchants Assn.)
December starts on Monday, and I don't want you to miss anything, so the December program listings follow. I'll make updates as I get new info, but always be sure to check ahead if you think winter weather may disrupt the schedule. Please note that all sites except Washington Crossing Historic Park will be closed on December 25, and Daniel Boone Homestead will be closed on December 26 as well. Schedules are subject to change, so be sure to check when visiting between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Dec. 7: Christmas Open House—enjoy one last chance to visit the homestead before winter sets in (site will be open by appointment only until Charter Day in March). Noon-4 pm.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Dec. 6: Christmas at Cornwall House Tour—This annual tour lets you explore private homes in the Cornwall/Lebanon area (list of this year's homes) while supporting the Friends of Cornwall Iron Furnace. Tickets are $15 in advance at several locations in the community and at the Furnace. Tickets are $20 on the day of the tour. (Your house tour ticket also entitles you to a tour of the Furnace during regular hours between Dec. 6 and Dec. 28.) 10 am-4 pm.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Dec. 7: A Homestead Christmas—Explore English and German Christmas traditions, enjoy hot chocolate and wassail, visit with Santa, and shop for baked goods and gifts for the history-minded folks on your list. Admission: Adults (age 13+), $6; Children (age 5-12), $4; free for Friends of DBH. Noon-4 pm.
Dec. 13: Here Comes Santa Claus! Santa’s Workshop and Holiday Bonfire—This evening program transforms the Wayside Lodge into Santa's Workshop, with opportunities to make 18th-century style toys, sing carols by the fire, and shop for handmade ornaments and decorations. Plus a rare chance for an evening tour of the Boone house. Admission: Age 5+, $4; free for Friends of DBH. )Snow date is Dec. 20.) 6-9 pm.
Dec. 26: Site closed.

Drake Well Museum
Dec. 8-?: site closed temporarily for water line repairs
PLEASE CALL AHEAD TO CHECK Dec. 13: The Holiday Shoppe—Children in grades 1-5 are invited to make a craft, shop for gifts for family and friends, and share a snack. Admission is $5 per child; call the museum at 814/827-2797 to register. 1-4 pm.

Eckley Miners' Village
Dec. 13-14: Christmas at Eckley—This new frundraising event combines the separate "Victorian Christmas" and "Children's Christmas" programs from previous years and includes refreshments in the 1861 Sharpe House, visits with St. Nicholas, basket raffles, children's crafts, and more. Admission is $7 per person; bring a nonperishable food item for the local food pantry and receive $1 off your ticket. Noon-4 pm.

Ephrata Cloister
Dec. 1: Tickets go on sale for Lantern Tours
Dec. 8-9: Christmas at the Cloister—This popular annual program combines traditional music (sung by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus) and readings. This year's program also includes Celtic/folk/bluegrass fusion group "Seasons." Admission: $6. Tickets are limited and may be purchased in the Museum Store or by calling 717/733-6600. A select number of tickets for the 7:45 and 9 pm timeslots are available online at (small surcharge applies). Programs at 6:30, 7:45, and 9 pm.
Dec. 10: Storytime—this month's featured story for preschoolers and their accompanying adults is the Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas by Chet Williamson. Admission is $6 for one adult and one child (age 3-5), $3 for each additional child (free with Family Level membership in the Ephrata Cloister Associates or with Family Museum Pass from Library System of Lancaster County). 10-11 am.
Dec. 13: Making History Workshop—visit the Printing Office and use the press to make copies of a 1769 Christmas greeting. Fee is $15, $10 for ECA members. 10 am-noon.
Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2-3: Lantern Tours—This year's tour is focused on the Great Comet of 1743 and explores the reactions of community members. Tours are presented by junior and senior high school students under the guidance of museum staff and leave from the visitor center every half hour from 6:30 to 8 pm. Admission: $10 (age 12-64), $9 (65+), $7 (6-11), $5 (3-5); member discounts available. Reservations are required and tickets do sell out; call 717/433-6600 to reserve your spot.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Dec. 1: Storytime at the Maritime—Amy from the Erie Zoo will bring along some of her animal friends to read Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw. RSVP to Andrew at 814/452-2744 x225 or Event is free. 10 am.
Dec. 2: Giving Tuesday—the Flagship Niagara League is participating in this year's #GivingTuesday event. More info and a link for donating to support the 2015 Sail Trainee Scholarship Fund are on the website.
Dec. 3: Holiday Open House and Book Signing—visit the museum store, enjoy cocktails and light hors-d'oeuvres, and meet David Frew, author of Shipwrecks of Lake Erie. Members receive 20% off purchases (and it's not too late to join). RSVP to 814/452-2744 x208 or 5-7:30 pm.
Dec. 12: Christmas Tree Ship—This program features Niagara lit up for Christmas, lots of family activities, a visit with Santa, and a reading of The Christmas Tree Ship. Admission is free; for $45 you can sponsor a tree for a local family. For more information, contact Julie Wagner, 814/452-2744 x222 or 5:30-8:30 pm.

Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Dec. 3: Days of the Belsnickel Dinner Tour—a little shopping, a little wine and cheese, a wagon ride, a lovely dinner, candlelight tours, and a visit with der Belsnickel. What a way to start the season. $36.50 per person. Reservations are required; call Jamie at 717/581-0590. 5:30-9 pm.
Dec. 6-7, 13-14: Country Christmas Village—Enjoy a Pennsylvania German Christmas, with all kinds of trees, der Belsnickel, plus complimentary cocoa and gingersnaps. Handbell ringer Ron Bellamy will perform at 1 pm on Dec. 6 & 7, then lead an interactive ringing and caroling session. Admission: Adults, $12; Seniors, $10; Youth (age 6-11), $8; LVA members and age 5 and under, free. Dec. 6 & 13, 10 am-4 pm; Dec. 7 & 14, noon-4 pm.
Dec. 12: Holiday at Landis Valley Bonfire—What’s not to like? Caroling, a blazing bonfire, wagon rides, hot cider and cookies. And it’s free—Landis Valley’s gift to the community. Return the favor by bringing canned goods to donate to the Lancaster Food Bank. 6-8:30 pm.
Dec. 13: Days of the Belsnickel Lunch Tour—Tour the village to see the holiday decorations and open hearth cooking, then enjoy a traditional home-cooked meal at the Landis Valley Hotel and shopping at the Landis Valley Museum Store. Der Belsnickel will be on hand to liven things up. Cost is $34.50 per person. Reservations required; call Jamie at 717/581-0590. 10 am-2 pm.
Dec. 30: Winter Day Camp—A great way to keep everyone happy and sane during school break. Cost is $35 per child, $20 per child for LVA members; includes a hot lunch. Registration is required; call the museum's education department at 717/569-0401 x228. 8:30 am-4:30 pm.

Old Economy Village
Dec. 10: Annual Holiday Dinner—Join with other supporters of Old Economy for a festive evening of dining and music, featuring a performance by the Pittsburgh Opera. Cost is $80 per person or $64 for Friends of OEV. Reservations are required by Dec. 5; call 724/266-4500 x114. Doors open at 6 pm.
Dec. 13-14: Christmas at the Village—Enjoy Christmas carols sung by local choirs, shop for handmade wares by local craftspeople, visit the Kinderhaus for children's activities and mean old Belsnickel, and stop by the Granary to purchase something yummy to eat. Please start at the Visitor Center to purchase tickets and then proceed to the village. Dec. 13, 2-9 pm; Dec. 14, 2-7 pm.

Pennsbury Manor
Dec 4-5: Holly Nights—A special opportunity to see Pennsbury illuminated by candlelight, bonfires, and hearth fires. Enjoy caroling, hot cider, and throwing a green sprig on the Yule log for luck. In honor of Pennsbury's 75th anniversary as a museum, fireworks are planned for the end of the night on Dec. 4 (or if it rains, Dec. 5). Admission: Adults (12-64), $12; Seniors (65+), $10; Children (3-11), $6. More info and a discount coupon good for $1 off adult admission. 6-9 pm.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Tribute—Gather with others beneath the guns of the USS PENNSYLVANIA (adjacent to the museum parking lot) to mark the 73rd anniversary of the attack on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. 12:45 pm.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 6 and 13: Home for the Holidays—Costumed engineers, conductors, ticket agents, and passengers representing the past century bring historic rail travel to life. Kids can visit with Santa or work with a telegrapher to send a Christmas telegram to the North Pole. Holiday music (see schedule), refreshments (while supplies last), and shopping are part of the day too. Included in regular admission. 9 am-5 pm. (As I write this, it looks like tickets are still available for the Dec. 13 Christmas with the Conductor, so you might want to call now before it's sold out.)

Somerset Historical Center
UPDATE (I missed this one, sorry) Dec. 6: Ethnic Christmas Traditions of Somerset County—this new program will explore traditions handed down from Italian, Slovak, Polish, and German settlers to the region. Program will be held at Friedens Lutheran Church. Advance tickets only (some still available as of Dec. 1): cost is $20 each or $35 for 2. Call 814/445-6077.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Dec. 6: A World of Differences—Pennsylvania Immigrant and Refugee Women's Network will offer a program bringing women together for leadership and fellowship. Admission is free. 9 am-5 pm.
CORRECTED Dec. 19: 3rd in the Burg/Learn at Lunchtime—Tour the Transportation and Industry gallery with museum educator Cherie Trimble at noon. Museum admission is free from 11 am to 1:30 pm.
Dec. 20: Christmas Celebration—A collaboration of Nathaniel Gadsen’s Writers Wordshop, this program is a celebration of family. Food, music, workshops, and more. Admission is free. 10 am-3 pm.
Dec. 31: Happy Noon Year’s Celebration—Ring in 2015 without staying up until midnight at this program designed for younger children and their families. Storytime, a planetarium show, and hands-on activities leading up to the big countdown in Memorial Hall at noon. Included in regular admission. 10 am-1 pm.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Dec. 6: A Night of REBELry—A festive fundraising event to support the programs at Washington Crossing. Info on reservations is on the website. 7-11 pm.
Dec. 7: Dress Rehearsal—Historical demonstrations, activities, and the final rehearsal for the reenactment of the Christmas 1776 crossing of the Delaware by Gen. Washington and Continental troops. Admission: Adults (12+), $8; Children (5-11), $4. 10 am-4 pm (crossing is scheduled for 1 pm).
Dec. 14: Afternoon Concert Series—enjoy an afternoon of 18th-century choral music (mostly a capella) performed by the group "Mostly Motets." Tickets range from $25 to $45 and can be purchased at the Visitor Center front desk or online at
Dec. 25: 62nd Annual Christmas Day Crossing—Thousands of folks will be on hand to watch as Gen. Washington and his troops board the Durham boats to cross the Delaware River (weather permitting). The event is free. Noon-3 pm (crossing scheduled for 1 pm).

Just checking in

Trailheads is having a little hiatus this week, but that doesn't mean there's nothing to do. The November program listings have info on upcoming events, and we'll have a pre-Thanksgiving post next week. Curious about holiday schedules? You'll find a whole page for those.

If you're anywhere near the Harrisburg area today, please stop by the Commonwealth Keystone Building (corner of Commonwealth Ave. and North St. in the Capitol Complex) from 10 am to 3 pm for Day 2 of the 9th Annual Holiday Marketplace. The marketplace is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation and features museum store goodies from sites on the PA Trails of History as well as other state agencies.

Lancaster County Community Foundation's Extraordinary Give is today (Nov. 21). To make things easy, you can click on these Trails of History sites to go directly to their donation pages: Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, Railroad Museum of PA. If you're interested in other PHMC sites, many are in the midst of their annual appeal campaigns and would welcome your support most graciously.

Not to push the holidays too fast, but if you want to see the annual "Santa's Draft Card" exhibit at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, they'll be closing for the winter at the end of November.

Photo courtesy of PA Military Museum

On to the next 100 Posts

I'm still recovering from the big "300th post" gala at Trailheads HQ last week, so excuse me if this post is a bit short. We're still removing bits of confetti from the keyboards and cleaning up from what will hereafter be known as "that time there was milk chocolate on the ceiling." I'm advised not to go into too much detail, but if you ever have the opportunity to dive head-first into a chocolate fountain, don't do it. Don't ask me how I know.

You'll find info for this weekend's events in the November program listings.

Museum educators from the Trails of History at PA Military Museum, August 2014 (AKF photo)
Tomorrow, Nov. 15, is Museum Educator Appreciation Day, so let me take this opportunity to wish all of the museum educators on the Pennsylvania Trails of History a great day. Many, if not most, of them will spend the day at work helping visitors enjoy our sites and learn something new. If you stop by one of our sites, please tell them thank you.

Throughout the past year or so, we've periodically shared links to posts on the Old Economy Village blog, "Rapp Houses Restoration." Last week, the site held the "big reveal" as the George and Frederick Rapp Houses reopened to the public. Curator Sarah Buffington led a team that painstakingly researched period interior design and scoured the museum collections for evidence of the houses' original configurations and furnishings. An article on Trib Live provides background on the project and more wonderful photos. I have it on good authority that even the wonderful photos don't do it justice. Definitely need to schedule a visit.

One of the sure signs of the season is when the banner for the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation's Holiday Marketplace appears in the atrium of the Commonwealth Keystone Building in Harrisburg. This year is the 9th annual event and the PA Trails of History sites expected to participate are: the State Museum of PA, Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and Somerset Historical Center. Some of PHMC's partner agencies will also be on hand: Dept. of Community and Economic Development's Artisans Trail, PA Parks and Forests Foundation/Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of State Parks, Capitol Preservation Committee, and the State Employee Recreation Association. It's always a great time to see what's new in our museum stores and to support the work of our sites. The event will take place Nov. 20 and 21 from 10 am to 3 pm each day.

Also on tap for next week is the Lancaster County Community Foundation's Extraordinary Give on Friday, Nov. 21. This 24-hour online giving campaign allows you to support charities throughout the county. Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and the Railroad Museum of PA are all participating. Ephrata has a slate of special staff presentations throughout the day (free admission) to highlight their offerings.

Trailheads #300

Yes, campers. This right here is the 300th Trailheads post. When the blog debuted in August of 2009, I'm not sure anyone foresaw the dozens of you who would be reading 5 years later. Thanks for your ongoing support.

Tuesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day, a time for us to say "thank you" to all who have served our country. Most sites on the Trails of History will be closed, but there are a few that will be open (find the list of open sites here.)

Today's post comes courtesy of Linda Bolla at the Erie Maritime Museum, who happens to be the most frequent guest blogger on Trailheads. Last year, the Erie Maritime Museum mounted an exhibit for Charter Day that focused on several Civil War Medal of Honor recipients with ties to Erie. In addition to documenting their history, the folks in Erie have also been working to make sure that the graves of these men are properly marked.

William H. Young (1835-1878)

William Young began his naval career on the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides"), enlisting in 1852 at the age of 17. He saw service on a number of vessels, most notably U.S.S. Portsmouth, cruising off the coast of Africa to suppress traffic in the slave trade. On September 21, 1859, Portsmouth seized the slave ship Emily. During the Civil War, Young served on U.S.S. Cayuga as a Boatswain’s Mate.

The citation for Young's Medal of Honor reads:
On board the USS Cayuga during the capture of Forts St. Philip and Jackson and the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. As his ship led the advance column toward the barrier and both forts opened fire simultaneously, striking the vessel from stem to stern, Young calmly manned a parrot gun throughout the action in which attempts by three rebel steamers to butt and board were thwarted and the ships driven off or captured, 11 gunboats were successfully engaged and garrisons forced to surrender. During the battle, the Cayuga sustained 46 hits.

Young's final years as a sailor (1872-76) were spent on the Navy’s first Iron Steamer, U.S.S. Michigan, as Bugler. (Erie was homeport to U.S.S. Michigan, which was later renamed U.S.S. Wolverine; the ship's prow is on exhibit at the museum, along with other artifacts from its history.) Never married, he retired to the Pennsylvania Soldiers & Sailors Home in Erie, where he died on December 26, 1878, at age 42. His funeral was attended by fellow Civil War veterans, Post 67, G.A.R., and he was buried at Erie Cemetery with a headstone-style marker provided by the U.S. Navy for $7.

Original marker for William H. Young
For years, Young’s gravesite was listed as “unknown” in official publications. The Erie Maritime Museum and Erie Cemetery researched and facilitated Medal of Honor researcher Don Morfe’s application to the Department of Veterans Affairs for a new grave marker for William Young. Time had taken its toll on the original marker, and it did not mention Young’s Medal of Honor.

The application was suspended for several years. The Veterans Administration had placed a moratorium on applications made by parties other than family. Finally, the National Medal of Honor Foundation stepped in and provided a donor, and the marker was placed.

The Erie Maritime Museum, Flagship Niagara League, and the Erie Cemetery will honor William Young for his service and formally dedicate this marker in a solemn service on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.