Welcome to the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley


What's new

for 2016




Meetings are held at 7:00 P.M. at the Ephrata Public Library, 550 S. Reading Road, Ephrata unless otherwise stated. Open free to the public.

(In case of inclement weather, Society programs will follow the Ephrata School District closing schedule.)



August 24, Historic Schaefferstown

Diane Wenger and Jan Taylor will discuss Schaefferstown, founded in 1754. The town was once a bustling market center with hotels, mansions, cigar factories, and a whiskey distillery. Today the historic architectures remains, with tales of former days. There will be a book signing for the Schafferstown book by these two authors.


September 28 No Meeting

Join us on the front lawn of the Society's headquarters to view the Ephrata Fair Parade and enjoy hot dogs at the Society's food stand.


October 26, Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs

Patrick Donmoyer, author and lecturer from Kutztown, will present his research about this important part of Pennsylvania German folklore.  Patrick will have a newly published book available for signing at the end of the talk.





Monday, Wednesday, Thursday

9:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Saturday 8:30 A.M. - 4:00

The Theodore R. Sprecher Museum Hours

Saturday, 10:00 A. M. to 4:00 P.M.

Other times by appointment with a 24 hour notice

Free to the public.

Educational and civic group tours can be arranged.

(717) 733-1616 or EMAIL  HSCV@cocalicovalleyhs.org


Come on in and pull up a chair. Whether you are a newcomer or an old timer you can get to know us and experience our rich heritage. The Society was founded in 1957. There is so much to see and learn about the Cocalico Valley. Visit the Theodore R. Sprecher Museum housed in the Connell Mansion in it's Victorian elegance. You will find thirteen rooms of exhibits with collections from the early 1800's to present and period room settings. Be sure to see the current feature exhibit. Quite possibly you may want to do some research in the library with its wealth of local history and genealogy. Resource materials range widely from the standard body of legal and church records to the specific and unique resources focused on the Cocalico Valley. To get a glimpse of the collections you can view an online card catalog which includes files through the year 2000. Current files can be perused in the library. You have heard our story, maybe you have one too. We would love to hear from you.


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Programs and events

237- 249 West Main Street (Rt. 322),

Ephrata, corner of Oak St.



Join a Committee

Call 733.1616


Financial Support

Click for details

How You May Help

HSCV 2016 Picture Book Press Release

Click here for flyer: “Then and Now, A View of EphrataBorough Through the Decades, 1891-2016”  

by Clarence E. Spohn


New Historic Picture Book

of Ephrata Announced

The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley is pleased to announce the publication of “Then and Now, A View of Ephrata Borough Through the Decades, 1891-2016,” by Ephrata historian and former mayor Clarence E. Spohn. The book is being published to commemorate the quasquicentennial or 125th anniversary of the incorporation of the Borough of Ephrata in 1891. The hardbound picture book will be printed in a limited edition of 800 copies and will contain 224 pages and 447 photographs. The book’s laminated cover with feature a sepia toned photograph of a rare stereopticon view of East Main Street looking east from the roof of the Mt. Vernon Inne located on the southeast corner of the square. The view, which dates from 1867, is the oldest known photographic image of the town and features the Ephrata Mt. Springs Hotel perched on the hillside overlooking the town.

   In the Historical Society’s earlier publications is has been its practice to published early photographs of the town accompanied by the street address and a brief description of the site. Realizing a change in demographics within the Ephrata community the format of this book will deviate from those previously published. In most instances multiple photographs are included that will show the building or location during the late 19th or early 20th centuries accompanied by a view of the same building or location during the last half of the 20th century or the 21st century. This comparison concept enables the reader to see the building or site as it once appeared along with its appearance in more recent years. A detailed history of each building or site is included which will provide insight into its ownership and occupants through the decades. For example for 124-128 East Main Street, a photograph of the Mohler/Herchelroth home built in 1883 will appear, along with a photograph of the Main Theatre built in 1938, and a 1999 photograph of the Brossman Building, which now occupies the site. The book is designed to stir old memories for long-time residents, and, at the same time, provide a fascinating insight into the history of the borough’s buildings and sites for our younger generation, as well as those residents who have moved to the town in more recent years.

   The focus of the book’s contents is primarily confined to buildings and sites located within

the boundaries of the Borough at the time of its incorporation. The tour through the town begins

at Trinity Lutheran Church, continues down the south side of Main St. to the Cocalico Creek,

continues up the north side of Main St., and ends at the site of the former Mt. Springs Hotel. Along the way side trips address buildings that stand or stood along Lake, Gross, State, Franklin, Oak, Pine, and Locust Streets and Washington Ave., etc. Included at the back of the book will be found a collection of views of the Ephrata Community Hospital, Grater Memorial Park, the Ephrata Fair, and Christmas in the Downtown through the years.

   If you love to reminisce this volume is guaranteed to bring back many fond memories of days gone by — a bustling downtown filled with shoppers, the many factories that employed the town’s residents, the community Christmas tree and Santa’s house at the railroad station, and the pony rides and the iconic twin Ferris wheels at the Ephrata Fair. The days of the Roxy and Main Theaters, Sears Roebuck, J. J. Newberry’s, Harris’ Department Store, E. L. Snyder’s appliance store, Givler’s Grocery, and the Acme on E. Main St., as well as Carter’s, Cox’s and Royer’s Drug Stores. Included are the town’s early hotels, its school buildings, the Clare Point Race Track — the list goes on and on.

   The book will sell for $25.00. Pre-publication orders are currently being taken; books will be available for pick-up in mid-to-late November, at the Historical Society’s library, 237 W. Main St., Ephrata. Don’t delay and order now, only 800 copies are available, the book will not be reprinted. The book would make an excellent Christmas present for both family and friends. Click on the link below for a clip-out order form


Click here: “Then and Now, A View of EphrataBorough Through the Decades, 1891-2016”    by Clarence E. Spohn


Historical Society Exhibit Commemorates 125 Years of Ephrata Borough

  The Historical Society current exhibit is “125 Years of Ephrata Borough, 1891-2016,” commemorating the 125th anniversary of the incorporation of the Borough of Ephrata.  The exhibit was curated by former Ephrata Mayor Clarence E. Spohn, and is cosponsored by Ephrata Borough and the Ephrata National Bank.  The exhibit will continue through Dec. 31, 2016. The Historical Society’s museum, 237 West Main St., is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or by appointment.  Group visits are welcomed and encouraged, for arrangements call 717-733-1616.  Admission is free to all.