Welcome to the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley


What's new

for 2015


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.)


March 25,  2015

Foods of the Pennsylvania Dutch: 1700-1850

Book Signing and Lecture

Dr. William Woys Weaver, author, historian, and educator, will give a PowerPoint presentation tracing the transformation of Pennsylvania Dutch cookery from an Old-World transplant into a thoroughly American regional style of cooking. A book signing will follow for Dr. Weaver's recent book, As American as Shoofly Pie. Books will be available for sale.



April 22,  2015

The Massacre of the Conestogas

Jack Brubaker, retired investigative reporter and author of “The Scribbler”, a column about Lancaster County's history and culture, will present a PowerPoint lecture about the infamous slaughter of the last group of Lancaster  County Indians by the Paxton Boys in 1763.  A book signing will follow the presentation.








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


New Exhibit, “The Musselmans of Murrell,” to Open Sat., Feb. 14, 2015

The Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley is pleased to announce the opening of a special exhibit, “The Musselmans of Murrell, Pioneer Dealers in Pennsylvania German and Early American Antiques,” Saturday, February 14, 2015. The exhibit, which compliments the Society’s 2014 Journal by the same title, will tell the fascinating story of Ephrata Township antique dealers Ada and Clayton Musselman, and their son David.


The Musselmans ventured into the antique business in 1922, conducting the business out of their home at 766-768 East Main Street, until 1946. For twenty-five years they scoured Lancaster, Berks, Lebanon and Dauphin Counties in search of fine antiques in an effort to satisfy the appetites of their customers. During those years they sold their treasures to dealers, collectors, and department stores from thirty-six of the forty-eight states, as well as the District of Columbia. Among their customers were found prominent collectors of early American antiques, whose names are recognizable even today to serious collectors of quality antiques. A sampling of the names found in the Musselmans’ business records include Albert C. Barnes, Emily Johnston de Forest, Henry Francis du Pont, Titus Cornelius Geesey, Edna Little Greenwood, and Albert Bachelder Wells. The exhibit will feature artifacts, on loan from private collectors, which had been purchased by the Musselmans during their twenty-five years in the antique business. Utilizing the Musselmans’ business records some of the items displayed have been traced back to the item’s date of purchase, in some instances, revealing the object’s source and its purchase price. The exhibit will include a sampling of china, glassware, folk art, Lehnware, imprints, pewter, pottery, and primitives, all formerly part of the Musselmans’ stock. Among the items featured in the exhibit will be a carved 1823 date stone from Stober’s Mill on the Indiantown Creek, Clay Twp., bearing the name of the mill’s builder Isaac and Maria Erb. The mill, which contained two date stones (1823 and 1829), was closed in 1930 and demolished the following year. The Musselmans purchased both date stones in 1931 for $5 each, however no record of the sale of either stone could be found in the Musselmans’ records. Fortunately ca. 1931 snapshots of both tombstone-shaped stones, each having an arched top containing a relief-carved gear, remained in the possession of the Musselman family. Miraculously in November of 2014 the 1823 date stone surfaced at a public auction at Wakefield in southern Lancaster County. The members of the Society’s Museum & Library Committee decided to try to acquire the date stone for the Society’s collection using funds from the committee’s Acquisition Fund. The Society’s bid was

successful, the stone was purchased, and another Cocalico Valley artifact has been preserved for future generations.


Don’t miss the Musselman exhibit! The exhibit will open Saturday, February 15, 2015 and continue through December 31, 2015, admission is free to the public