Welcome to the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley

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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,  Foods of the Pennsylvania Dutch: 1700-1850

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.


April 22,  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.


May 27,  The History of American Chairs

H. Clair Garman, cabinetmaker and historian, will present a PowerPoint-illustrated chronology of the evolution of the construction and design of American seating. Find out how old that chair in the attic really is.


June 24, Annual Picnic

This year's members-only picnic will be held on the grounds of the society's headquarters, and will be an old-fashioned picnic, with each family bringing a covered dish. Bob and Denise Harter, the proprietors of the 1777 Americana Inn, built by clockmaker  Jacob  Gorgas,  have graciously offered to open the newly-remodeled inn for the group. The adjoining Black Forest Brewery will also be open. Details will appear in the newsletter.


July 22, Field Trip

We  will visit the Edward Hand Medical Heritage Foundation with its collection of more than 10,000 books, photographs, letters, and medical and dental instruments documenting the rich history of the area's medical profession. We will meet at 7:00 p.m. at the museum, located at the Burle Business Park on New Holland Avenue, ½ mile west of Route 30.


August 26, The History of Railroad Mail Service in Northeastern Lancaster County

Sam Stoltzfus, Amish historian and woodworker,  will discuss the long-abandoned practice of transporting mail via the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Railroad.


September 23, 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 28, Walkin' the Line: A Journey from Past to Present along the Mason-Dixon.

William Ecenbarger, author and a former reporter and editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer, will present  a history-travelogue that interweaves  the story of the line's people, legends, and myths while following the progress of English surveyors Mason and Dixon from 1763 to 1768 as they draw one of the most unusual boundaries on earth.


November 25, No Meeting     Happy Thanksgiving!


December 23, No Meeting     Merry Christmas!