Hundreds visited the Governor Wolf Historical Society’s Family Historical Christmas Day on Saturday, Dec. 7. The free event was held at the society’s campus on Jacksonville Road. Visitors could browse crafts, listen to music, and travel back in time with demonstrations by reenactors in authentic 18th and 19th century costume.
Dozens of crafters were exhibiting in the campus’s three buildings. Soaps, clothing, redware pottery, woodwork, wreaths, handmade ornaments, and Pennsylvania Dutch frakturs were all for sale, making wonderful and unique holiday gifts for shoppers.
In the Ralston-McKeen House, the campus’s 18th century landmark, visitors not only got to browse crafts, but also got to see how they were made first-hand with authentic demonstrations in every room of the historic house. From lace making demonstrations in the bedroom and pie making in the kitchen to embroidery in the living room and blacksmithing in the backyard, visitors got a realistic glimpse at what daily life and holiday traditions looked like two hundred years ago.
Civil War reenactors from the 153rd PA Infantry, a real Civil War infantry from Northampton County, made camp in the home’s yard. Over 900 Northampton County residents were in the infantry and fought in battles like Gettysburg and Fredericksburg. Reenactors showed what a Civil War Christmas would look like for the men who were far from home.
Retired Kutztown University professor, Edward Quinter, was on hand to help visitors uncover their own family history. He spent the day helping residents translate German birth certificates, letters, and documents.
With all of the shopping available, visitors who were hungry could take a break and enjoy a meal from the Daily Grind, which was on site serving food and coffee.
The day’s activities also included the 39th Annual Governor Wolf Historical Society Christmas House Tour. Visitors to campus could purchase a booklet that would grant them access to six historic homes in Bath and Nazareth. Each home was over 100 years old and “lovingly restored, modernized, and maintained” by their owners.
Stops on the tour included an 18th century Dutch farmhouse, a 19th century Queen Anne Victorian home, and an 18th century federal farmhouse that still has its original walk-in fireplace and bake ovens. Bath’s Siegfried Log Cabin, one of the oldest log cabins in the nation, was also on the tour.
The tour was the perfect opportunity for visitors to see how some of Northampton County’s earliest residents lived, worked, and celebrated the holidays, while also exploring how Northampton County’s current residents are working to preserve these traditions, memories, and stories.
Residents who would like to participate in next year’s holiday festivities should visit https://www.govwolf.org/ for updates on next year’s historical day and other events.