When Bath Councilman Frank Hesch found a 1912 commemorative pin for Bath’s first-ever Old Home Week, the self-proclaimed “history nerd” dove deep into the event and its history. Hesch pored over council meeting minutes from 1911 and 1912 and looked through old photos of Bath’s downtown adorned in patriotic decor. Soon, Hesch and the borough’s Economic and Community Development Committee decided to resurrect the community celebration.
“The more the Committee found out about Old Home Week, the more we wanted to hold another one,” Hesch says. “You do not hear much about Old Home Weeks in these times.”
While some towns do still hold the event, they are no longer as common as they were at the turn of the 20th century. As rural residents migrated to more urban areas of the growing United States, small towns and villages like Bath held Old Home Week celebrations to invite residents back.
After two years of lockdowns and social distancing, Hesch thought there was no better time than now for Bath residents to re-discover their community.
“After the past couple of years and the trying times we are living in these days, we feel it will be a nice casual way for residents to spend time together, have some fun, and appreciate all the borough has to offer.”
“The history of Bath is rich and amazing,” he continues. “I think too often it gets looked at as ‘that small town with all of the traffic,’ but there is a reason we have so many main roads in our small town….and that reason is the rich history, events, and interesting people that made this town what it is.”
Hesch discovered plenty of fascinating stories about Bath during his Old Home Week research, including the little-known fact that President Teddy Roosevelt has Bath connections: he was a distant relative of town founder Daniel Craig.
“Every week, I feel as though there is something new we learn about this borough,” he says. “There are countless stories that make up the history of this small town.”
2022’s Old Home Week is posed to add to that rich history. The celebration will kick off on August 14 with the re-burial of the borough’s time capsule, which was removed from the old borough building in 2018. A community picnic and softball tournament, sponsored by the Bath Allen Youth Club, will follow. The evening will end with live music from a local favorite band, The Verdict.
Tuesday, August 16 will feature an outdoor movie night and food truck festival at Fireman’s Field. Thursday, August 18 will be Business Night, where borough businesses will offer extended hours and specials. A catered dinner at the American Legion and a presentation by the Bath Museum will be held on Friday, August 19. Then, the fun-filled week will culminate with the long-awaited return of Spuds and Suds on August 20.
It wouldn’t be a community event without community involvement. Businesses are encouraged to get involved in the fun by planning their own special events throughout the week. Meanwhile, residents can join in by decorating their homes in red, white, and blue, which Bath Borough residents did over 100 years ago at the last event.
Hesch hopes residents and businesses “really get into the whole American spirit with decor.”
And Old Home Week isn’t restricted to just Bath residents. Citizens are welcome to invite their friends and family to Bath to see all the borough offers. After all, there is a lot to discover.
“What makes Bath even more special, and not to sound too ‘cookie cutter,’” says Hesch, “are our residents. The people that make up this borough are what makes it truly special.”