The Lebanon County Historical Society sponsors lecture and exhibit programs. All programs are held in the Reese Memorial Hall at 1:30 PM, unless noted otherwise. Programs are free and open to the public. Prospective members are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments are served, and the Gift Shop will be open for your convenience.
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Upcoming Programs 2015
Pirates of the Canal: The Story Behind the Schuylkill Rangers, presented by Wes Schwenk, Archivist of the Lebanon County Historical Society’s Hauck Library & Archives.
The Schuylkill Navigation System was in operation for more than 120 years and stretched over 108 miles of Pennsylvania terrain. It was daunting work for the boatmen transporting goods from Port Carbon to the port of Philadelphia. The waterway’s popularity grew with the high demand for anthracite coal, and only a few decades thereafter, witnessed its decline with the advent of the railroad. However, during its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, the canal was not the safest place to call your workplace. A group of rough and rowdy criminals preyed on the barges, crewmen, locktenders, and residents of nearby towns that were situated along the expansive flowing highway. Within the confines of Philadelphia, the gangsters that began terrorizing the metropolitan streets causing disturbances and spawning the beginnings of the Irish mob were placed under the same moniker. They committed heinous acts from unarmed robbery to cold blooded murder and there was no one to stand in their way. These men were known as the Schuylkill Rangers.
Bethlehem Steel Comes To Town! Presented by Jim Polczynski.
The talk will explore the timeline between the Coleman families’ control of the county’s iron industry to the dominance of Bethlehem Steel, from the 1870s to the 1920s.
HILL CLIMB RACING IN LEBANON COUNTY: The History Of The Schaefferstown & Gold Mine Hill Climbs, presented by Ron Mann.
Can you envision open wheeled formula cars racing on your local, public roads?? It may be hard to believe…but it happens, to this day! But, did you know it happened in Lebanon County many years ago?
Hill Climb racing in Pennsylvania dates back to 1906. The modern day resurgence started again in 1951 and has been going on strong, in Pennsylvania, ever since. Hill climb racing found a home in Lebanon County from 1973 to 1978 in the forms of two events; The Schaefferstown & Gold Mine Hill Climbs. Both events were sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Hill Climb Association (PHA) and both were part of the PHA circuit of events that drivers from all over the country would attend. Schaefferstown (73-75) was hosted by the Lebanon Valley Sports & Touring Club and sponsored by the Heidelberg Jaycees and the Gold Mine (75, 76 & 78) event was hosted by the Appalachian Sports Car Club and sponsored by the Lickdale Fire Department.
Presenter Ron Mann, PHA’s Historian & Archivist, will speak on the history of hill climb racing in Pennsylvania and then transition into the history of both the Schaefferstown & the Gold Mine events. His Power Point presentation will include many images from each event and will be filled with facts on the drivers and their cars. The presentation will also include period footage from both events as well.