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
Tabor and the Community: A History, presented by Gregory Keller
***This program was held previously on February 15th; due to the inclement winter weather, an encore presentation has been scheduled to meet demand***
On Tuesday June 10, 1760 three men purchased lot 136 from George Steitz for five shillings and the yearly rent of “one red rose in the month of June forever if lawfully demanded.” That church was the Dutch Presbyterian Church and today is known simply as Tabor Church.
Our first church structure was dedicated on July 18, 1762 and was given the name of Tabor by Rev. Frederick Casimir Mueller, our first regular minister. The church was a log structure with a stone foundation and a bell tower atop the center of the roof. In September 1764 our first known burial took place within our cemetery. The individual was the wife of Rev. Mueller. Our oldest tombstone is of Johannes Huber and is from 1770. As early as 1773, and lasting until 1835 when the public schools took over, Tabor had a parochial school that was open to the public. The children were taught reading, writing, arithmetic, the Heidelberg Catechism, and most importantly, the Bible.
This congregation grew rapidly as evidenced by the land purchases that were made. On March 8, 1780 Tabor bought the lot next door from Philip Greenawalt thereby doubling the size of the property. In 1783 we, along with Jonestown and Hill Church, purchased a lot on the south-west corner of 10th and Chestnut streets for the purpose of building a parsonage. Our log church served Tabor for 30 years until June 6, 1792 when a severe thunderstorm damaged the church. Work on a new stone church was started on June 26, 1792 and was completed on May 8, 1796.
Along with land purchases and building projects, Tabor helped in the forming of and preservation of the United States. During the Revolutionary War Tabor sent 20 sons and fathers to war. Also during the Revolutionary War we housed roughly 200 Hessian POW’s. We also supplied soldiers for the War of 1812, Civil War, World War I, World War II and Korea. During the Civil War we supplied the troops with religious material and during the final stages of the war we sent money and various goods to churches in both Virginia and North Carolina. During World War II we sent care packages to our service men and women in the armed forces.
As the population of Lebanon grew, so did Tabor Church. From 1860 until 1907 we started six new congregations throughout the Lebanon area. During our 254 years we have had 25 ministers. Two of those deserve special mention. Rev. Dr. John Conrad Bucher pastored Tabor from 1768 to 1780. So much loved was he that when he died in 1780 while performing a wedding ceremony in Annville, his congregation refused to let him be placed on a cart for burial at Tabor and instead carried him six miles on their shoulders. Rev. Dr. F. W. Kremer is our longest serving minister and served from 1851 until his death in 1889. His pastorate saw the greatest amount of change and growth at Tabor. He was killed on June 14, 1889 by a train on his way to a funeral north of present day Cleona.
During the years we have had several outreaches to the community and world. We have supported for many years Bethany Children’s Home. During the 1890’s we supported two seminary students in Japan. Today there is much spiritual growth at Tabor and we are excited for what lays ahead of us. If you want to learn more of Tabor’s history than what could be placed in this article come to the Lebanon County Historical Society on June 7th, 2015 at 1:30.
Pirates of the Canal: The Story Behind the Schuylkill Rangers, presented by Wes Schwenk
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.