Think you know all the townships and boroughs in Lebanon County?
Take the land expansion tour and see how the county has grown throughout the years.
Trivia: What city in Lebanon County was originally a small town called Steitztown?
This tour focuses on the development of Lebanon County.
Discover the ways this once rural community developed throughout the years.
Trivia: What was the name of the first fire company in Lebanon?
This tour will take you on an adventure focused on the military history of Lebanon County.
You will learn about people, places, and things, which impacted this county due to war.
Learn the story behind how this Bible and pocket watch saved a man's life during the civil war.
Politics have always been entwined in the history of Lebanon County.
Uncover facts about the county's government and learn which president practiced law in the Stoy Museum!
Trivia: Which president visited the Coleman family in Lebanon County and was served from this tea kettle?
This tour will highlight interesting facts about life throughout the county.
What does a vaudeville dress, a bicycle, and a stained glass window have to do with Lebonon County? Find
out by taking this tour.
This medical exam card belonged to a baseball player who joined the Bethlehem Steel team. Hint: He was one of the most famous baseball players of all time!
These artifacts evidence the Native Americans that were the earliest inhabitants of the Lebanon Valley. Prior to European colonization of North America the region was occupied by what archeologists identify as the Shenks Ferry culture and around 1550 A.D. by the Susquehannocks. Some of the large stone points in the Society’s collections are perhaps 5,000 years old. Some arrowheads may be as recent as the early 17th century.
Reputed to have been used at ‘Light’s Fort’ to warn of Native American attacks during the Seven Years’ or French and Indian War (1754-1763). Originally built by Johannes Leicht (John Light), the large stone home of the Light family served as one of several makeshift stockades for the colonial inhabitants of the Lebanon Valley as French allied Native Americans raided the borderlands of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia from 1755-1758.
The Penn family acquired the Lebanon Valley from Native Americans as part of a large land purchase in September 1732. George Steitz immigrated to Pennsylvania from the Palatine region in that same year. By the late 1730s, Steitz laid claim to more than 300 acres along the Quittapahilla Creek. Part of this land was divided into lots with streets and alleys by the mid-1750s. Many of the new town’s earliest inhabitants rented lots from Steitz for a yearly fee and often with the requirement that a log or stone house with a brick or stone chimmney be built. A visitor in 1772 observed more than 200 stone homes. Initially called Steitztown, the town would be officially renamed Lebanon.
Schaefferstown Water Works, established in 1763 by Alexander Schaeffer, was the first registered water company in the U.S. William Penn bought the land from the Native Americans in 1736; however, a Jewish community had already established a town in what is now known as Schaefferstown. This pipe-making equipment, which belonged to the company, was used to gouge holes through logs. These logs were then buried underground and used as water lines. Since they were not exposed to air, they did not rot. The water supply was from a spring and reservoir located about a mile south of town on a hill, which became known as Tower Hill.
Harvey S. Lineaweaver was a watchmaker/watch repairman from Campbelltown in the early 1900s. He was also a photographer and later sold appliances. A patent was granted to John Campbell in 1759 for the land that will become Campbelltown.
William Jones laid out a lot plan for Jonestown in 1761. The winner of an election in Jonestown was given a ride in this wheelbarrow.
Andrew Miller founded the town of Annville in 1763. John Shertzer, a merchant who opened one of the first stores in Annville, made this four and one-half octave spinet piano in 1828. This is a very rare piece for the Annville area since most fine furniture was typically made in larger cities.
Two letters from Christoph Saur (1721-1785) to Jacob Karch concerning bookbinding and ink making practices. Saur, the son of the noted printer Christoph Saur the elder (1695-1758), continued his father’s work as printer and bookbinder in Germantown and produced many books in the German language including quarto editions of the Bible in 1763 and 1776. Jacob Karch was German born and resided to Lebanon prior to 1770. He became the town’s first bookbinder and printer and later served as its first postmaster.
This bedspread/coverlet came from Myerstown which was founded by Isaac Meier in 1768. This bedspread/coverlet was made by William Ney (1811-1892), a weaver in Myerstown, PA. The coverlets were known for their vivid colors, and for the arrangement with the motifs he chose. It was said that when Nye retired from weaving, he discarded his loom into the depths of the Millardsville Quarry.
The Cornwall Furnace was created by Peter Grubb in 1742. It was from the operations of this furnace that the iron industry of the Lebanon Valley developed and was continued for a long period of time. One of the main recipients of the pig iron was the Hopewell Forge on Hammer Creek. By 1790 the Cornwall furnace gradually came under the control of Robert Coleman who obtained full ownership by 1803. The Cornwall furnace ceased operations in 1883. The Cornwall Ore Banks (which supplied the raw material, iron for the furnaces, forges, and later, the steel industries, until Hurricane Agnes in 1972) provided iron for every war in which the U.S. was engaged through Korea.
This green pumper from the Cedar Fire Co., the first fire company in Lebanon, is the third oldest existing piece of the fire equipment in PA. It was filled by hand with buckets of water from any available source, however, the Quittapahilla Creek was the main source in the City. There is a strainer at each end to keep debris out of the mechanism. The nozzle on top could be adjusted side to side but went no higher. The Cedar Company became inactive when all the men went to fight in the Revolutionary war.
The Flying Camps were battalions of volunteers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey that entered into service in conjunction with the Continental Army for six months from May-November 1776. Volunteers from the Lancaster County townships that would later become Lebanon County served as part of Flying Camp and were apparently present at the American defense of New York in 1776. Through the course of the war men from the Lebanon Valley served in the Lancaster County militia and the Continental Army. There are more than 250 recognized veterans of the American Revolution buried in Lebanon County.
This linen, from Palmyra, which was founded by Dr. John Palm in 1776, was made to show off embroidery skills. This set of show towels, which typically hang on doors in homes, was made as a wedding gift for Abraham and Nansi Kaufman. Their respective birth years were embroidered on the towels. The artist is unknown but is believed to be a young woman.
This pewter communion chalice and pitcher is from Gruben Kirche in South Lebanon Township, the Mother Church of Salem Lutheran and Tabor Reformed Churches. It was made by Johann Christoph Heyne, Lancaster PA (1715-1781). George Steitz bought the deed that formed the first Tabor Church; one of the counties earliest congregations.
The Pennsylvania Assembly passed laws in 1780 and 1788 that effectively ended slavery in the colony over a period of time. Any slave born before March 1, 1780 would be a slave for life, but any child born to a slave after March 1 would be an indentured servant until age 28. In accord with the laws, slave owners were required to register lists of all slaves with county level officials. Grubb’s 1788 return of nineteen slaves in Lebanon Township made him the largest slave owner in Lancaster County.
This Samovar (Russian Tea Kettle) is made of copper and brass and has a cylinder in the center to hold hot coals to keep the tea at serving temperature. It is believed that General George Washington was served from this Samovar when he was a guest for two days of Robert Coleman at the Elizabeth Mansion. Washington was considering seeking a second term as President and sought advice from Coleman, who of course was supportive of the President’s intentions.
A Fraktur-schriften is an important form of Pennsylvania German art. Frakturs were originally drawn by artists who would travel from house to house and record birth, baptismal, marriage information, and other information. This fraktur is signed by Andreas Kessler as both scrivener and decorator. It is a baptismal certificate for Magdalena Mies, born Jan. 10, 1791, in Bethel Township.
This document is instructions for the use of Dr. William Stoy’s certain remedy against the bite of a rabid dog. His cures were so well-known that in 1797, President George Washington sent one of his slaves to Dr. Stoy for treatment. The ingredients of this drink included a quart of strong beer, an ounce of red chicken intestines, and an ounce of an unknown ingredient. The full instructions can be read here.
Mr. Jacob Schnee published the first German language newspaper in Lebanon called the Der Freimuthige Libanoner (The Free Lebanoner) first issued on January 1, 1807. This issue of the Libanoner contains several advertisements of sales or real and personal property. Mr. Schnee also published books and other papers, and later migrated to New Harmony, Indiana. The paper was later sold to Jacob Stoever, and he changed the name to Der Libanoner Morgenstern (Lebanon Morning Star).
This wall pocket was used as a small planter or vase. It is a rare piece of pottery because it is signed. The Artist was G. S. Freshley, and marked Lebanon. Local red clay was used for every day pottery pieces in the early 1800’s which were called redware. A number of redware pottery shops had been located in Lebanon County.
Watercolor portraits of Daniel Fegan, Sr. and wife Magdalena Killinger Fegan were painted by physician and artist Jacob Maentel. Maentel resided in Schaefferstown, and later relocated to New Harmony, Indiana. Daniel and Magdalena were married on November 9th, 1817.
This canteen was used by Phillip Allwein of Lebanon, PA during the war of 1812. The County militia was organized for service in the war for 1812.
John Andrew Schulz, from Myerstown, swore himself into all county offices at once coinciding with the official formation of Lebanon County. Lebanon County formed out of Dauphin County in 1813.
The building at 924 Cumberland Street was first built circa 1773 by Reverend Wilhelm Henry Stoy, M.D. It originally served as the county's first courthouse (1813-1818) where President James Buchannan served as prosecutor for the Commonwealth and as a defense attorney, and Governor John Andrew Schulz served as first Clerk of Courts and Prothonotary. The Court room remained in the Snavely home until the spring of 1818. The building has served various purposes throughout the years, and now houses the Lebanon County Historical Society. It has been the home of the Society since 1976.
Henry William Embich, a carpenter and woodworker, made this model of the Lebanon County Court House, the building itself was built in 1818, after losing his hand in an accident at the Fox and Graeff lumber plant. He created this model as an exact replica, hand-carving and fitting the pieces without any assistance.
This trunk belonged to Governor John Andrew Schultz, the only PA Governor from Lebanon County.
House date plaques display the year in which the house was established. These four are taken from a farmhouse in Cleona, donated by Bob and Shirley Long. These plaques were written in both German and English.
These carpenter’s tools belonged to William Lehman who was the first resident superintendent of the Union Canal when it opened in 1828. The existing Canal Tunnel is the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States. The Union Canal once linked the commercial centers of Harrisburg and Reading and, by extension, the port of Philadelphia.
This lock was used in 1833 in the Alms house which was created as a home for the poor and indigent residents of Lebanon County. In 1937, the name of the complex was changed to the County Institutional District. The original Alms House was replaced in 1966 by the opening of Cedar Haven, which is home to persons of various incomes.
This sampler was made by Catharine Shaffer in 1849. Samplers were typically made by young girls to practice their stitches in motifs and alphabet, and then their samples were used later on household linens. More typical of New England society, samplers are rare in Lebanon County. This is the only one within the Society’s collection.
This drum is from the Perseverance band, formed in 1857. The “Perse” was the regimental band for the 93rd Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Today it is a community band, and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating band in Lebanon County.
In late May 1862, the 93rd regiment fought during the Civil War at Fair Oaks, Va. Captain Eli Daugherty narrowly escaped death when a bullet pierced his vest pocket, hitting a gold pocket watch and passing through 600 pages of the Bible he was carrying. The bullet wounded him, but the watch and the Bible had taken the brunt of the bullet's force, saving his life.
This company was in business from 1873 – 1922. The factory, which was located along the Union Canal, shipped organs on the Canal to Reading then Philadelphia and from there worldwide. This particular organ is believed to have been made for the Coleman family, before being relocated to the Oakview Nursing Home in Lebanon (now closed) before making its way to the Society. The pipes are made of wood and are purely decorative.
During the summer of 1883, as a new railroad line was being completed, a committee composed of C&L President Robert H. Coleman, General Superintendent John C. Jennings, and Secretary-Treasurer Hugh M. Maxwell made plans to go out and select the sites for the train stations along the C&L route. They discovered a beautiful woodland area on the side of Governor Dick Mountain which became Mt. Gretna. By the summer of 1884, Bob Coleman had financed the construction and laying-out of the most lavish and comfortable rustic recreational facilities ever before seen. The Mt. Gretna Post office was built around the turn of the 20th century on the main road alongside the Chautauqua grounds. When the interior of the post office was remodeled in 1979, the metal structure and numbered mailbox sections were donated to the Society.
These Salt and Pepper shakers were early souvenirs from Mt. Gretna, Pa. In 1885 the Pennsylvania National Guard began a 50-year annual encampment at Mt. Gretna, using 120 acres of this area as its summer encampment site. This proved to be so satisfactory that it was 1935 before they moved to the Indiantown Gap area because they had outgrown the site.
This is a painting of Mt. Nebo Hotel (1890-1910) whose original owner was Jacob W. Mease. It was given to the family as a thank you gift for summer lodging. Ono, PA, originally was called Mt. Nebo. Tradition has it that at the suggestion of Judge William Rand and Dr. D. S. Cooper, the name Mt. Nebo was to be changed but with every suggestion the people would say, “OH, NO,” so a member of the committee said let us call it “Ono”.
Left: Student nurse doll from Good Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing. Right: G.S. H. School of Nursing uniform worn after passing probation (6 months). The first 6 months of nursing school is called “probation,” where the nurses had to prove that they were up to the task. A typical nursing degree took three years to complete and passing probation was the first step.
Francis R. Boughter spent his entire adult life serving in the navy. While in the navy, he earned a medal for commanding a Hospital Ship, Solace, on the China Station. This sword, from the around the Spanish-American War era (1898) and the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900), was used for ceremonial purposes and would have been worn with his dress uniform. Francis Boughter also used to live at 924 Cumberland Street, where the Historical Society now resides.
On top of the Lebanon County Courthouse once located at 8th and Cumberland Streets (1819-1965), stood the Goddess of Liberty. The original Goddess arrived in 1817, after Henry Shuey, Esquire transported her from Philadelphia, Pa. He was paid $24 for his services. In 1876, Liberty was replaced with a replica carved by Ferdinand Duroe, a young carver working at the Lebanon firm of Reinohl and Meily. This Liberty was about 8 feet high, and carried a set of scales in one hand and a sword in the other. On November 18, 1908, there was a serious fire at the courthouse which sent Liberty falling into the second floor courtroom. Today, only her bust and sword remain.
This cup was sent to the Lions Club, along with a letter addressed William J. Noll. Noll was instrumental in having the name of the community changed from Bismarck to Quentin in honor of Roosevelt’s son Quentin, who was killed during WWI. For many years the cup was lost. It was later found in the attic of the Fire Hall while it was being cleaned.
This letter was written in 1918 by Theodore Roosevelt to William J. Noll to thank the “people of Quentin,” for renaming their town (previously Bismarck). The town was renamed to honor Roosevelt’s deceased son, and due to the prevailing anti-German sentiment of that era.
To avoid the draft, Babe Ruth went to “work” for Bethlehem Steel and joined the company baseball team. Many of the Major League Baseball players, along with Ruth, joined the so-called “Safe Shelter League.” Since the steel industry was considered essential to the war effort, none of the workers could be drafted.
The Colonial Theater operated for 54 years at 9th and Cumberland streets. It was a beautiful 1,200-seat house built in the 1920s, and showed silent films, accompanied by an organ in the pit. “The Jazz Singer,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “The Godfather” are some notable movies to have played in this theater.
This dress was worn by Newmanstown’s well-known Trix sisters, Helen and Josephine Yeiser. In the 1920s, they performed in vaudeville shows under the stage name of Trix. Elder sister Helen was well known to New York vaudeville audiences long before WWI and was later joined by Josephine. They performed for the royal family in London, and opened a cabaret in Paris.
Although women were rare in the military around World War II, this army nurses uniform belonged to Kathleen E. Yiengst.
This Bicycle was made by G. K. & Co., in Lebanon. The model of this bicycle is called Hermit.
This four-foot, black cast-iron statue was given to the Lebanon Steel Foundry (in operation from 1901-1983) as a token of friendship between William H. Worrilow, Sr. and Thomas S. Quinn, original founders of the Foundry, and Hans Naegeli of the George Fischer, LTD., Schaffhausen, Switzerland organization. Saint Barbara was a Christian martyr of the fourth century and is the patron saint of foundrymen.
This plush toy represents the symbolic meaning this food has for Lebanon County. In the 1990’s, local tourist agency known as the Lebanon Valley tourist Bureau, established the Bologna Fest, a local celebration of the local bologna-making industry. Since the late 1990s, city officials have dropped a large bologna to bring in the New Year – another celebration of this county's favorite local meat.
Railroads have been travelling across Lebanon in an east/west direction since 1858. Although Lebanon no longer has railroad passenger service (It ended on June 30, 1963), there are 60 or more freight trains operated by the Norfolk Southern Railroad that pass through Lebanon each day. This button was donated by the City of Lebanon as a keepsake of the 9th St. Bridge opening. The 10th St. Bridge is scheduled to be completed in late 2013.
This stained glass piece was created in 2013 by local artist Franklin L. Weidman. The design is approximately 16”x16” in an oak frame, and was made for County’s Bicentennial celebration. The logo itself was designed by 2012 graduate from Cedar Crest High School, Logan Lee Echard, after winning the design contest out of 56 entries. We thank all of the students for their exceptional entries and for their interest in the history of Lebanon County.