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Historical society hosts 40th festival

Governor Wolf Historical Society, 6600 Jacksonville Road, East Allen Township, celebrated its 40th annual holiday history festival Dec. 4 and 5, 2021.

The event spanned from the Monocacy School building to the Ralston-McKeen House and featured more than two dozen historic crafters, while also unveiling a new museum with a life-size figure of Pennsylvania Gov. George Wolf.

Wolf was the seventh governor of Pennsylvania. He served two terms, and it was rumored he did not serve a third because he wanted to legalize education for women.

The historical society was founded in 1958 when the Wolf Academy Restoration Society and the Bath Area Historical Society merged as one. The society is an all-volunteer organization that aims to fundraise for the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the Ralston-McKeen House, Wolf Academy and Monocacy School.

The holiday history festival featured vendors that offered crafts for sale but also had an array of colonial activities for guests to participate in, including playing with early-20th-century toys and getting a glimpse of a Civil War soldier’s tent setup.

Some of the artifacts and displays featured a German family Bible from the 1880s, a guide to how the common or public schools are governed, report cards from the early 1900s and clothes that could be made from spinning and sewing in the 1800s.

Guests were permitted to enter the Ralston-McKeen House, as each room was equipped with a costumed volunteer, a fire roaring in the original fireplaces and colonial tasks, such as spinning or hearth cooking. The Ralston-McKeen House was originally built in 1795 and was acquired by the society in 1981. It has eight rooms and six fireplaces.

Kathy Wilhelm and Lucienne Hosfort, society volunteers, prepared a potato and onion pie right in the middle of the tour and offered samples to those passing by.

The Monocacy School holds the new museum, which was founded by 90-year-old Ann Power and was curated by Governor Wolf Historical Society’s Linda Kortz, who has an extensive background in museum design. Kortz assembled the entire collection and educational video through the help of volunteers in a matter of months.

The new display featured a mock-1900s schoolroom with original desks and chalkboards while paying homage to Wolf, who was known as the father of the free school system, for his significant role in the passing of the Common School Act. The Monocacy School was a three-room school building that was used in the 1960s. It was acquired by the historical society in 1998.

The festival welcomed a busy crowd and was very successful for its 40th run. The historic society also hosted a candlelight concert with Mt. Laurel Brass Dec. 12. The society’s final event of 2021 was a New Year’s Eve event Dec. 31, featuring the Christopher Dean Band.

PRESS PHOTOS BY CASSANDRA DAYOUB Neil and Kathleen Coddington portray Gov. George Wolf and Mrs. Wolf during Governor Wolf Historical Society's 40th annual holiday history festival, held Dec. 4 and 5, 2021.
Henry Green, Chris Holub, Ryan Strawn and Rick Eisenhart, with the 153rd volunteer infantry, portray Civil War soldiers during the event.
Kathy Wilhelm and Lucienne Hosfort run the hearth cooking station, making chicken sausage, potato and onion pie and a dessert.
Doug Burton, a volunteer with the George Taylor House, Catasauqua, displays a number of colonial toys.
Sharon and Gloria Koch, from Mats for Vets, make blankets from recycled bags and give them to homeless veterans.