The Free Family Quilt, a Liberty Album quilt dated 1853, an appliqué quilt, is on display at the Heritage Museum of New Freedom. The quilt includes the
The Free Family Quilt, a Liberty Album quilt dated 1853, an appliqué quilt, is on display at the Heritage Museum of New Freedom. The quilt includes the names of members of the Free family, which founded New Freedom. submitted

York County has a variety of groups interested in preserving the heritage and local flavor of our small towns. They may sponsor lectures or walking tours, special events and celebrations and a number of them have museums that contain artifacts and written materials that tell the stories of our past.

Here's a look at a few of the groups preserving York County history:

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THE HERITAGE MUSEUM OF NEW FREEDOM, which opened in February, tells the story of the town.

There are items from businesses, the railroad, schools, churches, sports teams and - coming soon - a video on how the town evolved.

"We have the Free Family Quilt that belonged to the Free family.

The Heritage Museum of New Freedom houses items from businesses, the railroad, schools, churches, sports teams and   coming soon   a video on how the town
The Heritage Museum of New Freedom houses items from businesses, the railroad, schools, churches, sports teams and coming soon a video on how the town evolved. submitted
It is a Liberty Album quilt dated 1853, an appliqué quilt, with the names of Free family members. The workmanship is excellent, and it is in great condition," past president Diane Folger said.

"We have a beautiful Melodeon organ that belonged to the same family and is believed to be about the same age as the quilt. It was donated by Kathleen Craig, a descendent of the Free family, which founded New Freedom," Folger said.

The museum, a project of New Freedom Heritage, was founded by members of the New Freedom Community Gardeners to preserve the culture and history of the town.

The Heritage Museum, at 22 Railroad Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first Saturday of each month. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.

New Freedom Heritage created Freedom Green in the downtown area, and it's now the site of the annual Freedom Fest, summer movie nights and the town Christmas tree.

The group created two historic murals and members recently joined with other volunteers to clean the Codorus Creek that runs through town.

Upcoming events include movie nights on

June 16 and Sept. 8 and the New Freedom Fest on

Sept. 15.

New Freedom Heritage meets 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the museum.

The rebuilding of the blacksmith shop was the Greater Dover Historical Society’s first major project.   submitted
The rebuilding of the blacksmith shop was the Greater Dover Historical Society's first major project. submitted
Membership is $20 per year.

For details, visit www.newfreedomheritage.org.

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THE GREATER DOVER HISTORICAL SOCIETY points to the rebuilding of its blacksmith shop as its first major project and looks forward to finding a place to display the many archives now in storage.

Darlene Kann donated the building to the society in 2003. It was dismantled and rebuilt two years later by society members under the direction of Ken Brown, society President Madelyn Shermeyer said.

The blacksmith shop was designated a York County Heritage Site, received a Historic York Preservation Award and is on the Historic Trail in York County.

The shop, on Butter Road in Ketterman Park, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month from April through October, with demonstrations by blacksmith Eli Nakkenen, Shermeyer said.

"It will also be open during our annual historical walk led by Kay Stitley," she said.

The walk begins at the blacksmith shop at 6 p.m. on June 19.

A study of the oldest homes and sites in the borough and in Dover Township is ongoing, she said.

"We received brass plaques to go on these homes or sites. They will be installed by Ken Brown, who offered to install them at no cost to the society," Shermeyer said. "We have 14 plaques to install. In the first round we will be installing six."

The society meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, except September and December, at Cavalry Lutheran Church, 9 N. Main St., Dover.

More information on the society is available at www.gdhspa.org.

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THE RED LION HISTORICAL SOCIETY'S CENTER SQUARE MUSEUM tells the story of cigars, handcrafted furniture and other things related to the town's history.

"It is stuffed full of Red Lion memorabilia," museum Director Shirley Keeports said.

Cigar-making is so much a part of the history, the society recently held a workshop to teach people the art of hand-rolling cigars.

"We can't lose this heritage of hand-making cigars," Keeports said.

Workers, many of them women, stripped tobacco and hand-rolled cigars.

The Red Lion train station is home to a model train display owned and operated by the Red Lion Area Historical Society.  submitted
The Red Lion train station is home to a model train display owned and operated by the Red Lion Area Historical Society. submitted
 They were paid by the piece for hand-rolling cigars. The record is said to belong to a woman could make 1,400 in a day, but she was docked a bit of her pay because she was wasteful with the tobacco, Keeports said.

Red Lion was a stop on the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, and the train station is home to a model train display owned and operated by the society.

If you would like to donate items of Red Lion's history, call Keeports at 717-244-2122.

If you have written memories to share, email info@redlionareahistoricalsociety.org or call Robin Miller at 717-246-2982.

The Center Square Museum is at 10 E. Broadway. Hours are 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is 717-244-1912.

Call Keeports for information on MA & PA Train Station Museum hours.

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THE KREUTZ CREEK VALLEY PRESERVATION SOCIETY includes Hallam Borough and Hellam Township.

"It was founded in the 1980s by a group of people who were interested in local history. We were looking for a place where we could put memorabilia from the area, and we bought Rudy's Schoolhouse," President Garry Lehman said.

The schoolhouse, built circa 1840, serves as a museum and houses the history of the area and the schools, churches, families and organizations that were a part of that history.

"It was a one-room school and we have pictures of the school itself and of the students that went there. There were more than 50 one-room schools in the area, and this is the only one that was not sold and turned into a private residence," Lehman said.

The museum is on the Lincoln Highway and is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month or by appointment. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcomed. The society also holds an annual native plant sale to raise money to keep the museum operating, Lehman said.

The society meets two or three times a year, he said.

"We just don't get the interest in people coming to meetings or participating like we used to," Lehman said, but he would like to see renewed interest in the schoolhouse and museum.

For more information, call 717-434-300 and leave a message.

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THE STEWARTSTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY has a lot going on. It operates a museum at 11 Mill St., Stewartstown, with displays that include photos, post cards and family histories; just published a second volume of "Yesteryears;" and sponsors a series of lectures and tours.

"The book 'Yesteryears,' published last year, is mostly a pictorial history," President Don Linebaugh said. "It is actually the third book we've done. We have a cookbook and the first volume of 'Yesteryears' will be back in print by August."

The books are available at the museum, which also features the borough's first hand-drawn pumper fire engine, agricultural tools that reflect the area's farming roots and an exhibition on the Stewartstown Railroad, he said. The records of the railroad are currently on loan to the society to be preserved electronically for future use.

"It's a big job but really an important one," Linebaugh said.

The society sponsors a series of lectures and presentations, including a planned presentation during the week of Halloween that will focus on the Hex murders, he said.

The society is looking into the possibility of restoring one of the last remaining one-room schools in the area and is already planning its annual house tour co-sponsored with the Stewartstown Library, he said.

The society meets periodically, and those with an interest in preserving local history are invited to visit and join. For more information, call 717-993-5003 and leave a message.

The museum is open from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Tell us

SHARE your historical organization's story with our readers by emailing barken@nfdc.net; calling 717-235-1042; or writing to Barb Krebs, Weekly Record, 1891 Loucks Road, York 17408.

Feel free to include a few photos with brief descriptions of what's in each photo.

You are also welcome to suggest a topic for a future Suburban Life feature.