Town Tours and Village Walks

Town Tours and Village Walks: August Events

Joanna Furnace: An Archaeological Triumph

Tour 9: August 4

In 1791 when Joanna Furnace was founded by Samuel Potts, Thomas Rutter III, Thomas May and Thomas Bull, Berks County was part of Chester County.  Hay Creek Valley Historical Association Executive Director Mark Zerr and over 25 living history volunteers brought the village to life for Town Tours in this wonderful testament to imagination and hard work in the 1800's and today.  This remarkably restored iron village was buried in the woods and weeds after the furnace blew out in 1898 until work began in 1979 to restore the village.  Volunteers recreated this 19th Century iron making community through research, archaeology, restoration, early American crafts, engine technology and just plain hard work!! I sincerely hope all the Chester County residents who wanted to make the trip but felt it was too far will return for the Hay Creek Apple Festival at Joanna Furnace on October 8 & 9 when over 10,000 visitors will enjoy "all things apples" for two wonderful days of family fun.  For more information about this festival and Joanna Furnace visit www.haycreek.org/index.htm

Carver Court: A Living Legacy

Tour 10: August 11

Community spirit and sense of community abound at Carver Court National Register Historic District, featured on the August 11 Town Tour that was organized by Caln Historical Commission, Caln Historical Society, and Friends of Carver Court. In spite of record heat, this tour was cool and the resident's passion for their community was palpable. Multi-generations of residents stood at their homes to greet the 150 tour participants and tell the story of Carver Court from their family history perspective, one presenter grew up in one of the original families and still resides at Carver Court. This was a fantastic experience not to be missed!  Carver Court is an architect designed WWII defense worker complex. Three prominent figures of modern architecture in Philadelphia — Louis I. Kahn, George Howe, and Oskar Stonorov — collaborated on this Federal housing built for African American steel workers and their families in support of the wartime defense industry. Carver Court is a cul-de-sac encircling a common green, lined with one and two story International Style homes.

Mid-Century Modern in Middle Pickering

Tour 11: August 18

Oskar Stonorov was a true "Renaissance Man."  He was born in Germany, studied art and architecture in Italy and Switzerland, then immigrated to America in 1929.  As an architect, artist, a progressive voice for housing and education, he and his wife, Elizabeth Foster Stonorov, (Miss Betty) made Avon Lea Farm in Chester County's East Pikeland a center for discourses and actions leading to lasting achievements in many areas.  Their home, a very significant pre-war modern movement residence built on the foundations of an earlier farmhouse in a remarkable setting of rolling hills was our first stop on the Mid-Century Modern in Middle Pickering Town Tour last Thursday.  Ed Bacon, his visionary good friend and city planner, worked with Stonorov to alter a miller's residence which was also featured on the tour.  Over 250 guests enjoyed a quiet stroll through this remarkable landscape of 20th century design and the earlier 19th century village, mills, and residences along Pickering Creek.  Volunteer docents and architects told the story of the structures and the vision inherent in their design. Thank you East Pikeland Historical Commission and the Pikeland Historical Society.

300 Years of Iron and Steel Heritage
100 Years of National Park Service

Tour 12: August 25 and 27

What could be better than ending the Town Tour schedule with birthday cake!  Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site celebrated 100 years of the National Park Service and 300 Years of Iron and Steel production in our region on August 25th and 27th.  Joining in the fun was the Pine Forge Academy Choir representing the state's first iron production site, visits from President and Mrs. Roosevelt to discuss their work to have the Hopewell Furnace rebuilt in the 1930s, living history demonstrations, bands and more.  The Friends of Hopewell Furnace helped welcome guests and park rangers were on hand to explain the natural and cultural resources within the national park.  Many thanks to the over 2,200 participants in this summer's tour who enjoyed the work of the 400 volunteers from the sponsoring municipalities and historic organizations who make Town Tours & Village Walks such a wonderful program!!  Also, thank you to the Iron and Steel Heritage Partnership for their work to honor the 300th iron production anniversary!  The closing ceremony for the 300th Anniversary will be at the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum on Saturday, October 1st.  See you next summer for the Campaign of 1777'’s 240th anniversary.