Historical Society of Whitpain local history collection
Held at: Wissahickon Valley Historical Society [Contact Us]Whitpain Public School 1895 Building, 799 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, 19422
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
"Whitpain Township, one of the oldest townships of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, was settled as early as 1685. Prior to 10 September 1784 it was a part of Philadelphia when the present Montgomery County was created from Philadelphia County.
"The exact date of the establishment of Whitpain as a township has not yet been definitely ascertained. However, as one of the original townships laid out by William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, it is known to have existed on 4 March 1701 as 'Whitpain Township' when it is mentioned in official records.
"It is one of the central townships of the county, bounded on the west by Worcester, north by Upper and Lower Gwynedd, east by Whitemarsh and south by Plymouth and East Norriton townships, with the Borough of Ambler and Upper Dublin Township in the northeast corner. Mostly rectangular in shape, it is 4.5 miles long and 3 miles wide, containing 8640 acres, approximately 12.8 square miles. It has been fortunate in maintaining its boundaries intact from outside encroachments for over 300 years."
Centre Square Fire Company. "Whitpain Township History." Accessed December 16, 2011. http://www.csfc33.com/whitpainhistory.htm.
This collection was assembled by the the Historical Society of Whitpain. The Historical Society of Whitpain was established in 1983. Its collections and property were merged into the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society as of January 1, 2015.
The Historical Society of Whitpain local history collection contains newspaper clippings, ledgers and other manuscript volumes, pamphlets and ephemera, and original and copy photographs. It covers various topics of local interest, including locally significant churches, organizations, historic buildings, schools, individuals and families. There are general files on historic preservation and local history, as well as some on Historical Society of Whitpain events.
Local government records in this collection include Whitpain tax record volumes, 1899 and 1900; tax ledger for Gwynedd Township, 1881; and Board of Supervisors of Whitpain Township records, 1901-1907. There are also many property-related materials, such as estate settlement documents for Mary Layman, circa 1825-1845; land deeds, 1778 and 1787; David Bernhard farm land documents, 1868-1914; and composition books with property information, 1966-1970. Other items of special interest include two daybooks for McMullen's Store, 1880-1888; several maps of Montgomery County and Whitpain Township; photographs of local properties, including Normandy Farms, taken by George S. Peck; and a German-language autograph book, 1825-1851.
There are a large number of materials in the collection relating to local historian Clara Beck. These include two newspaper clipping scrapbooks of columns written by Beck, 1917-1923, and minutes from a committee on Montgomery County history, 1922. There is also small box of original photographs and negatives taken by Beck, circa 1910-1930, and four binders of copies of Beck photographs held at the Montgomery County Historical Society.
Another large section of the collection contains records from local chapters of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Centre Square #84 and Perkiomen Castle #74. These include: pledge book kept by Peter Bunder, 1846-1909; pledge book, 1910-1932; dues book (Centre Square lodge), 1846-1852; minute book, 1893-1923; minute book, 1906-1920; and minute book (Perkiomen Castle), 1874-1896.
Of special interest is a large wall map: "Map of the Vicinity of Philadelphia, from actual surveys by D. J. Lake and S. N. Beers, C. K. Stone and A. Pomeroy Publishers, Philadelphia 1860."
Materials collected by the Historical Society of Whitpain. The Historical Society of Whitpain and its collections and property were merged into the Wissahickon Valley Historical Society as of January 1, 2015.
- Fraternal organizations
- Local history
- Normandy Farm (Whitpain, Pa.)
- Secret societies
- United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
- Wissahickon Valley Historical Society
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact Wissahickon Valley Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.