Held at: Tri-County Heritage Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 352, Morgantown, PA, 19543
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Tri-County Heritage 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
The region of southeastern Pennsylvania where southern Berks, northern Chester, and eastern Lancaster counties meet is known locally as the "Tri-County" area. Chester County was established by William Penn in 1682 as one of the three original Pennsylvania counties. Lancaster County was established in 1729 from the western part of Chester County and Berks County was established in 1752 from the northern section of Chester County as well as parts of Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties.
The Tri-County area was first settled by Welsh immigrants who migrated westward from the Welsh Tract region around Radnor, PA in the early 1700s. While the area was largely agricultural, it also developed into an important early industrial corridor. The settlers established iron forges and furnaces as well as wool, paper, grist, and saw mills along the banks of the French and Conestoga creeks. The region also included mines for iron ore, copper, Kaolin (clay), and limestone quarries, which contributed to its industrial growth.
As forests were cut to produce charcoal to fuel the furnaces and forages, the landscape became more agricultural, with large farms established by the Germans who began migrating to the area in the early to mid-eighteenth century. Irish and Scottish settlers also came, purchasing large tracts of land for farming, as well as working in the mines and quarries.
In the early twenty-first century, the Tri-County area is a mix of farmland, industry, and suburban real estate development. The eastern part of Lancaster County consists primarily of rural communities of Amish and Mennonite farmlands, where tourism is also a major industry. The southern region of Berks County continues as an agricultural center, although in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century period Berks County experienced an era of industrial growth, particularly the area along Schuylkill River around the City of Reading. Northern Chester County remains largely agricultural with areas of industry and suburban development.
The Tri-County region is home to several historic sites, including Joanna Furnace, Geiger Mill, and several historic homesteads and districts. French Creek Valley, home to Hopewell Furnace, is located in both Berks and Chester Counties. The Tri-County Heritage Society was originally established in 1970 as the Morgantown/Caernarvon Historical Society, focusing on a smaller area within the region. The organization later broadened its geographic area of focus and in 1990 was incorporated as the Tri-County Heritage Society. The society's mission is to collect, preserve and disseminate the history that relates to the people, properties and events of Berks, Chester and Lancaster Counties.
County of Berks, Pennsylvania. "Berks County Background." Accessed November 4, 2015. http://www.co.berks.pa.us/Pages/BerksCountyBackground.aspx.
ExplorePAhistory.com. "Chester County Historical Marker." Accessed November 4, 2015. http://explorepahistory.com/hmarker.php?markerId=1-A-1A.
LancasterHistory.org. "Overview of Our County and Region." Accessed November 4, 2015. http://www.lancasterhistory.org/learn/overview-of-our-county-region.
Tri-County Historical Society. "About Us: A Brief history of the Tri-County Area." Accessed November 4, 2015. http://www.tricountyheritage.org/aboutus.html.
Tri-County Heritage Society obituary collection, circa 1970s-2016, consists of obituaries for residents of the Tri-County area. There are original newspaper clippings as well as photocopies of the obituaries. Most of the collection is organized chronologically and indexed. Some of the more recent obituaries are not yet indexed. There are also loose obituaries that have not yet been processed. A portion of obituaries from Lancaster County are organized alphabetically in binders, with about half of these obituaries indexed.
A portion of the collection was donated by Janet Lahr. Other parts of the collection have been collected by the Society from various sources over time.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Tri-County Heritage Society directly for more information.
- Tri-County Heritage Society
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw 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 Tri-County Heritage Society for information about accessing this collection.