“Thanks for the history” is a common comment on the Liberty Twp. Historical Society’s Facebook page, and the group is hoping people will share more of theirs in a new museum.
The historical society recently held an open house at its new space in the former township office on Princeton Road. The newly spruced up little white house with green shutters lets people get a gander of the artifacts the group has gathered to help preserve the township’s past.
Inside are several display cases with memorabilia from founding farms, the fire department, an old bell that blacksmith Frank Tyler — whose shop was next to current day Putters Sports Grill — used to chime everyday at noon, a newly donated antique dress form they would love to outfit with period wear, and more.
Liberty Twp. grew from a collection of farmsteads in the early 1800s to the bustling and growing suburb of about 40,000 people it is today, society president and former township fire chief Paul Stumpf said.
“We want to keep the history, and safeguard it because we’re to the point now where very few of the residents grew up here,” he said. “We’ve grown so fast and so many people here are implants. We think it’s good to show them what was here before, what life was like.”
The historical society was formed in the mid-1970s when about 60 people banded together to restore the one-room Hughes Schoolhouse located next to Liberty Elementary School. Stumpf said the group raised about $70,000 for materials and with the work of volunteers restored the building that is still used by groups today.
The society has about 25 active members who meet once a month both in the schoolhouse and now the new museum. Stumpf said in addition to memorabilia they are actively collecting, they have also recorded on video 45 longtime residents sharing their stories of the area. Copies are available for viewing at West Chester Library, he said.
Stumpf said if anyone thinks history isn’t relevant today, just take a walk down the streets of Liberty Center, where nearly all the street names are those of the township’s founding fathers and other prominent residents.
If anyone has a bit of history they’d like to share, they can contact Stumpf by email at email@example.com.
People don’t necessarily have to donate their treasures, he said. The society is happy with pictures or temporary displays.
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