Local History

My writings and research on the history of Perkasie.

Honoring a true Perkasie hero: Frank R. Kulp

Today, the Kulp Memorial Park is one of the most-used facilities in Perkasie Borough, but there are several generations of people who don’t about Frank R. Kulp, the man the park is named after.

Frank Rupley Kulp dedicated much of his adult life to making sure Perkasie Borough was successful, prosperous, and well-run as its first official Borough Manager.

Frank R. Kulp

Perkasie Borough named the facility at Second Street after Kulp in 1979, about a year after he passed away at the age of 56.

Perkasie Park: Bucks County’s Hidden Historical Gem

One day each year, Bucks County’s most unique National Historic District is open for public tours. In 2019, that day is Saturday, August 3, as a new non-profit dedicated to the regional impact of the Victorian-age Perkasie Park Camp-Meeting holds its annual Founders Day celebration. 

The Perkasie Park Historical Foundation, a 501(c)3,  will offer self-guided tours of selected cottages and the Park’s outdoor auditorium on 21 acres tucked away on Perkasie’s Ninth Street. The privately owned Park’s Victorian architecture and unique landscape never fail to give visitors a sense of stepping back to a simpler time.

Today, this National Historic District isn’t widely known outside of the Pennridge region, and even many local residents don’t know that 60 cottages and an acoustically perfect outdoor auditorium sit across from the Perkasie police station and Penn Community Bank on Ninth Street. But 130 years ago, the annual Perkasie Park assembly brought thousands of people to its rolling grounds. In Bucks County during the late 1880s, its attendance was only surpassed by the annual Bucks County fair.

High school graduations were a big deal in Victorian Perkasie

On May 29, 1903, the Philadelphia Inquirer featured the graduating class of Perkasie High School – all six students. Despite the small class size, about 1,000 people attended graduation at the Perkasie Park camp-meeting auditorium.

At the 1903 commencement, Addie Maurer gave the valedictorian address. In the back row in this rare picture are, left to right: Gertrude Cressman, Richard Harr, and Addie Mauer. The front row: Alice Rae Thompson, Flora Rickert, and Nora Pfleiger.

Why a World War II ship was named after a West Rockhill nurse

After World War II concluded in August 1945, the Perkasie News-Herald listed the names of 40 local men who died or were missing in active service – and one woman. This is her story.

Major Emily H. Weder (far right)

Major Emily Helen Weder was preparing in 1943 to leave her post as assistant chief nurse at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington for duty off the south of France to support the expected Allied invasion whenever it took place. She was in charge of all operating rooms at Walter Reed and highly respected. But Major Weder was diagnosed with cancer and died at the age of 49 in September 1943.

Remembering Perkasie’s forgotten Civil War heroes

A former Gettysburg veteran organized a solemn Memorial Day parade 100 years ago this week in Perkasie, getting ready to add the names of four more war dead to the annual observance.

In May 1919, John Schwartz was many things in Perkasie: the co-founder of the Lessig schoolhouse Sunday school and the Perkasie Park camp-meeting; state House representative; and the man responsible for many Perkasie residents owning their first homes from the Perkasie Building and Loan Association.

Civil War Veterans march behind the band in an 1898 parade in South Perkasie

Pennridge school board election to make history in November

For the first time since Richard Nixon was president, Pennridge school district voters will take part in fully open elections for school board directors on November 5. The path to that date involves the strange practice of “cross-filing” and a time when Pennridge had 42 school directors.

Pennridge High School, before the age of cross-filings

10 facts about Perkasie Borough’s early years

On May 10, 1879, Perkasie officially became a Borough when the Bucks County Court approved a petition signed by 68 village residents. To honor the anniversary, here are 10 facts about the newly created Borough, which has grown just a bit in the past 140 years.

An aerial look at 10 great historical structures we’ve lost

I recently posted an old aerial picture of the Perkasie Tunnel, one of Bucks County’s most historic landmarks. But that got me thinking about images of other places in the Philadelphia area we’ve lost since the 1920s and 1930s.

We may finally know what the word “Perkasie” really means

Research from a scholar who has spent more than three decades studying the Lenape Indian’s language shows the word “Perkasie” has nothing to do with cracked hickory nuts.

Paul Domville’s mural shows the meeting of William Penn and Tamanend

It means “a place of peaches,” according to Raymond Whritenour.

Bucks County Herald covers Perkasie’s Historic Preservation project

Thanks to Melinda Rizzo for taking the time to speak with me about Perkasie Borough’s Historic Resource Survey project. You can read her article by clicking here.

If you are a professional historic preservationist (with at least one project that completed for a Resource Survey accepted by the state), you can get the RFP by contacting the Borough directly. Here is the info: