Local History

My writings and research on the history of Perkasie.

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

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:

A historic moment in sportsmanship at Hershey

The moment we stepped inside the Giant Arena in Hershey, Pa., it was clear history would be made that evening.

The Pennsylvania state 6A basketball featured Erie-area Kennedy Catholic (ranked 10th in the nation) and Pennridge, a suburban Philadelphia public school making its first appearance in Hershey for a state basketball championship.

Kennedy and Pennridge players during the anthem

The press said the game was a David and Goliath contest; after all, Pennridge had 2,327 students and Kennedy Catholic just 244. However, the media portrayed Kennedy Catholic as Goliath, citing its ability to attract students outside its boundary area to play for the team. State rules prevented Pennridge from doing that.

A new look and name for my Perkasie blog

Starting today, I am changing the emphasis of my Perkasie blog to our Borough’s history and its preservation. Since 2015, I’ve spent a lot of time, and also some money, researching the Borough’s history with the intention of doing something meaningful with that research.

This week, Perkasie Borough starts the process of applying for the National Register of Historic Places for its Town Center overlay district. That was my project in Bucks County Community College’s Historic Preservation program from 2015 to 2017. You can see that project in the lower right column of this blog.

Our Borough Council’s Historical Committee is also working with the Perkasie Historical Society to save our covered bridge. My Masters in History project at Arizona State was the creation of the first extensive historical website about the county’s 51 covered bridges. Only 12 now remain. You can see the entire project at https://bucksbridges.com.  This project represents 10 months of research and includes more than 100 images never seen in public. Thanks again to the Museum and the Bucks County Commissioners for all their support!

And as a bonus, I’ve included the first high-resolution, text-searchable PDF of the 1929 Perkasie Borough 50th Anniversary book.  Ancestry.com and others have low-res versions, but I scanned this personally using the latest Adobe software, so it looks great. I also need someone’s help counting all the times the word “Moyer” appears in the book. I lost track after 100.

My hope is that these resources will keep the discussion alive about Preserving Perkasie. Our town is special for many reasons, and it reflects the work of generations of people who cared about our community. Please let me know if you have any history to share.

And we will have several events over the upcoming year where you can help Preserve Perkasie, if you’d like to participate.


Tour Perkasie Town Center’s Historic Buildings

The railroad and trolley era led to the creation of Perkasie Borough’s Town Center district and we can boast about some the best examples of that age’s architecture in Bucks County.

When was the South Perkasie covered bridge really built?

For the past year, I have been researching the 51 covered bridges that once existed in Bucks County, and one question I’ve been asked is how do we really know that Perkasie’s bridge was built in 1832?