Historical society enjoying new digs
firstname.lastname@example.org When one takes the winding staircase WR WKH sHFRnG flRRU RI $OYHUWKRUSH 0DnRU there is a guarantee you will be transported back in time. Not because you are in a historical building, but because resources to the past are within reach once you enter the space of the Old vork Road Historical Society.
Founded in 1936 in a room on the second flRRU RI WKH -Hnkintown Library, the historical society has established a collection of photographs, property atlases, genealogical records, newspapers, books, manuscripts, artwork and many other finGLnJs IRU FRPmunity research that focuses on Abington, Cheltenham, Lower Moreland and Upper Moreland townships and Bryn Athyn, Hatboro, Jenkintown and Rockledge boroughs.
In February, the society moved its headquarters from the basement of the Jenkintown Library — a location it moved to in the early 1990s — to Alverthorpe Manor, a building it shares with the Abington Township Parks and Recreation Bureau, the Abington Art Center and the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Center.
The move came after the Jenkintown Library Board decided to forgo the renewal of the society’s lease, said historical society President David Rowland during an interview at the manor March 13.
“The library board felt the space was not suitable to be rented,” he said. “We had a year to be out of the building. They told us in January 2012 and we had to be out by December.”
$ SRUWLRn RI WKH PDnRU’s sHFRnG flRRU, which the historical society now occupies, had been vacant for about two years after the former tenant, Settlement Music School, relocated to Willow Grove.
“:KHn wH fiUsW ORRNHG DW WKH sSDFH DW the beginning of last year, the price was not right, there were a lot of people interested in the space and we were low in the pecking order,” Rowland said.
However, after some time passed, pre- vious applicants fell through and the rent was renegotiated, he said.
“By WKH HnG RI WKH suPPHU, WKLnJs JRW finalized so we could move in,” he said.
Although the rent is twice what the society was paying at the Jenkintown Library, Rowland said the society looked at several sites in Jenkintown and Abington before applying for a lease with the township, which owns the manor.
“[The manor] was the most stable [location] in terms of the landlord,” he said. “We KDYH D fiYH-yHDU FRntract here. Most commercial leases are for a year, and given all the stuff we have and how KDUG LW Ls WR finG sSDFH, we couldn’t expose the society to being kicked around in commercial space. With a long lease here, and an automatic renewal unless either party says no, hopefully we will be here for a while.”
Before the society moved in, it was able to renovate the space after raising more than $64,000. Some of the funds went to repairing lights, rewiring the space for phone and computer use and installing an air cooling system and carpeting, as well as painting. In addition to repairs, the society purchased new bookFDsHs, fiOLnJ FDELnHWs DnG RWKHU suSSOLHs LW needed, Rowland said.
Now settled in the new space, which is about 1,000 square feet, the society is open to the public Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Also, community members are welcome to participate in the spring lecture series held on Wednesday, April 10 and May 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the parish house of the Church of Our Savior at Old vork and Homestead roads.
The historical society also serves as a repository for old records, photographs, yearbooks, maps or anything that people want to donate that documents the past.
“I think any sort of history gives people a sense of who they are and where they are,” Rowland said. “As people understand that, it strengthens their bonds to the community in which they live.”
To learn more about the Old vork Road Historical Society visit www.oyrhs.org.
Old York Road Historical Society President David Rowland and his staff enjoy their new digs at Alverthorpe Manor.