His­tor­i­cal groups team up for trol­ley rides, ex­hibits

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OPINION - By Bob Keeler

More than 60 years later, the mem­o­ries are still alive.

June Cress­man took the trol­ley from Perkasie to Soud­er­ton with a pa­per bag car­ry­ing money to re­pay a bank loan her par­ents took out for their busi­ness. Nancy Hun­sicker vis­ited her grand­fa­ther, En­nis Moyer, at his of­fice in the Perkasie trol­ley sta­tion where he was the agent. Jim Pritchard rode on the trol­ley the day be­fore Thanks­giv­ing with a man dressed as Santa Claus com­ing to Perkasie to kick off the Christ­mas hol­i­day. Mark Fred­er­ick crawled across the bridge over Ninth Street and the Three Mile Run tres­tle when he walked home af­ter miss­ing the trol­ley on a snowy night.

“Af­ter World War II, au­to­mo­biles and trucks be­gan tak­ing busi­ness away from the trol­leys. On Septem­ber 6, 1951, Le­high Val­ley Tran­sit an­nounced that the trol­ley would be re­placed by au­to­bus. On Septem­ber 7 the fi­nal pas­sen­ger car re­turned from Nor­ris­town, and the Lib­erty Bell Route passed into his­tory. Re­moval of the tracks be­gan al­most im­me­di­ately,” ac­cord­ing to a por­tion of his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion pre­pared for the cel­e­bra­tion of the 100th an­niver­sary of and un­veil­ing of the re­cent restora­tion project at the for­mer Perkasie trol­ley sta­tion at 513 W. Wal­nut St.

The same book­let in­cludes the mem­o­ries shared above.

From noon to 4 p.m. Satur­day and Sun­day, Nov. 10 and 11, there will be an open house at the trol­ley sta­tion at the same time Sellersville Mu­seum hosts its an­nual “Model Trains and Trol­leys” ex­hibit. On Sun­day, Nov. 11, there will be trol­ley rides be­tween the two. The week­end also in­cludes a pre­sen­ta­tion by Doug Peters, au­thor of “Le­high Val­ley Tran­sit in Color,” at the Perkasie trol­ley sta­tion. Show­times are at 6 and 8 p.m. Satur­day, Nov. 10.

The ar­rival of the trol­leys at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury brought a big im­prove­ment to trans­porta­tion, trol­ley his­to­rian Andy Magin­nis said dur­ing an Oct. 23 pre­sen­ta­tion in the fi­nal Speaker Se­ries pro­gram of this year at Sellersville Mu­seum, 120 E. Church St., Sellersville.

“You gotta re­mem­ber, at the time, all the roads were dirt,” Magin­nis said. “It was a long, drawn out trip to take the Bethlehem Pike to Al­len­town or Bethlehem.”

Along with car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers, the trol­leys also trans­ported freight, he said. In the days be­fore elec­tric re­frig­er­a­tors, har­vested ice was car­ried on the trol­leys. In later years, Sears shipped ap­pli­ances such as wash­ers and ra­dios.

Per­haps the most un­usual de­liv­ery by the lo­cal trol­ley, how­ever, he said, was one in 1912 in which a bull was the pas­sen­ger.

“I guess it all went smoothly,” Magin­nis said, “but I sure wouldn’t want to be the car cleaner.”

The Nov. 11 trol­ley tours will leave from Perkasie at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. and from Sellersville at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., Rick Doll, a Perkasie His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mem­ber, said.

“It’s go­ing to fol­low the route, as much as pos­si­ble, that the trol­ley took,” Doll said.

Along the way, high­lights as­so­ci­ated with the trol­ley sys­tem, in­clud­ing the trol­ley tun­nel, bridges, over­passes and stops, will be noted, he said.

The view at Menlo Park ap­par­ently won’t be ex­actly the way it once was, though, judg­ing from the July 6, 1905 Cen­tral News, which re­ported, “The Trol­ley Com­pany will ar­rest those per­sons who bathe nude in the stream along their tracks ... es­pe­cially at Menlo.”

The restora­tion work at the trol­ley sta­tion, which Perkasie His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety uses as a mu­seum, isn’t quite fin­ished yet, but “should be fairly com­plete” for the open house, Doll said. Bran­don Led­er­ach, a Pen­nridge High School 10th-grader and mem­ber of Boy Scout Troop 1 in Sellersville, led the restora­tion for his Ea­gle Scout project. Perkasie His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety mem­bers, in­clud­ing Doll, Matt Lynch and Bob Dun­lap, also helped with the work as did other Troop 1 mem­bers and Led­er­ach’s fa­ther, Don­ald.

“It was a dirty and dusty job tak­ing the in­te­rior down to its orig­i­nal brick walls. The im­prove­ments in­clude new win­dow mold­ings, ceil­ing and wall paint­ing, wain­scot­ing, in­te­rior doors, freight room restora­tion, dry­wall, lighting and an en­tire new elec­tri­cal sys­tem, along with wiring for a se­cu­rity and fire pro­tec­tion sys­tem,” Charles Baum, pres­i­dent of the Perkasie His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, wrote in the open house book­let. “Orig­i­nal paint col­ors were matched to re­store the look of the trol­ley sta­tion to its hey­day in the first half of the 1900s.”

Peters’ Nov. 10 pre­sen­ta­tion will in­clude ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion and not be a re­peat of the one he gave ear­lier this month at the Perkasie His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety’s monthly din­ner meet­ing, Louise Doll, Rick’s wife, said. It will also not be a du­pli­cate of the one by Magin­nis, she said.

“They co­or­di­nated that it isn’t a re­peat pre­sen­ta­tion,” Doll said.

Tick­ets for Peters’ Nov. 10 pre­sen­ta­tion are $5 each and are avail­able by email­ing [email protected]­cast.net or call­ing 215-453-1062. The trol­ley rides and ad­mis­sion to the Perkasie trol­ley sta­tion open house and Sellersville Mu­seum ex­hibit are free, but do­na­tions are ac­cepted.

The mu­seum’s ex­hibit has be­come an an­nual event, Martha Stee­ley, chair­woman of the Sellersville His­tor­i­cal and Achieve­ment Author­ity, said.

“This’ll be our fifth year we’re do­ing it,” Stee­ley said. “It’s al­ways a lot of fun and it’s al­ways a kid­friendly ex­hibit.”

This year’s ex­hibit will in­clude James Mau­rer oper­at­ing model trol­leys de­pict­ing the Le­high Val­ley Tran­sit and Philadel­phia cars; Mark Fred­er­ick dis­play­ing model trol­leys; Dave Strouse oper­at­ing N Gauge model trains; Chuck Per­rucci dis­play­ing HO model trains; Lex Nu­gent show­ing Pittman Trol­ley mod­els; and fa­ther and son Kevin and Bren­don Cad­wal­lader dis­play­ing vin­tage model trains.

The trol­ley for the trip be­tween Perkasie and Sellersville will be from Bucks County Trol­ley Com­pany, Stee­ley said.

“It’s the same one we use ev­ery year for Win­ter­fest,” Stee­ley said.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Sellersville Mu­seum and Perkasie His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety for the week­end is a nat­u­ral fit, Stee­ley and the Dolls said.

“There’s a group of us that vol­un­teer at both or­ga­ni­za­tions,” Louise Doll said.

“The com­mu­ni­ties are both so close and the his­tory is so in­ter­twined, you can’t sep­a­rate them,” Rick Doll said.

News-her­ald pho­tos — DEBBY HIGH

Marty Stee­ley of the Sellersville His­tor­i­cal and Achieve­ment Author­ity ad­dresses the crowd at the Sellersville Mu­seum’s Speaker Se­ries pro­gram Oct. 23..

Andy McGin­nis, long­time trol­ley his­to­rian, shares his vin­tage maps and slides.

A trol­ley runs over Re­liance Road in one of the hun­dreds of slides shown at the Sellersville Mu­seum Speaker Se­ries.

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