Retired librarian captures history with quilt
MUNCY – Pennsdale is full of history. This statement was made clear by Pennsdale resident and retired librarian, Kay Rhinehart when she gave a brief history of the Pennsdale area through her stitchery and various iconic depictions creatively sewn on her historic quilt on the village of Pennsdale.
Recently she presented her themed quilt and historic findings to the Muncy Woman’s Club at the Muncy Historical Society. “There is a tremendous amount of history in Pennsdale,” she announced.
The village went through several name changes before being bestowed its present name of Pennsdale in 1889. It was originally christened “Hicksville”, then “Goosetown”. One hundred people lived there. It had a copper shop, wagon and pier shop, hotel, tannery, post office (at Wolf Run), a general store and a school house.
She pointed out old sites such as Round Top Farm where milk was sold at the famous Grower’s Market in Williamsport and the “Mendenhall Farm had a neat spring house.”
“There are some wonderful stone houses that make up the Pennsdale history,” Rhinehart explained. Some were built by the Quakers in the late 1700’s, and she pointed to her design of the Friends Meeting House and the House of Many Stairs which is known as the second oldest house in Lycoming County. Besides taking part in the Underground Railroad she said that the inside doors of the house have intricate designs, a belief by the Quakers to ward off evil spirits. The house was also a tavern at one time. It was purchased in 1880 by Joe and Elizabeth Packer. He was a great storyteller and hunter according to Rhinehart.
In the west yard of the property there once stood a stone pottery shed but it was destroyed and abandoned by 1955.
Turning to her quilt Rhinehart retold the story of Muncy Farms and how it was lost in debt by Samuel Wallis. She captured the Country Store and its family owned business for four generations. It was established in 1839 by John and Alice Springman. “The wooden floors and counters are still the same,” she said. “They roll with the times to keep it a vibrant business, except now you can’t exchange sheep skin for groceries.”
The Pennsdale school house is still standing today; however, it is a private residence. It was open for 100 years and was built in 1859. “It was another fine stone structure once known as ‘Sandy Bank'”, Rhinehart added.
Another well told story was the Young Women’s Temperance House which was very active in the late 1880’s and began with Susan Mendenhall, a famous Quaker lady.
Referred to as the Pennsdale block, Rhinehart’s artistic quilt shows streets and houses embroidered in the center surrounded by the Wolf Run House, House of Many Stairs, Mt. Equity, the Country Store, Round Top Farm, the Spring House at Hall Farm, and Muncy Terraces.
For now, Rhinehart wants to enjoy her work showcased in her home, but someday she hopes it will find a permanent place in the museum.