On Thursday, July 5, Dad and I spent a day driving around Lancaster County looking at places my grandparents and aunts and uncles lived when I was little. I have distinct memories of visiting these homes, but did not have a clear idea where they were located. We also visited places we lived when I was young. What a day!
I picked up Dad at Landis Homes and we had breakfast at Lititz Family Cupboard Restaurant north of Lititz on 501 and west on Newport Rd.
After breakfast we continued on Newport Rd. to Halfville, which is at the corner of Newport Rd. and Lexington. This is where my grandparents, Reuben and Bertha Widders lived when I was a child. My grandmother died in 1958 just before I turned 7, but I remember going to their house. They had a cuckoo clock on the wall. Karen now has it restored in her home in Seattle. Grandpa always made popcorn in a wire mesh basket on the stove, and I remember visiting them on Halloween. At least I think this is what we did on Halloween because we did not go trick or treating.
The house looked different to Dad--bigger. We are not sure if the roof was raised on the backside. We do know the attached garage was not there in the 5os. Here is the house, front and back view as well as the street sign.
Grandma and Grandpa Widders are buried in Hammercreek Cemetery which is at Hammercreek Mennonite Church where they attended. This is where my mother, Mabel Widders Stauffer Neff, went to church before marriage. This church is located at the corner of Hammercreek Rd. and Brunnerville Rd. This is just about a mile or two down the road from the farm where Mom lived as a girl. It is on the corner of Brubaker Valley Rd. and Hammercreek Rd. This is the farm where Dad and Mom were married. It looks different now with the addition of silos and many buildings. It also looks like the wrap around porch is no longer there. But the view overlooking the valley is beautiful.
From there we wandered through the countryside looking for the places where Uncle Ike and Aunt Martha Widders lived (just down the road from Halfville on Lexington, I believe). We tried to find the farm where Uncle John and Aunt Edith Boll lived near Erb's Mennonite Church. We believe it is torn down and a subdivision is put in its place. From there we went to Harrisburg Pike to one of the farms where Uncle Mervin and Aunt Theda Neff lived. Dad thinks he located it. On to Willow St. where Uncle Parke and Aunt Kathryn Harnish had a store in the early years.
Lampeter was next where Dad, Ken, Butch, Barb, and I attended elementary school. It is no longer standing. Then it was on to Rocky Springs where Dad also went to school. It was called _____Temperance School. Today it is someone's home. Dad's school was the brick part.
Dad also showed me a farm near this school that Grandpa owned on Gypsy Hill Rd. This is where Uncle Mervin and Uncle Lloyd both lived for a time. It is behind the Shertzer farm. Then we went a short distance to 1800 Millport Rd. where Mom and Dad lived from the time they were married in 1944 until they moved south of Quarryville in 1964. This is where I lived until the 7th grade. The house (built in 1810) is spectacular, having been remodeled and updated in recent years. Make sure you double click on the photos to see a larger version.
But the big surprise was the barn. The stone barn had been deteriorating over the years, but someone took the stone structure and remodeled it totally making it into a home. We only saw the back view, but it is stunning. I would love to see it from the front. It looks like a bay was built across the front. I am sure there would be lots of windows overlooking the meadow. We were blown away by the beauty of it and so glad the stone structure was saved. The first photo below gives a view of the barn located behind the house. The second one is a close up of the entrance on the backside of the barn.
We continued on the neighboring farm where Grandma Katie and Grandpa Harry Neff lived and where Dad grew up. Then we wandered east and south through Strasburg on Rte. 741 to Gap trying to find where Uncle John and Aunt Dorothy Hershey lived. We were on the wrong road, but the countryside was beautiful. We found Rte. 772 and Hershey's Mennonite Church, but were not able to pinpoint the location of their farm. From there we went to the town of Intercourse because I had to shop a bit for fabric!
We were on the road from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. And we were tired. I took Dad back to his home, and I stayed overnight with Barb and Nelson. What a great day! Thanks Dad.