Monday, April 3, 2017
“I saw that my life was a vast glowing page and I could do anything I wanted.”
~ Jack Kerouac
A man paddles his canoe amidst the vast beauty of early spring on Leaser Lake, in the shadow of the northern Blue Mountain Ridge, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania.
Spring is the time of new beginnings, and boundless possibilities lie ahead as he charts his course while a late March sunset waits in the wings.
I shot this scene on the day before Easter, and the nearby church bells were chiming “I Love to Tell the Story,” the wonderful Gospel hymn written as a poem by English evangelist Katherine Hankey in 1866. It was set to music by William G. Fischer in 1869. The refrain, always appropriate but especially at Easter, is, “I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.” It was wonderful to hear that as I walked the trail looping around the lake on this warm evening.
Leaser Lake’s namesake is Frederick Leaser, an American patriot who in September 1777 with his farm team hauled The Liberty Bell from Philadelphia to Allentown where it was concealed in Zion Reformed Church for protection during the Revolutionary War. His homestead is located one mile north of the lake.
Leaser Lake was built by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for water-oriented recreation and opened for public use in 1971. Lehigh County leases this area from the state and operates and maintains the park. The land north of the lake was purchased by the county in the early 1970s. It is entirely wooded and is used for nature study and as an addition to the State Game Lands No. 217.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
“It is not easy to walk alone in the country without musing upon something.”
~ Charles Dickens
This picturesque 19th century barn is the cornerstone of this peaceful, rural winterscape in Egypt, Pennsylvania.
I shot this on the first day of spring, though the remaining snow from a late winter blizzard belied the season.
The barn is part of the historic 1756 Troxell-Steckel Farm Museum.
The Coplay Creek runs through this 31 acre property, which was once part of a 400 acre farm. The centerpiece of the property is a stone farmhouse, built in 1756. A spring house and the barn are also on the property. The farmhouse is an authentic Pennsylvania German farmhouse and offers an example of Lehigh County agricultural history. The Troxell-Steckel house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
It is the region’s only authentically complete Pennsylvania German farm house, resembling its medieval ancestors and giving a captivating glimpse of the area’s farm history.
The Pennsylvania German farmhouse was constructed in 1756 by John Peter Troxell, an immigrant from Germany in search of a better life. When the structure was built, twenty years before the Declaration of Independence was signed, this farm sat on the edge of wilderness. George Washington was only 24 years old, and America was ruled by the King of England. At the time, the house was reported to be the largest residence on the Pennsylvania frontier. The fortress-like masonry walls of this structure are more than two feet thick.
In 1768, John Peter Troxell sold this farm to Peter Steckel, another immigrant from Germany. Pennsylvania Germans were one of the largest immigrant groups in Eastern Pennsylvania. Their traditions enriched American culture.
As someone of Irish-German heritage, I love getting a glimpse into Pennsylvania German history in the area.
This historic site is owned and operated by the Lehigh County Historical Society and is open for seasonal tours and events.
The Troxell-Steckel Farm Museum may also be accessed from the Ironton Rail Trail, which loops more than nine miles through Whitehall Township, the Borough of Coplay and North Whitehall Township.
Monday, March 20, 2017
“It’s a great day for the Irish, it’s a great day for fair …
It’s a great day for the Shamrock, for the flags in full array
We’re feeling so inspirish, shure because for all the Irish
It’s a great, great day …
And as we go a-swinging, every Irish heart is singing
It’s a great, great day.”
~ “It’s A Great Day For The Irish”
~ Irish-American song
Written by Roger Edens in 1940
for inclusion in the film version of the
George M. Cohan 1922
Broadway show “Little Nellie Kelly”
Broadway show “Little Nellie Kelly”
The Irish flag waves proudly on a windy St. Patrick’s Day under bright blue skies in Allentown, Pennsylvania after the flag of the Republic of Ireland was raised March 17, 2017 at City Hall Plaza.
The flag raising event was to commemorate the contributions of those of Irish heritage who helped form and grow Allentown and the greater Allentown area.
As someone of Irish-German heritage, my green Irish eyes were smiling seeing the flag billowing downtown in the late winter breeze.