“Living Free – One Family’s Life after Slavery” Opens April 27, 2019


“Living Free — One Family’s Life after Slavery” Opens April 27, 2019

We are pleased to announce the opening of “Living Free — One Family’s Life after Slavery.” Cornelius Ridley left the plantation in Virginia where he was born, risking his life in the escape to freedom. Most stories we hear of travelers on the Underground Railroad end in recapture or arrival in a Free State. But for those attaining freedom, arrival was just the beginning. The Media Historical Society’s special exhibit gives us a glimpse into what happened next for Cornelius Ridley and his family.

The exhibit opens on April 27, 2019, (from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, at the Minshall House) in conjunction with “Spirit of Our Ancestors Day” being celebrated on 1 to 4 at Providence Friends Meeting, just across Providence Road.

“Living Free — One Family’s Life after Slavery” will continue at the Minshall House from 1:00 to 3:00 pm on the following dates:

  • Sunday, May 5, 2019
  • Sunday, May 12, 2019
  • Sunday, May 26, 2019

A Street Address for Minshall House

417 East Front Street, Media, PA

For the first time since Robert Vernon’s land grant was surveyed by William Penn’s surveyors in September 1682, a piece of that grant — the property where the Minshall House stands at the corner of East Front and Providence Road — has its own street address.

It wasn’t until the Borough of Media was incorporated and new streets were laid out that street numbers began to come into use in Media. Today a street address is required to make use of 911 services, and the U.S. Postal Service requires one for mail delivery. A number helps, also, for locating a property with a GPS app.

And now, after more than 300 years, the Minshall House has its very own — 417 East Front Street, Media, PA, 19063. Use it next time you want to send us mail or locate us on your favorite map program.

To learn about the fascinating history of street addresses in the Philadelphia area, see the article Street Numbering at the online Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

Holiday Open House 2018

The Minshall House, all decked out for the holiday season, opened its doors on Saturday afternoon, December 1, 2018, to the Media community. Many families came to see the decorations made by 4th-grade art students at Media Elementary School and to meet MHS’s special guest, SANTA CLAUS.

As a special treat, photographer Paul Indorf, snapped and printed portrait photos on the spot for our guests to keep as souvenirs. Refreshments included wassail and Philadelphia jumbles, made from colonial-era recipes.

The children’s decorations were inspired by Pennsylvania German hex signs and demonstrated radial symmetry. This project was quite appropriate for the Minshall House, built by Quakers over 200 years ago. As Media Elementary School art teacher Karen Bellamy explained to her students, “PA Germans were able to leave their homeland and settle in Pennsylvania because people of other religious backgrounds were welcomed in Pennsylvania by the Quakers.”

Media Historical Society is grateful for the support of students and teachers at Media Elementary School, photographer Paul Indorf, SANTA CLAUS, Rich Schiffer, Emily Zacharczyk, Paul Sheldon, and Julie Tyson, volunteers.

Media Elementary Students Visit Minshall House

History students from Media Elementary School know a bit more about life in colonial America and the power of community action after their field trip to the Minshall House on November 16, 2018. The 4th-graders’ visit is an annual event for nearly 75 students and part of the Delaware County Historical Society’s Passport to History program.

MHS Volunteers Kathy LoRusso and Corinne Shipley showed the children many of the artifacts from the 18th-century currently on display in the Minshall House and responded to their enthusiastic questions. The children also learned how students from Media Elementary School were instrumental in saving the historic house from demolition in the 1970s.

The children were invited to return with friends and family to the Minshall House Holiday Open House on December 1, 2018, when the house will be decorated with historically inspired ornaments the students made in art class, taught by Karen Bellamy.

Fall Festival at Minshall House

Falling leaves, scarecrow, corn shocks, pumpkins! It’s FALL, and Media residents and guests celebrated with a Fall Festival on Saturday, October 13, 2019, at the Minshall House. The event was held in conjunction with OCTrolleyFest, an annual celebration of the Philadelphia region’s transportation system.

Visitors came from all over Delaware County, some even arriving by trolley. In addition to a tour of the house, we enjoyed a warm pumpkin beverage and snacks and good conversation.

Children’s activities included playing with historic toys and tools designed for use by children, a harvest pole, and a reading corner. The Children’s Book Share — a basket of carefully selected books offered free to anyone interested — will be a continuing feature at Minshall House, made possible by the generous spirit of the Media Free Store.

Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative graciously donated the several varieties of heirloom squash that decorated hearth, steps, windows and tables.

Colonial Day 2018 at Middletown Presbyterian

What a treat to join with other local history lovers, reenactors, Colonial period demonstrators, dancers, and musicians playing period music, on September 16, 2018, at the historic Middletown Presbyterian Church near Elwyn. MHS’s Fran Sheldon found a shady spot to set up a table to tell visitors about the Minshall House and to demonstrate spinning on a Colonial period spinning wheel.

The Southery Log House at Bethel

Bethel Township Preservation Society held its annual Log House Open House on May 20th, 2018, with demonstrations and activities focused on colonial life. Representing the Media Historical Society, Fran Sheldon demonstrated spinning on her 18th-century “great” (AKA “walking”) wheel.

John and Jan Haigis of Past Times Present strolled the grounds, providing musical entertainment on several different period instruments.

The log house, originally owned by the Southery Family, was built in the late 1600s in what is known as William Penn style. The early row houses in Philadelphia evolved from this two-story design.