Anyone interested in history -- especially history specific to Macungie and Lower Macungie's immediate next door neighbor -- will be interested recently published about Upper Milford Township.
The township’s original inhabitants were the Lenni Lenape branch of the Delaware Indian Nation. Both Upper and Lower Milford townships were first part of a large area in Bucks County called Milford Township. A tobacco factory owned by Thomas Stahl stood in Powder Valley in the early 1900s.
On Sept. 27, the Upper Milford Historical Society celebrated the recent release of its pictorial history book about the township. “Images of America Upper Milford Township” is filled with facts and plenty of photographs, some before the township was even organized.
More than 40 people attended the event -- most of them contributors and financial investors for the book. As historical society president Rose Parry thanked each one individually, they received a small token of appreciation for their contributions -- a refrigerator magnet of the book's cover.
“So many people in this township are interested in its history,” she said. “We have so many wonderfully generous people … and have already sold enough books to reimburse our investors.”
Numerous one- and two-room schoolhouses dotted the landscape. The township even had a high school within its borders—Upper Milford High School. According to the book, some of these old schoolhouses have since been converted into homes after their educational use was discontinued.
Parry said the project started when Arcadia Publishing approached the township to see if there was interest in a historical book as part of its "Images of America" series. The township forwarded the idea to the historical society. After some discussion, a committee was formed and the work began in December 2010. Members of the committee were Joe Benner, Beulah Miller, Barbara Harris, Henry Beitler, Sid Unser, John Fegley, Pauline Fritz, Neil Moser, Rose Parry and Barbara Heist.
Zionsville, Old Zionsville, Shimerville, Dillingersville, Powder Valley and Corning each had a General Store. Grist mills, sawmills, oil mills, lime kilns, butcher shops, silk mills and a creamery were just a few of the many businesses in the township. There were hotels and taverns in Shimerville, Hosensack, Old Zionsville and Vera Cruz.
Dillingersville, Hosensack and Corning are now in Lower Milford Township.
Unser said, “A treasure hunt was started for photos. Over 1,200 newspaper clippings and photos came in. We [the committee] had to narrow this down to about 200. I took images of everything people loaned to us and they will be kept in the archives.”
Parry said, “Contributions came from individuals, churches, fire companies, businesses, libraries and more. We learned there was a dairy farm on Churchview Road and Charles Kleinsmith from Old Zionsville had a battleship named after him. We would have never known this without those pictures.”
Some of the photos show apple butter being made, farmers spreading seed by hand and plowing their fields with horses, butter being churned and weaving. Powder Valley and Vera Cruz each had a baseball team. Powder Valley also had its own band.
“It was interesting to see how different the properties look now—some things seen on the pictures aren’t there anymore,” Parry said.
Richard Malburg, an Upper Milford resident, complimented the committee. “I think you all did a wonderful job.”