Festival to mark bicentennial of Renfew's cornerstone building

August 28, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • The inside of the Royer home at Renfrew Museum and Park looks much like it did in bygone days.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A Pennsylvania German festival with demonstrations, music and food will celebrate the 200th anniversary of a stone house that is a cornerstone of Renfrew Museum and Park.

Daniel Royer probably had no clue his family home would continue to affect his community for generations, Renfrew staff member Cheryl Keyser said.

“He never expected people to be wandering through his house 200 years later,” she said.

An open house for the “Museum House” will be part of Renfrew Museum and Park’s Pennsylvania German festival scheduled for Sept. 8. Also on tap are hayrides, traditional artisans and crafts, a display of the William Moran knife collection, dairy and flax programs, children’s games, hog dressing, and performances from the Wayne Band, Lucky Punk, Friends Creek Band, Grounded and Little Sister Band.

“There are just things happening all day,” said Bonnie Iseminger, administrator of Renfrew Museum and Park.
The festival is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with 10 a.m. remarks scheduled from Shannon Royer, a descendent of Daniel Royer and a Pennsylvania deputy secretary of state.

Daniel Royer’s family purchased the Waynesboro property in 1774 and built the house in 1812. A section added onto the house in 1815 gave the Royers two porches.

Dr. Abraham Strickler purchased the property in 1898 and passed it on to relatives. The farm ended up in bank ownership before being purchased by Edgar and Emma Nicodemus in 1941.

The Nicodemuses renovated the house before moving in in 1943, and Emma Nicodemus, who died in 1973, specified in her will that the house and 107 acres be made into a museum and park.

Iseminger said she hopes the Pennsylvania German festival will be held again in the future.

The festival will showcase people making rugs, brooms and cabinets. It will have hit-and-miss engines, a blacksmith and fleece-to-shawl demonstrations.

Bread will be made in the same stone oven used by Emma Nicodemus, Iseminger said.

A recent article in Early American Life magazine has brought visitors from several states and France, Iseminger said.

Crews have been painting fences, planting flowers and trimming bushes for the anniversary, she said.

If you go
What: Pennsylvania German Festival
When: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8
Where: Renfrew Museum and Park off Pa. 16 in Waynesboro, Pa.
Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6 to 12. For more information, call 717-762-4723.

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