Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: July 1993 Volume 31 Number 3, Pages 123–124

Notes and Comments

Page 123


Twenty-Five Years Ago Last April

It was twenty-five years ago last April 9th. The late news broadcasts during the night, as the members of the Conestoga High School Band were preparing to go to Washington, told us Martin Luther King had been shot.

The busses were to leave Conestoga at six o'clock in the morning. We were all up at around 4:30 a. m. to see them off at the appointed time -- with a mild concern, wondering if the tragedy would put them in danger.

The band was to have a free day of sight-seeing that day and to march the next day in the Cherry Blossom Parade. Our son, Jim, was a sophomore at Conestoga, and this was his first band trip. Dr. Anton Kiehner, the band director, had sent home for the parents a complete schedule of where the students would be all the time they were away. When word began to come of fires and looting, at mid-morning, the schedule told us they were on free time at the Smithsonian Mall. Now at home began a long day of worrying, as reports of more and more violence came from Washington.

Our son Jim remembers going to the Washington Monument with other members of the band to start his day of sight-seeing. From the top of the monument they looked out and saw fires burning in all directions. At noon they went to the cafeteria in the Smithsonian Museum of Science and Technology to have lunch, and there they ran into Dr. Kiehner. He told them there was some trouble -- but there was no way he could round up all the students before they were to meet at the end of the day.

The students all made sure they were back early, and were happy to see that the busses were already there. When everyone was accounted for they began their frightening trip back through Washington on a major highway at the northeast.

Page 124

They passed a jewelry store with a man sitting in the window, holding a shot gun to discourage anyone from looting the store. On a street parallel to the highway they could see the looting. Men were running with television sets in boxes. Smoke from fires came from all directions.

At home we kept tuned to the radio, and the news continued to alarm us. We, of course, had no news of the children. Around six o'clock I called the motel where they were scheduled to spend the night; the manager gave me the brief, but somewhat reassuring, message, "They got away!"

Shortly after six o'clock TEMPO, the band parents' organization, called to tell us we would be able to pick up the children at Conestoga later that night. There would be no Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington in 1968! At the end of the long day we were at Conestoga High School, two parents in each car, to greet the children when they arrived.

Because the band had not paraded in Washington, a substitute trip was scheduled for them at Atlantic City in the Tall Cedars of Lebanon Parade. After a day on the beach they settled down in their hotel to get a good night's rest for the parade the next day -- only to be awakened by a fire alarm at 2:30 a.m.! It was only a grease fire in the kitchen, but they had to spend an hour outside until it was safe to return. Happily, the Tall Cedars of Lebanon Parade went on as scheduled the next day.

Barbara Fry


Fire Damages Historic Log House

About 40 firemen from the Berwyn, Paoli, and Radnor fire companies took two hours to put out a fire at the historic two-and-a-half story log and stone house on Long Lane in Daylesford in early April. The blaze, which was started by spontaneous combustion in a clump of steel wool used to plug a hole to keep out the squirrels, was fortunately confined for the most part to attic and roof, with the damage estimated at about $45,000.

It is believed that the building probably was erected in about 1714 by Mordecai Moore, one of the early Welsh settlers in Tredyffrin. It is constructed of local stone and white oak logs. The east and west walls are of native field stone, with log construction above, while the original north and south walls were made from white pin oak, now as hard as a rock. The ceiling on the second floor is of yellow pine, some of the boards as wide as 26 inches.

For 66 years, from 1772 to 1838, the property was owned by Thomas and Mary Hampton and their heirs. From 1869 to 1913 it was owned by Henry Heyburn and his widow, and the structure is still sometimes referred to as the Heyburn Log House.

In 1946 it was purchased by the late Fred Roye, and some club members will recall that for several years he was the host for our annual club summer picnic.


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