Past Meetings

At our public meeting on May 20, 2007, the last of our Spring term, the featured presentation was:

The Way We Were: Oral Histories from Our Community

Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships have always been the sum of their many diverse parts. Town dwellers and farmers, the poor and the wealthy, various ethnic and racial neighborhoods, churches, schools, occupations. At our May meeting we had a very special encounter with personal recollections across the decades, and from many of those parts. to help us remember the way we were as a community.

We were joined by five of our life-long residents with the longest memories who shared, within a forum discussion, their recollections of perhaps simpler, though certainly no less challenging, times than today — the way life was lived within the different communities in Tredyffrin and Easttown and the surrounding countryside in the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s.


Panel discussion moderated by Dr. Dennis Leeper
  • Mrs. Estelle King Burton still resides on the Strafford property on which she was born in the early 1920’s. She is a lifetime member of Mt. Zion AME Church in Devon. A graduate of Tredyffrin Easttown High School, she experienced the sting of segregation during the “School Fight” of 1932-34.
  • Mr. Albert Cappelli grew up in Devon's vibrant Italian community in the 1920-30’s, and is a lifetime member of Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church in Strafford. He still has vivid memories of the Fireworks Explosion of 1930 in which one of his sisters tragically perished. He is a graduate of Tredyffrin Easttown High School.
  • Mr. George Ford, Jr. moved to the Great Valley in 1917. His father was stationmaster of the Chester Valley Railroad’s Cedar Hollow station. He has clear memories of the “age of steam” on the ChVRR, and of when electricity came to the Great Valley. He is a graduate of Tredyffrin Easttown High School.
  • Mrs. Mary Robertson Ives arrived in the Great Valley in 1922 when her parents moved from Baltimore to their new farm near Valley Store on what is now the GV Penn State campus. A lifetime member of the Great Valley Presbyterian Church, her vivid accounts of life in the Valley, the PRR, and of the Red Cross during WWII, are extraordinary.

This forum discussion, moderated by our own Dr. Dennis Leeper, was videotaped as part of our Living History effort, and has been aired on local cable access Channel 2.

Mr. Albert Cappelli and Mrs. Esther Burton

Mr. George Ford Jr. and Mrs. Mary R. Ives

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