Brick by Brick: building the company town of Roebling, NJ

Sat, September 12, 2020
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT

A walking tour on the hidden history of Roebling’s bricks, where they were made, and what the different brick patterns mean.

About this Event

Even though they are everywhere in Roebling, you probably haven’t thought too much about the bricks that were used to build the houses, sidewalks, and buildings throughout the village.
With the help of community historian Pierre Lacombe, Roebling Museum is offering a guided walking tour to share the hidden history of these bricks and the local brick-making industry centered in Burlington County, NJ. You’ll never look at bricks and the different brick patterns used around town the same way again!


  • To minimize contact and practice social distancing, tickets must be purchased in advance.
    For the safety of all, our tour guides and guests are required to wear masks.
  • Tour guides will be using microphones to make it easier to hear while accommodating 6 ft social distancing guidelines.
  • All museum buildings, indoor exhibitions, and restroom facilities will remain closed.
  • Ample parking is available in the Museum lot off Hornberger Avenue, adjacent to the Roebling River Line parking area. Visitors are encouraged not to park on 2nd Avenue, on the residential side of the building.
  • Meet in the Millyard to check in for the tour.

Roebling Museum
100 2nd Avenue
Florence Township, NJ 08554

Here is information on the Roebling Museum. The  buildings are closed but directions are available on this page. Click on the map to get a Google map.

The walking tour is free. Here is the link to register for the event .

Introduction to the Railroads of the Civil War

A Civil War Round Table with Bernard Kempinski

August 26, 2020 6:00 pm

This is a zoom webinar hosted by the Legacy Foundation of the Union League

In the two decades before the start of the Civil War the railroads of the United States underwent a period of amazing growth and technological development. Nonetheless, railroads were still in their infancy. It was during the rebellion that railroads came of age. They became both strategic resources, as well as military targets, precisely because they were strategic resources. During the war, soldiers, material and food were routinely transported by rail along with civilians and the raw material necessary to keep the war effort progressing. While the modern viewer would recognize the civil war era railroad and its primary components, many differences, some obvious and some subtle, exist between then now. In this program, author and railroad historian Bernard Kempinski will try to explain how railroads were built, operated, contributed to the start of the war and affected its prosecution. A model railroader as well, Kempinski will also show examples of how he is modeling a civil war era railroad set in 1863 in Virginia.

Here is the link for registering for the event,

Below is a link on You tube for a previous talk. It was an excellent presentation by Charles Duff on his book “The North Atlantic Cities.” Much of it is a discussion of the development of the row house and its translation from Europe to America.

Probably the talk on Railroads will appear later on this You Tube list from the Legacy Foundation. Share it those who might miss the talk on the 26th.

Philadelphia’s Historic Cycling Culture

The Lower Merion Conservancy is hosting a virtual presentation by Oliver Evans chapter member Bob Thomas.

Thursday, June 25th
7:00 p.m.

The Conservancy is delighted to host Bob Thomas – architect, preservationist, greenway planner, and avid cyclist – for a lecture event about Philadelphia’s historic cycling culture. The lecture, which will touch on the growth of cycling in and around the city during the late nineteenth century, has heightened relevance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that has moved many to take to their bikes.

The lecture will feature guest comments from local leaders in the cycling community of Greater Philadelphia about exciting upcoming developments.

The presentation will be accessed through the Zoom application. Registration is required for you to be sent the link to connect to the program. To register, click in the Conservancy’s newsletter linked below.

The newsletter also has two story maps that can be viewed. One is on historic neighborhoods along the Philadelphia and Western Railroad and the other is on the Mill Creek Valley and its industrial history.—Beyond–Coming-to-You-Virtually-.html?soid=1101546758623&aid=L9-osbIi2lY

National Museum of Industrial History

Here are the past presentations done at the museum that were recorded to view on line. The link below goes to the page where they may be viewed.

–How It Works: Blast Furnaces

–The Snow Corliss Engine at NMIH

–Chief Engineer – Washington Roebling – The Man Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge

–Building with Steel – Where Was It Made?

–Quakers, Guns and the British Industrial Revolution

–Iron vs. Steel

–Little Trains for Big Steel

–Geography, Geology and Genius
 This past February Martha Capwell Fox gave a talk to our annual dinner attendees on   this subject.

–Cork Wars: Intrigue and Industry in World War II

–Pittsburgh, Steel, and the 1918 Pandemic

–Inside the Demise of Martin Tower with NMIH Director of Marketing
and Public Relations Glenn Koehler

–Bethlehem Steel, Industry, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic with James Higgins

–The President’s Pump with Mark Connar
Mark gave the OE Chapter a talk on the pump in October 2017. This talk adds information he has learned from further research on the site.

–Bethlehem Steel’s Last 20 Years, Building Bridges and Buildings

–From the Archives: Mining Photography of George Bretz


Steel City and the 1918 Pandemic

This program will be presented by the National Museum of Industrial History on its Facebook page. You do not have to create or have an account to watch this. Just click on the Facebook page below and look under Videos.

Steel City and the 1918 Pandemic
Today at 2PM!

During the 1918 influenza pandemic, Pittsburgh was the worst-hit city in the western world, not just America. The story comes down to the industrial history of the city and the way heavy industry affected the Steel City’s politics, health, and role during World War One. Jim Higgins joins us again as he recounts information he presented on Smithsonian Channel’s “America’s Hidden Stories.”

James Higgins earned his doctorate at Lehigh University. His work focuses on the history of American medicine, with an especial focus on influenza and typhoid. He has lectured in America and Europe, published numerous scholarly papers, and his first book, a brief history of medicine and disease in Pennsylvania will be published by Temple University Press in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical Association in late-2020.

Part of NMIH’s Virtual Museum Live Programs: stream live on Facebook at at 2PM today

Get the full list of virtual programming at

National museum of industrial history -Live Streaming features


Live lectures will be streamed via Facebook Live on the museum’s Facebook page

Thursday, March 26th at 2pm

The President’s Pump with Mark Connar
It is well known that Bethlehem is the home of the first municipal water pumping system in the United States. A replica of this machine is located in its’ original stone building in Historic Bethlehem’s Industrial Quarter. Much less known is that, little more than a century later, the largest steam driven single cylinder stationary water pumping engine in the Americas was erected only a few miles away at a zinc mine in the Upper Saucon Township village of Friedensville. This engine, renowned at the time as The President Engine, was designed and constructed by Cornish engineers using time tested old-world technical know-how coupled with American manufacturing talent. Although not publicly accessible, the remnants of this machine still exist today. This talk will focus on efforts underway to preserve the surviving engine house ruins and to convert the surrounding property into an open-air interpretative museum and heritage park.

Mark W. Connar is a retired businessman with an AB degree in anthropology from Brown University (1972) with post graduate study in archaeology at the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. He has participated in archeological surveys in the United States and the United Kingdom. He also holds an MBA degree from Lehigh University (1984). He is on the Board of Trustees, Historic Bethlehem Partnership and is a Founding Member of the National Museum of Industrial History. Further, he is a member of the Mine History Association and the Society for Industrial Archeology.

Monday, March 30th at 10am
From the Archives: Mining Photography of George Bretz

Shari Stout from The Smithonian’s National Museum of American History will be presenting an online lecture featuring the historic mining photography of George Bretz. The National Museum of American History is home to an array of mining lamps, hats, and safety equipment, much of it from the anthracite mines of Pennsylvania. In 1884, the Smithsonian displayed a series of photographs taken inside a mine in Pennsylvania by George Bretz, a photographer from Pottsville, PA. Shari will show us some of these photos, talk about the history of these collections, some of the materials collected with them, and the original curator who initiated the photo shoot.

Shari Stout is a collections manager in the Offsite Storage Program at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, and holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from George Washington University. She has worked at the Smithsonian since 1999, installing exhibitions and caring for a wide range of collections, including the mining collections. Ms. Stout works with everything from glassware to sculpture to locomotives, but specializes in planning and overseeing the movement of the museum’s largest objects. Ms. Stout played a key role in the installation of the Smithsonian collections for the 2016 opening of the National Museum of Industrial History.


Virtual Watch Party: Bethlehem Steel’s Last 20 Years – Building Bridges and Buildings
Saturday, March 28th at 2pm – streamed via Facebook Live on the museum’s Facebook page.
Join retired Bethlehem Steel Civil Engineer Gordon Baker as he talks about the history of Bethlehem Steel’s bridgemaking operations, which saw some of the world’s most famous structures come from its mills. From the Golden Gate to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridges, Bethlehem Steel helped build it all.  Four people from the audience will become part of a live suspension bridge and we will learn how a suspension bridge works.

Gordon Baker worked for twenty years at Bethlehem Steel’s Fabricated Steel Construction Division working on bridges and buildings. During this period, he was a Field Engineer in New York, worked in the Engineering department in Bethlehem, was Assistant Works Engineer in the Leetsdale Pittsburgh plant, and was Superintendent of the large Pittsburgh shop facility. His career included working on two suspension bridges in New York, the Commodore Barry Bridge, Martin Tower, the world’s largest radio telescope in Puerto Rico and numerous other structures. Gordon is a retired Licensed Professional Engineer and a graduate of Lehigh University’s civil engineering program.

Live lectures will be streamed via Facebook Live on the museum’s Facebook page

Tour of American Hats LLC


While there were many hat manufactories in Philadelphia in the 19th and 20th centuries, one of the lone survivors into the 21st century was the S & S Hat Company. At the time it was founded in 1923, it was housed in a factory on Filbert Street between 10th and 11th Streets. It supplied department stores and small boutiques, and had a well-regarded reputation. Cheaper competition from overseas and other problems led to its decline, and it was slated to be sold in 2015. The Reverend Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, a pastor who was a director at a social services non-profit in Harlem, had no experience in manufacturing hats, but she wore them and loved them. She purchased the S & S Hat Company and incorporated it as American Hats LLC in January 2016.

About twelve people now work for the factory, and the entire process can be viewed by visitors- from selection of fabric and materials to sewing, blocking, trimming, and finishing, all done by hand by the artisans, many of them retained from the S & S days.

 Links: American Hats website:  Article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Date: Friday, March 20, 2020
Time: 10:30 AM
Location: 2251 Fraley St. in Wissinoming, right beside I-95, at intersection of Fraley & James Streets.
Registration: E-mail names of members and guests to Helen Schenck at:
DEADLINE: March 18th
Questions: Call Helen Schenck at 609-386-4180
Transportation: By auto: Use GPS for directions. Park in factory lot or on street. Regional Rail: SEPTA Trenton line to Bridesburg station. From station walk east ½ mile on James Street to factory.
#84 Bus from Frankford Transportation Center to the corner of Tacony & Fraley Sts. which is the other side of I-95 from the factory.


National Museum of Industrial History

MARCH 7 – 8, 2020


The National Museum of Industrial History will kick-off a month-long commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in March with International Women’s Weekend on March 7th and 8th. Women’s Weekend will celebrate the voices and stories of women in industry through a full schedule of youth educational activities, guided tours and exhibit enhancements, live historical reenactments, Girl Scout badge programs, film screenings and lectures.

602 E 2nd St
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Tickets are available at the admission desk inside the museum.
Children (6 and younger): Free
Youth (7 to 17): $9
Students: $9
Veterans/Educators/Seniors (65 and older): $11
Adults (18 to 64): $12

Continuing a Legacy – Photographing the Pennsylvania Railroad

A presentation by Michael Froio, Photographer

Cambria Iron Works

Cambria Iron Works

Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society
Philadelphia Chapter Meeting

February 15, 2020 

10:30am – Doors open for vendor sales
11:00am – Modelers Meeting
11:30am – Dining Car Opens (food for purchase)…
1:00pm – Chapter Business Meeting
1:30pm – Feature Presentation

Drexel Hill United Methodist Church
600 Burmont Rd, Drexel Hill, PA 19026

Meeting Venue Directions
Complete details available at

The Hidden City: Archaeology of Philadelphia

Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
Monday,  March 30, 2020  6:00 to 8:00

Archaeologists Douglas Mooney and Jed Levin take us on a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole – digging underneath parking lots, highways, National Park sites, and demolished buildings, they uncover Philadelphia’s hidden past through the fragments of everyday life left by our predecessors. This talk will give an overview of the methods and challenges of urban archaeology and highlight recent findings from sites around the city.

$20 | General Admission

$15 | Alliance Member – sign in first (button in upper right) to automatically receive discount

$10 | College Student*

Free | High School Student*

*Email photo of valid student ID to Caroline Slama to receive student discount code.

at the National Park Service Theater
Independence Visitor Center
599 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

More programs and information at the following link: