Weather forecast good for Annual Dinner

The long-term weather forecast is in, and Friday the 19th looks good: well above freezing with little or no precipitation. If you’ve been considering going to the Oliver Evans Chapter SIA annual dinner at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern that evening, but were worried about conditions, you’ve been granted a reprieve by the weather and by the hotel. They have agreed to extend our registration deadline until the end of the day Wednesday, January 17. So get your registration to Larry DeYoung and don’t miss the exceptional program by Roger Thorne about aviation archeology at the pioneering Paoli-Main Line Airport (which was directly adjacent to the hotel where we’re having the dinner). The hotel will even accept last-minute registrations, so you can e-mail Larry at or call him at (610) 293-9098 and leave a message. Please also let him know if you will need a ride from the Malvern train station. The dinner is $50 per person, all inclusive (except for the cash—truly CASH—bar, no credit cards). 


Philadelphia’s Hog Island Shipyard: History, Impact and Legacy

Hogg Island Shipyards

Monday, February 5, 2018, speaker, Jim Rubillo

Hog Island is the historic name of an area southeast of Tinicum Township along the Delaware River, to the west of the mouth of the Schuylkill River. Philadelphia International Airport now sits on the land that was once Hog Island. In 1917, as part of the World War I effort, the US goverment contracted American International Shipbuilding to build ships and a shipyard at Hog Island. The project transformed a swampy bog to the world’s largest shipyard in just 10 months. The shipyard produced 122 transport ship in four years (1917 – 1921), and then vanished back into the mud. None of the ships were ready in time to participate in World War I, but many of them were involved in World War II. This presentation examines the growth and demise of the facility, as well as the environmental scars that were left behind.

Jim Rubillo is a retired college dean, professor and non-profit CEO. He is a well-travelled speaker having presented over 800 talks, at least one in every state and Canadian province. Jim has an intense interest in local history and now serves on the board of the Old York Road Historical Society. As a child, he played in the ruins of the Hog Island Shipyard.

Date: Monday, February 5, 2018

Time:  5:30 Refreshments           6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if preregistered       $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

           You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to

  or phone Reese at 610-692-4456

Annual Dinner & Program, Friday, January 19, 2018

MLA in high summer c 1940_RDT Crop

Main Line Airport

An Illustrated Lecture by

Roger D. Thorne, Board Chairman,

Tredyffrin-Easttown Historical Society

The Great Valley of Chester County, PA, once an agricultural breadbasket dating back to Colonial times, is today shared by up-scale residential housing and one of America’s leading high-technology corridors. But few realize that for a half century, within what is now East Whiteland Township’s Great Valley Corporate Center, stood a legendary airfield that contributed to the history of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aviation—both nationally and internationally.

The field, officially the Main Line Airport and called by some the Paoli Airport, was one of Pennsylvania’s earliest country aviation centers, and operated from the 1920’s into the 1970’s. During the 1930’s, research advancements in rotary-wing stability and control were developed on this property that would be later incorporated into the world’s first successful helicopter. The field served for decades as a flight training center for hundreds of fixed-wing pilots in both war and peace. In the uncertain early days of World War II, a Civil Air Patrol squadron was established at the Main Line Airport to provide desperately needed manpower and material to support the battle against marauding German submarines along America’s mid-Atlantic coast. And during the 1950’s-60’s, advanced rotary-wing innovations created at the airport contributed to the helicopter as we know it today. The importance of the Main Line Airport cannot be overstated, yet today virtually no trace remains.

Roger D. Thorne began researching the Main Line Airport in 2002. His in-depth knowledge of this place, its planes and its people, will open the eyes of even those who feel they well know the rich history of Philadelphia’s Upper Main Line.


DATE & TIME: Friday, January 19, 2018

5:30 Cash Bar  6:00 Buffet Dinner

7:00 Program

PLACE: Desmond Hotel, One Liberty Blvd., Malvern. located just off Rt. 202 at Rt. 29. Parking is free in the hotel lot.


        Iceberg lettuce salad, cavatelli pasta, grilled chicken breast, roast sirloin of beef, choice of  starch & vegetables, Desmond bread pudding, assorted cookies, rolls & butter, iced tea, hot Tazo tea, Lavazza coffee & lemonade.

COST: $50.00 per person. Send check by January 15th, payable to OE/SIA

MAIL TO: Larry DeYoung, Treasurer, 54 N. Waterloo Rd., Devon, PA 19333,  


RAIL SERVICE PICK-UP: We can offer to pick up anyone who wishes to ride SEPTA Regional Rail R-5 service to Malvern from train #9553, due in Malvern at 5:33. We will get them back to the station for the return journey. The hotel also offers a shuttle to/from the station if they catch an earlier or later train. Hotel phone number is 610-296-9800.

NAME:__________________________________________  PHONE:______________________

No. of Reservations @50 ea. = Amount enclosed $________




28th Annual Wright Stuff Film Fest

Presented by Martha Capwell Fox, Archives & Museum Coordinator, National Canal Museum/Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Easton, PA

Martha Capwell Fox is in charge of maintaining the Museum’s collection of photographs, artifacts, books, films and videos, and historic documents which preserve the history of anthracite mining and the canals which carried the coal to market as well as the industries which sprang up as a result. She creates and installs exhibits for the Museum’s changing exhibit gallery. In addition, Martha works as a docent and interpreter in the Museum, the Locktender’s House and aboard the Josiah White II, the only mule-drawn canal boat ride in Pennsylvania and does many presentations for historical societies and education programs.

This presentation will include W.W. Chambers 1930 era film of the Fairmount Water Works, the Aquarium, Boathouse Row and Fairmount Park. Three Bethlehem Steel films will be shown: Shipshape, The Machine Called Wire Rope and Building the Golden Gate Bridge. The Lehigh Navigation Coal Co. film: Old Company’s Lehigh and Buehler Bros. film: Mauch Chunk Switchback are also included.

Date: Thursday, December 7, 2017

Time: 5:30 Refreshments     6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if pre-registered      $15 for walk-ins

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

           You should be able to park on the Circle, close to the FWWIC

Reservations: Contact Larry DeYoung at or 610-293-9098


                                 ALSO HOLD THE DATE

Our Annual Dinner Meeting will be held on Friday, January 19, 2018 at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, Pa

Chapter November Program


Society for Industrial Archeology



Philadelphia Celebrates: Three Great Anniversaries – 1876 – 1926 – 1976

Edward W. Duffy, Speaker

How do you celebrate a national commitment to equality, liberty and tolerance in the middle of political upheaval, riots and a national draft? What can we learn about the character of a city by studying how its representatives plan such a celebration?

These are the questions that drive Edward Duffy’s book. A remarkable account of the Centennial, Sesquicentennial and Bicentennial celebrations of the American Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia Celebrates lays bare the motivations behind the planning and execution of these celebrations. Far more than just a history, this book is, above all, a portrait of the people who made these celebrations possible: the rebels, the crooks, the advocates and the citizens forgotten in the shadow of politician’s egos.

As his story unfolds, Duffy dives into unexpected places to unearth the relics of these celebrations and ultimately presents his reader with a thoughtful history of civil rights, women’s rights and religious freedom in Philadelphia through the analysis of these “three great anniversaries”.

Edward W. Duffy is a graduate of LaSalle and Temple Universities. He has worked for Philadelphia Dept. of Commerce, its Planning Commission, its Port Corporation and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. He is also a member of the OE/SIA.

Date: Monday, November 6, 2017

Time:  5:30 Refreshments

           6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if pre-registered      $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

           You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to

  or phone Larry at 610-293-9098

Chapter October Program


Postcard of the President Pump, Friedensville, PA Zinc Mine

Society for Industrial Archeology


The President Pump & its Cornish Pump House

at the Friedensville Zinc Mine

an Illustrated Lecture by Mark W. Connar

It is well known that Bethlehem, PA 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 stationary water pumping engine in the Americas was erected only a few miles away at a mine in the Upper Saucon Township village of Friedensville. This engine, renowned at the time as The President Pump, 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.

Mark W. Connar’s presentation will provide us with a view of this fascinating early equipment and its special connections to the 19th century Philadelphia business community. Mr. 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 archaeological 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. He is also a member of SIA.

Date: Monday, October 16, 2017

Time: 5:30 Refreshments     6:15 Program

Cost: $10 per person if pre-registered.     $15 if not reserved in advance

Place: Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

           You can park in the Circle, closer to the FWWIC

Registration: E-mail names and phone numbers of members and guests to

  or phone Larry at 610-293-9098