Thursday, November 24, 2016

Places to see about Thaddeus Stevens -- Lancaster

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, 750 E. King Street

When you pull into the college's parking lot you will see a statue of Thaddeus Stevens to the left,. It is across the parking lot from the college's main building, Mellor Hall. Erected in 2008, it is the only statue of Stevens in the world and it is an education in itself about the Great Commoner. Besides the sitting Stevens, the statue includes a standing young man to symbolize all the people he has championed through his advocacy of education and equality. Around its base are bronze plaques detailing his accomplishments and the people and institutions that made the statue possible. Make sure to push the bottom on the metal box on the edge of the plaza to hear a narrative about Stevens's life. 

Statue of Thaddeus Stevens by George Mummert 
You may see a short video about the statue that includes the narrative at this link:  Statue Video

After seeing the statue, visit the college's archives room in the Learning Resource Center, which is located behind Mellor Hall. To see the room, go to the main desk and ask to see the archives room and an employee will escort you to it. Inside you will find a treasure trove of Stevens artifacts including his clubfoot boot, furniture from his house, letters, a time line of his life and more. The archives is open during the school year and a visitor may wish to call 717-299-7753 before visiting.. More information is available at this link: Archives

Archives Room at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Display case in Archives Room

Thaddeus Stevens's Grave, Shreiner-Concord Cemetery, at corner of Mulberry and Chestnut in Lancaster, PA

One of the most inspirational tombstone inscriptions is to be found in this small cemetery in Lancaster. Thaddeus Stevens specifically picked this location for his burial because it was the only Lancaster cemetery at the time open to all races and creeds. And his inscription alludes to that fact:

I repose in this quiet and secluded spot
Not from any natural preference for solitude
But finding other cemeteries limited as to race by charter rules
I have chosen this that I might illustrate in my death
The principles which I advocated through a long life
Equality of man before his creator

The graves of Civil War veterans and other historic people can found throughout the cemetery. More information on the cemetery can be found at this link: Shreiner-Concord Cemetery

Thaddeus Stevens's grave in Lancster, PA

Shreiner-Concord Cemetery in Lancaster, PA

Thaddeus Stevens's House, Queen and Vine Street, Lancaster, PA

In 2000 Thaddeus Stevens's house in Lancaster was in danger of being demolished to make way for the Lancaster Convention Center. But because of the actions of the Lancaster Preservation Trust and other groups the house was spared and the exterior was restored to its 1860s look. While interior work will not be done until after 2020, visitors can still go into the convention centers entrance on Vine Street and see information about the house, Stevens and his housekeeper, Lydia Hamilton Smith. They can also see down into a cistern that was behind the house and is believed to be a hiding place in the Underground Railroad.

Thaddeus Stevens's house in Lancaster, PA

The cistern behind Stevens house that was believed to be a hiding place

Thaddeus Stevens exhibit at at 230 N. President Avenue, Lancaster, PA

Stevens's desk, wig, cane, and clubfoot boot will be on display through late 2017 at the Lancaster Historical Society museum. The items are part of an exhibit called "Freedom: To Secure the Blessings of Liberty," which opened in the society's main hall on September 24. The exhibit is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. There is an admission fee.

Stevens's desk with wig on top and clubfoot boot and cane on floor

Stevens's clubfoot boot and cane

Stevens's last will and testament

Stevens's wig

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