Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Great Commoner, Fall 2023, No. 47,

 Thaddeus Stevens Society to meet November 5 at Adams County Historical Society Museum in Gettysburg

The Thaddeus Stevens Society will meet Sunday, November 5, at 1 p.m. at the Adams County Historical Society Museum at 625 Biglerville Road (Route 34), Gettysburg, PA. After a light lunch and business meeting, there will be a tour of the new museum, which includes a new Thaddeus Stevens exhibit. Individuals will be charged $12 each by the museum. If you plan to attend, please email or call 717-347-8159.

Gettysburg Mayor sets up Thad display

Ross Hetrick portraying Thaddeus Stevens and Gettysburg Mayor Rita Frealing in front of new Stevens display outside her office.

Gettysburg Mayor Rita Frealing recently set up a Thaddeus Stevens display outside her office with items donated by the Society. The borough has also installed "Stevens Run" signs on Constitution Avenue.

"Thaddeus Stevens was a major figure in Gettysburg history and deserves this recognition," the mayor said. "I hope these tributes will spark interest in Stevens among local residents."

The display consists of a bust of Stevens on a small oak table with flyers about Stevens's life. On the walls behind the bust are a painting of Stevens and a plaque listing his accomplishments. All the items were donated by the Society over the last few decades.

The new Stevens Run signs are on both sides of a small bridge that is just east of a Gettysburg College parking lot. The 2.2 mile stream is a tributary of Rock Creek and is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Its name dates back to the early 1800s when it ran through land owned by Stevens, who sold six acres of the property to the college for its initial campus.

                                Stevens Run sign on Constitution Avenue in Gettysburg.

Fundraiser to be launched for Society office and exhibit area

The Thaddeus Stevens Society will launch a fundraising effort on November 9 to raise money for a Society office and exhibit area for its collection of Stevens artifacts. 

The Society is partnering with the Adams County Community Foundation for its Giving Spree, which will be held on November 9  from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Gettysburg Middle School, 37 Lefever Street. The Society's table at the event will feature Ross Hetrick portraying Stevens who will walk around the area telling potential donors why he needs a new office in Gettysburg. 

Donations will be given to the Foundation, which turns them over to the Society along with an "incentive match." More information about the event can be found at this link: GivingSpree.

The Society's goal is to raise $14,000, which would be combined with $13,000 the Society already has. This should be sufficient to set up the office and exhibit site and pay rent for about two years. We are also asking for donations to an endowment fund set up with the Foundation that could help fund the office in the future.

Various sites for the office and exhibit area are under considerations. We hope to find a place in downtown Gettysburg that would be close to where Stevens's house was on Chambersburg Street. 

Our extensive collection of Stevens artifacts is now housed in a residential apartment on Stevens Street in Gettysburg. The exhibit can be seen by appointment by emailing or calling 717-347-8159.

With the new location and regular office hours, we hope it will be a great draw for tourists and significant increase the public visibility of Thaddeus Stevens.

Society to lend Caledonia Stove to Lancaster History for proposed museum

"Ten-Plate" stove made at Stevens's Caledonia Iron works more than 150 years ago.

The Thaddeus Stevens Society will indefinitely lend a stove made at Stevens's Caledonia iron works to be part of the Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith Center for History and Democracy. 

Lancaster History, which is developing the $22 million museum, is scheduled to take the stove in early 2024 for refurbishing. It will be available for public viewing in April 2025 when the museum is slated to be opened. The stove is now at the Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg. The stove was donated to the Society by Leslie Robinson and Lynn Jensen in 2013.

The Society owns another Caledonia stove as well as a stove made at Stevens's earlier Maria iron mill in Fairfield, PA, which will be part of the future Thaddeus Stevens exhibit in Gettysburg.

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