The Upper Milford Historical Society (UMHS) started with a small group of residents dedicated to preserving Upper Milford Township's historical legacy. They didn't have a name or any organization but what they did have was a strong belief that the local heritage must be preserved. Meetings were held with the working title of Upper Milford Township Historical Committee in 1995. Formal meetings were held under this name until 1997, when a less formal structure was adopted. Interested individuals started getting together and suggesting projects to tackle.
In 2005 it was noted that Upper Milford Township was in danger of losing one of its finest resources – its barns. We set about mapping, documenting, and photographing all the historically significant barns that we could find. In the meantime, small meetings were being held in the old Township building, discussing topics of local interest, and inviting other residents to share their knowledge. More people became interested in the work and the mission and it was decided to name this group "The Upper Milford Historical Society." Upper Milford Township donated some much-needed seed money and the new organization was off and running.
The opening of the current Township building was a big step forward. UMHS was given the use of a meeting room and a safe and attractive setting to store and exhibit items of historical interest. Model maker and member Neil Moser found and restored many display cases and filled some of them with his models of barn history and our local railroad stations. Neil and John Fegley restored a case which is now located by the large meeting room. It contains revolving exhibits.
An early project was the barn archive, consisting of photographs and documentation of barns in Upper Milford Township, beginning with photos taken by Sid Unser and continuing with photography by Gary Heller. Photos are currently on display in the archive room.
More recent projects include purchasing professional museum software that enables us to document and track all of the artifacts in our collection, as well as network with all the museums and Historical Societies who use the same software. We have also recently been able to purchase beautiful new display cases for our growing collection.
The Society's most ambitious early project was compiling a book of the History of Upper Milford Township. A book committee worked for almost a year, soliciting photo donations, sorting, cataloging, and writing text for the book. Committee members included Henry Beitler, Barbara Harris, Sid Unser, John Fegley, Joe Banner, Neil Moser, and Rose Parry. When it came time to compile the section on the Village of Powder Valley, the committee was given a big boost by Beulah Miller, Barbara Heist, and Pauline Fritz. The end result is our book:
The History of Upper Milford Township
Published by Arcadia Publishing
Available at the Township building for $22.
In 2013, a committee was formed to create a quilt. It contains images of historic places and symbols of Upper Milford Township. The committee included Irene Frederick, Marlene Herbein, Lorelle and Neil Moser, Rose Parry, Barbara Peters, Sue Weber, and Faith Willis. The one-of-a-kind completed quilt was dedicated on September 25, 2014. It is now part of a revolving exhibit.