Skippack Historical Society

Society History

The Skippack Historical Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1967 for the purpose of researching and documenting the many historical sites and rich history of the Skippack Valley, the site of the second inland settlement of the Pennsylvania German people. A driving incentive to organize the group was the impending flooding of the Skippack Stream Valley by the Commonwealth to provide a recreational lake and water source. The Skippack Valley at that time had been virtually unaffected by the modern commercial development and more than fifty of the structures in the Valley had been built before 1800. The society's members wanted to urge the citizens of the area to be mindful of the historical and cultural heritage and take steps to preserve, restore and study it's culture and customs.

One of the first major projects of the Skippack Historical Society was to help raise funds for the McHarg Report, an historical and environmental research study commissioned by the Montgomery County Planning Commission that documented some 200 historical sites. The contribution of the University of Pennsylvania professor Anthony Garvin and historian Christa Wells revealed the incomparable history contained in the physical sites of the Skippack Valley, and stressed that particular attention to these sites was warranted. The planning for the high dam construction was soon postponed and the 3600 acres of the Valley's real estate acquired formed the new Evansburg Historical State Park. Unfortunately many of the historical houses on that land had already been removed.Gerhardt Indenhofen HouseOne of the houses that remained was the Gerhardt Indenhofen house located on the corner of Evansburg Road and Skippack Pike. It serves as the icon of the Villages' history. It is believed to be the oldest standing house in Skippack, and was built by the Indenhofen brothers circa 1725. In 1968, the Society was granted a lease of the property from the State, with the purpose of its restoration. We quickly went to work on stabilizing the house and barn by re-roofing and installing new electrical wiring. Victorian period additions were removed and pole gutters were installed to eliminate rain spouting. Then the plaster was removed from the exterior, exposing the fine stonework, which had originally graced the structure. In 1981 we received a Merit Award from the Federation of Historical Societies for our efforts.

In the 1990's, at the request of the State Park's Deputy Director, we studied the remaining houses and published a survey of the Skippack Valley historical houses with in Evansburg State Park.Summer Kitchen At the same time research and renovation of the Indenhofen house resumed when the Society secured the services of a restoration specialist. The summer kitchen and bake oven (circa 1840) were restored. The house pent-roofs as well as the exterior cellar entrance were restored. The house floor joists were reinforced with steel posts and substantial reinforcement of a section of the barn was accomplished. In addition, an engineering study and extensive historical research of the house ownership was completed. It is the Society's hope that the Indenhofen house will someday be a library and museum celebrating the history of the Skippack Community.

The Society Continues to provide educational services to the community and strives to foment interest in the great historical heritage of Skippack. We hold regular monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 pm at the Indenhofen House. The Society' members are involved in restoration projects and fundraising. We have regular guest speakers and an annual Society Dinner. We are currently involved in the preparations for the 300th Anniversary of the Skippack Days taking place August 15th and 16th at the 4H Center in Creamery. The Society will have a display table at the event with photos, artifacts found on the farmstead grounds, and information about the Society and the history of Skippack Valley.

We invite you to become a member of the Skippack Historical Society helping us to strengthen Skippack's cultural and architectural heritage. Your membership and support will help us in restoring the Gerhardt Indenhofen Farmstead and other historic structures.

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