It was a bright sunny morning and a beautiful day in the neighborhood. There was the cadence of drums and the striking up of music. There's just something about hearing a marching band that stirs the heart. Those sounds of the Pleasant Valley High School marching band, led by James DeVivo, were the perfect start for the Chestnuthill Township's 250th Anniversary Celebration parade on Saturday as the color guard from the American Legion Post 927 of Gilbert led them around the perimeter of the West End Fairgrounds.
This was a celebration of the original Chestnut Hill Township that was formed in 1763. It was later broken up into four townships which include, Ross, Polk and Eldred. All four participated in the day's events.
There were four parade marshals. The 250th committee selected one person from each of the four townships. They were: Robert Altemose of Brodheadsville (Chestnuthill Twp.). He is a World War II/Pacific United States Navy veteran and his family established the R. W. Altemose & Son store in 1901, still open today; Mrs. Constance Andrews, Kunkletown (Eldred Twp.); Homer Zacharias (Polk Twp.) and LeRoy Rasely (Ross Twp.).
The Chestnut Hill Township banner that displays all four townships' logo was carried by members of the 250th Anniversary Committee: Nancy Christman, Janet Johnson, Nancy Gehr, Shirley Krum and Ellen Meli. They were followed by Dorothy Davidson (250th committee) and Nancy May (Polk Township supervisor).
Other participants in the parade were: Brownie Troop 556; Monroe County Commissioners Suzanne McCool, John Mayer, Charlie Garris and Monroe County coroner Robert Allen; Western Pocono Community Library; Western Pocono Lioness Club; Pleasant Valley Youth Association; PV cheerleaders; PV Bears football team; Scott Stephens driving his wagon pulled by a team of beautiful horses representing Stephens Saw Mill and the Kunkletown Pub; horseback riders Clara Modica and Deborah Modica; Chestnuthill Township supervisors Chuck Gould (chairman) and Chris Eckert; Cub Scout Pack 101; American Legion Post 927 Riders; Mae and Terry Kline in their 1990 Ford Mustang celebrating their 25th anniversary; Old Car; tractor driven by Neal Murphy and grandson, Tucker Murphy; Happy Cow Ice Cream truck; Polk Township Vol. Fire Co.'s 1954 GMC fire truck; Eldred Township's road crew 2008 International truck; Kunkletown Vol. Fire Co.; West End Ambulance; last but certainly not least was the West End Vol. Fire Co.'s 1932 Buffalo fire engine.
Norman Burger, 250th committee chairman, said the reason he felt it was important to hold a celebration was because "250 years is major milestone for our community. Our committee felt that this was an excellent opportunity to document some of our history and get our citizens to help preserve our common and family histories, plus share this history with others so it is not lost. Over the years a significant amount of historical artifacts and personal stories have been lost or diminished included the details that would help succeeding generations learn about the people of 1700s through the 1900s and how they lived. It was also a way to have people become familiar with our historical societies and assist our members to archive, preserve and make interesting artifacts available to the public."
He said he was pleased with the turnout.
"We exceeded my minimum expectation of 3,000 people. I would have liked to see a larger crowd, but competing events in Kunkletown, Palmerton, Tunkhannock and East Stroudsburg area drew some who could have attended. We could not have been blessed with a better day sunny, moderate temperature and a slight breeze."
He noted that he had heard many favorable comments about the event: parade, music, games, displays and opportunity to visit on a beautiful day.
"The Riverside Rhythm Swing Band with their 20s through 50s music, plus the Singing Hawks, were particularly popular with the over 50s crowd. Our historic book sales were brisk and we still have some available for those with an interest in the West End's history."
To contact Burger, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (610) 681-7561.