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The Birth of the Isaac Meier Committee
A handful of Myerstown residents were involved with saving the Lebanon County Courthouse and in planning the Myerstown's Bicentennial in 1968. This helped to spark the idea of saving the Meier Homestead, which was in danger of being torn down. According to Mrs. June Ebling, a charter member of the Isaac Meier Homestead Committee, in 1970 Mayor Rodney Steltz was concerned with saving the endangered Meier Homestead and contacted people in the community who had the same concerns. A committee was formed but little did they know it would prove to be hard work.
One of the obstacles was sparking the community's interest in their "home" and it was felt that if the Meier house would be open for the public's inspection, seeds of interest would be planted. Ms. Tillie Sando was instrumental in getting the ball rolling and one of the first things she did was approach Borough Manager Edward H. Treat to get permission to open the house to the public. Manager Treat was skeptical on the success of the idea but he stated if the Committee could get state approval, they should go for it. In order to get State approval, several things had to be accomplished such as the stairway leading to the upstairs had to be closed to visitors and a sub-floor had to be placed in the hall. This was going to cost $1,500.00. The Committee went to work canvassing the community's businesses for donations; and after the money was raised, the work accomplished, the Meier Homestead was open to the public. Faced with an empty house, the Committee approached several local antique dealers to loan them antiques to place in the house.
Sara Steltz, Chairman; June Ebling - Fund Raising; Viola Mohn and Mary Ann Bugg were members that made up the first Isaac Meier Homestead Committee.
In 1970 the Committee started archeological digs at the site and one of the items unearthed was a green glass decanter. The recovered items found are on display at the Meier Home.
The Committee has been instrumental in raising funds for the structural repairs that had to be made to save the structural integrity and also to inform the public on the various architectural methods used during the structural changes made to the Meier Homestead in its lifetime. Also in coordination with the school district, children are brought to the home for a tour and historic lesson. The lessons are specially geared to the age group and Committee members volunteer to dress in period dress, and work with the children. One of the lessons planned is for the child to write with a quill as Isaac Meier's children did in the past.
The Homestead holds various functions to raise money for their projects and one of these is the Annual Country Fair held in September. You can find volunteers in period dress cooking, knitting, crocheting - depicting some of the things the Meier family might have done during their day. The period food such as stews and baked goods is offered to the curious visitor. During the year the Homestead is open to the public for tours, and in November the annual Kerzenlicht Nacht, (Candlelight Night) is held at the homestead. Candles are lit throughout the house, carols are sung and refreshments are served.
The Committee not only works in the past but is looking to the future. They are working towards the construction of a Heritage Center that will:
The Meier Homestead does publish a newsletter twice a year and copies can be attained at the Myerstown Community Library. This newsletter is also sent to members and sponsors of the Isaac Meier Committee.
The Committee is always looking for volunteers and you could be just the person they are looking for. Please contact the Borough Office (717-866-5038) for contact information.
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