I've been perusing your website with
interest, first starting with the cemetery to get some dates on
relatives of mine. Interestingly, I found in your "Brief History
of Beaver Valley Cemetery", the name P. A. Esch, Secretary. I
assume this was my grandfather, Perry Adam Esch, who is now a
"resident" of that cemetery.
I then turned to your Communities section,
and was glad to see some of the historic homes which had been
restored. It made me think of my grandfather's house, located atop
Church Hill Road. I have some photographs of the house back then,
which may be of interest to you. When I knew it (back in the late
40's) it looked like a mansion, with its gables, balconies and
wrap-around porch. I
don't know the exact date it was built, but since Perry and Pearl
(Back: Glynn & Evelyn, Front: Vivien & Byron) were married 6 August 1902, and the house was built
shortly thereafter, the house must have been built around 1904. It was
originally just a rectangular stucture with nothing fancy. My father,
Byron Moore Esch, remembered that he and brother Glynn helped to put
on the new siding and porch, transforming the house into a very
beautiful one. This must have occurred around 1930 or so.
Now, after it has changed hands a couple of
times, the porch is gone, and it is a somewhat diminutive form of its
former self, but it still provides a comfortable home, 100 years
later. The barn across the street also still stands, though at last
look, it needed some foundation repairs.
The barn, of course, was built before the
house, and was somewhat unique for its time, since the roof was
supported by rafter timbers in such a way that there were no
central supports, the weight being distributed to the exterior beams
and foundation. In this way, a horse drawn hay wagon could be brought
under roof to dry before the hay was put into the hay mow.
I also have a photo of the barn's rafter system, taken in 2001, after
the funeral and burial of my father. My grandfather was a skilled carpenter
and built his barn and house, using timber from his own woodland. He
also framed the newer version of the BV United Brethren Church (now
United Methodist), using his timber, as well as the original post
office in Flinton, where his sister Margaret Yearick
("Maggie") was postmaster for many years, and Perry was the
rural mail carrier (using horse drawn mail wagons) till he retired.
During that time my grandparents lived in
the home of Adam Esch and Hannah Glass, located about a mile West of
their home. Hannah was Adam's second wife, his first wife Julia Walters
died at age 30. I think she was related to the early Walters'
pioneers in the area.
(The four children in front are from Adam's first marriage to
Julia Walters, the six in back are from his marriage to Hannah Glass)
The house has many memories for me as a boy,
and I can still smell the freshly baked bread from that Kalamazoo
stove that grandma Pearl used all
her life. One of the interesting features of the house was its rooftop
balcony, accessible from the attic stairs. There one could look
out and observe the surrounding mountain vista, and at night view the
stars. We children were told that the purpose of the rooftop deck was
to escape a nagging wife, but if so, it wasn't used very much, since
grandma Pearl was truly a gem.
Pearl was our favorite. She always had a
bedtime story for us, and we felt honored to accompany her on her
chores. We saw her milk the cow, store the milk in crocks in her
basement, where in the evening she would "skim" off the
cream to make butter. She also let us collect the eggs from the
henhouse (not our favorite chore), which she later sold. The "butter
and egg money" was hers to keep, and she bought a piano (now
in my daughter's home), violin (which I still play) as well as
clothing and other items needed for a growing family. She also knew
what was going on in the community, and took an active roll in the
church. She once circulated a petition to name the new park Gates
Park, and the dam as Glendale Dam. She lost out to Prince Gallitzen,
but Glendale was retained.
I don't know what else might be of interest
to your website, but the history is a good idea. It might also be good
to open up a "column" for people in the Beaver Valley area
(and friends) to contribute their memories and anecdotes, so that
visitors can gain an insight into the spirit of the community. My
interests were partly in the genealogy area. I was able to start with
Pearl's information and then trace the Esch ancestry back to 1751 in
Northampton County, where the Esches settled in Colonial America prior
to moving West into Indiana and Cambria counties.
Thanks for listening,