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Ice Cream Social Draws Locals to Historic Farmstead
Written by Abigail Clifford, Correspondent

                Between bouts of rain and thunderous clouds this past Sunday, the Lower Salford Historic Society scooped ice cream on the porch of the Jacob Reiff Farmstead in

Local residents sit on the porch of the Jacob Reiff house

as they enjoy their personalized vanilla ice cream between

bouts of rain.

hopes of promoting the rich history that lies within the area.

                Visitors had the chance to take an open tour of the Jacob Reiff farmhouse with a bowl of fresh vanilla ice cream in hand.

                The event was held as a fundraiser for the Lower Salford Historical Society to help with restoration projects and maintenance on their historical properties.

                "This is probably the nicest farmsteads of the park system, it's just beautiful," stated Joan DiMaria, President of the Lower Salford Historical Society.

                Located on 775 Quarry Rd, Harleysville, the Jacob Reiff farmstead is one of the three major historical pieces belonging to the Lower Salford Township.

Active Lower Salford Historical Society member and

volunteer, Bonnie Turchi, scoops ice cream for visitors

visitors at the Jacob Reiff farmstead this past Sunday


                The farmstead was part of the original plantation owned by Jacob Reiff, a tax collector during the Colonial Period of Lower Salford Township, which was then Salford Township.

                Reiff was born in 1698 Germany, but grew up on his father's farm in Salford Township.

                Historians believe the house on the farmstead was built in 1780, but evidence suggests that Jacob Reiff himself did not occupy the building.

                Reiff grew to be a prominent figure in his time due to the amount of land he accumulated to own in then Salford Township.

                Within his lifetime, Reiff owned more than 500 acres of land which makes up a large portion of now Lower Salford Township.

                "He was the largest land owner in the county during the 19th century; the lower right corner of the township was basically his dynasty," stated Dave Hudnut, Lower Salford Historical Society volunteer tour guide.

                Though he owned over 500 acres of land, the acreage total started to deplete as land began passing on to descendants when Reiff passed away in 1782.

                 The remaining 73 acres that the Jacob Reiff farmstead resides on was sold to the township by the McCoaches, who did not know about the Reiff history when they received the land in 1936.

                Now, the 73 acres serves as an open park and preservation for curious visitors to learn a piece of Lower Salford history.

                "Meeting the people is my favorite aspect of these events," stated DiMaria.

                "You have locals who come and tell you stories about the people who used to live here that you wouldn't find in a history book,".

                The other two historical properties in Lower Salford are the Bergey Mill and Heckler Plains properties.

                The next historical society event is the Hecklerfest located at the Heckler Plains Farmstead on August 18.

                The event will be joined by the Brandywine Baseball Club who will demonstrate how baseball was played in the 1860's, along with craft stations, history experts, baked goods from the outdoor bake oven, and more family orientated activities.

                "In the society, we don't just collect data and have a museum, it's interactive and get-to-know your neighbor kind of thing; by doing so, we pass history on to the people who come and learn a little bit ourselves too," stated DiMaria.

                For more information regarding events or historical properties, feel free to contact DiMaria in the evenings preferably, at 215-822-7422.





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