In the West End of town, just on the border sits a building built in 1794 called the Selma Mansion. The house was the home of Andrew Porter, a soldier during the Revolutionary War, and a co-founder of the Marine Corp. The Norristown Preservation Society now owns the building and has been working to restore the house. This past weekend, a group of about 12 people scrapped, stripped, and dusted all of the rooms in the house. The reason this was done was to get the building in some semblance of order for Norristown History Day in June. I did a video of the cleanup to help get a little attention to it. Several more of these kinds of event are being planned as a way to work to restoring the building into a usable space.
After we were finished for the day – still a long way from the building being finished – the group expressed a great feeling of satisfaction about getting things in order. Everyone worked really hard and I am sure each one of us had some sore muscles over the weekend. The one thing that struck me about the day was that everyone was so enthusiastic about the house and its history. Generally, we as Americans have a throw-away mentality where most of us think “oh, it’s old, let’s just tear it down”. There was nothing evident of that kind of thinking for anyone who worked there on Saturday.
The Selma Mansion represents a great period in history about Norristown. If you go to the Wikipedia entry for the town, you can read a section devoted to Selma. Other than that reference there is not much written on the home, but there is a fair amount written about the inhabitants. Selma has a history and should have a permenant place in the town. The building needs to have a breath of fresh air breathed into it and the current board of the Preservation Society seems that have what it takes. I look forward to a new start to the renovation, and I hope you will join me in what you can to help. You can donate to help with the restoration by going to the NPS site and sending a check to the address listed. Let’s do what we can to preserve our past so that our children will not forget what our ancestors did for them.