For the last 20 years or so, I have been involved with the Norristown Preservation Society (NPS). It is a small organization founded to preserve the legacy of many of the Norristown forefathers as well as increasing the awareness of architectural history. Some of those notables are Gen. Andrew Porter, David Rittenhouse Porter, James Madison Porter and the Porter family. Also, Thomas P. Knox, state agricultural society president and developer of the West End, and Joseph Fornance, who served as a congressman and a borough council president. Most importantly, the organization was founded to save their home, the Selma Mansion at 1301 West Airy Street in Norristown.
When my husband and I first moved into the town, I was pleasantly surprised to find that such an organization existed. At first they did things like house tours, which were always lots of fun because one got to see the insides of many of the finely kept homes. I think though that people felt uncomfortable with strangers traipsing through their residence and that event was eventually stopped. Nothing bad ever happened as far as we know, but it did become quite a challenge to convince people to put their domicile on display.
I have always loved old houses. I suppose growing up with a mother whose family still owned the home she grew up in, I learned to appreciate what has come before. I learn to recognize some of the architectural styles and furnishing, and felt very comfortable in surrounding myself with old pieces. My dream was to own a Queen Ann house, although I am not sure that dream will ever come true.
At any rate, NPS will be presenting their History Day on June 11, 2011. This year, the event will be held at the Selma Mansion, which has had quite a few clean-up days to prepare for it. I did a video of one of the last ones. There will be exhibitors on hand to show various artifacts of local history and some vendors selling glass bottles and paper ephemera. This year, unlike past years, we will have a variety of speakers presenting mini lectures on historic colors, Norristown architecture, the Constitution, and evidence of paranormal activity at the mansion. I hope you will come out and take a peek at the best of Norristown‘s past.
For more information, you can check out the NPS website.