History & Culture

Alexander Schaeffer House and Farm

Schaefferstown, PA – To step back in time, visit Historic Schaefferstown (HSI). The Pennsylvania German and Swiss cultures, which flourished here during the last few centuries, are authentically presented among several historic sites including Alexander Schaeffer Farm, a National Historic Landmark, the Thomas R. Brendle Museum, and the very unique Gemberling-Rex House. The Gemberling-Rex House (c.1758) once served thirsty travelers and villagers as a tavern. Fascinating features include a bar cage, 18th century wall stenciling, a Franklin fireplace and more. Sites are open for tours April 1st to October 4th. Please call to arrange tours at other times.

Chestnut Street Log House

Lebanon, PA – George Steitz, the town founder, laid out lots in the confines of the original plan plot for what became the City of Lebanon. Within his plan was the 1 1/2 story Chestnut Street Log House which stands as a reminder of 18th century life.

Cornwall Iron Furnace

Cornwall, PA – It is difficult to imagine that this quiet cluster of beautiful buildings nestled in the rolling hills of Lebanon County was once the home of a fire-breathing blast furnace with an insatiable appetite for rocks and wood!

The five-acre site includes remnants of the original eighteenth century industry incorporated into the nineteenth century Furnace Building, Wagon Master and Blacksmith Shop buildings, Abattoir, and Charcoal Barn now refitted as a Visitor Center. In close proximity but not part of the site are the Iron Master’s Mansion, several workers villages, and the Cornwall Iron Ore Mine that today is filled with water. The site is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and is a National Historic Landmark as well as a Landmark of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Fort Indiantown Gap

Annville, PA – The elaborate Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial is the largest monument in VA’s National cemeteries. The combination open-air space and building stands 107 feet high and 360 feet long. Its design evokes “the ruins of a war-torn building centered in a land of solemnity.” Designed by Cee Jay Associates of West Chester, Pa., the granite, stone, and concrete composition was dedicated Oct. 7, 2001. The memorial is dedicated to all who serve the nation and veterans of all wars—past and future.

Isaac Meier Homestead

Myerstown, PA – The Isaac Meier Homestead is a large limestone dwelling located along route 501 in Myerstown. Originally built by Valentine Herckelrod in 1738, it was purchased by his son-in-law, Isaac Meier, in 1757. What Meier did architecturally to the house is a prime significance for understanding the history and development of material culture in 18th century Pennsylvania. The eastern part of the house remains Germanic in detail but the western half is composed of parlors, bedrooms and a central hall all of which exhibit an English Georgian influence inspired buy Palladian architecture. The Meier Homestead is being preserved for appreciation of local heritage.
Informational tours of this historic property are given on the Second Saturday of each month, April through October, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with the exception of September.

PA National Guard Military Museum

Annville, PA – The Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum is located on Service Road at Fort Indiantown Gap in a two-story barracks built in 1941. It showcases items and weapons from the Civil War to the Gulf War, as well as items that depict the history of the Pennsylvania National Guard and Fort Indiantown Gap.
The Our Lady of Victory Chapel was moved in the fall of 2012 to the Museum site. Also known also as the 109th Infantry Regimental Chapel, began life as a one room school and was converted into a Catholic Chapel in the early 40s. Open Mondays and Fridays, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Directions: Rte 934 to stop light, turn right onto Service Road. Museum on right past Wiley Road.

The Hauck Memorial Library

Lebanon, PA – Housed Inside the Stoy Museum, this library is a repository for Lebanon County Genealogy and History. Here you can find church records, cemetery records, census records, newspapers, maps, family histories, city directories, photographs, documents, postcards, and more.

The Lebanon County Historical Society

Lebanon, PA – The Lebanon County Historical Society was organized in 1898 by a group of interested local citizens and amateur historians. The Society was considered the county’s attic until 1935, when the group offered its first public exhibits. Today, the LCHS is a place where residents and visitors alike can experience our history first-hand, as well as conduct their own historical research and have access to related gifts and souvenirs. The LCHS is truly one of Lebanon County’s hidden gems.

The Stoy Museum

Lebanon, PA – Constructed in 1773 as a home for Dr. William Henry Stoy and later serving as Lebanon County’s first courthouse, the museum’s exhibits include fine examples of everyday living from the 19th and 20th Century: a pharmacy, general store, parlor, toy shop, ladies’ fashions and more. Guided tours only; it is requested that groups of more than 6 schedule their tours in advance. A typical tour lasts about 1 1/2-hours.

The Union Canal Tunnel Park

Lebanon, PA – Situated on 109 acres of meadows and woods, you will find the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the U.S – The Union Canal. The canal, proposed by William Perm as early as 1690, was desired to tap the agricultural wealth of the Commonwealth and to give access to a second settlement on the Susquehanna. The Tunnel was completed in 1827 and today is a treasured National Historic Landmark.

Visitors can walk on the towpath once trodden by mules, picnic at the mouth of the tunnel, or climb the marked trails through the wooded hill adjacent to the canal. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Boat rides on the canal and through the tunnel are available Sundays during the months of June through October, from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., weather permitting. $6.00 for adults, $3.00 for children from 6-14 and younger children are free.