Bicentennial Book commemorates Kutztown's 200th anniversary

Submitted The entire town was decorated for the centennial celebration. This photograph is Main Street looking east at the intersection of Main and Whiteoak Streets. The banner across the street is currently on display at the Kutztown Area Historical Society.
Submitted Dr. Henry W. Saul, the President of the Kutztown Centennial Association, makes announcements at the beginning of one of the activities held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of Kutztown as a borough in 1915. The celebration was held from July 1 to July 7, 1915 and included four parades.

A book will commemorate Kutztown’s 200th anniversary. Sponsors and advertisers will see their name and business become a part of recorded history.

“With 2014 upon us, we’re kick-starting the awareness campaign for the Kutztown Bicentennial Celebration in 2015,” Craig A. Koller, Chair, Kutztown Bicentennial Committee, told The Patriot. “One of the things we are working on is a book to commemorate the bicentennial.”

Kutztown was incorporated as a borough in Pennsylvania on March 1, 1815.

“The book will be photograph heavy. It will feature the centennial celebration in 1915 and the sesqui-centennial celebration in 1965. We will also focus on changes in Kutztown since 1965,” said Koller.

The book is being written and edited by a committee consisting of Brendan Strasser, Meredith Strasser, Kathy Kemp and Koller.

Book sponsors can pre-order the book and in return, sponsors will see their name included in the book. The committee mailed book sponsorship forms to members of the Kutztown Area Historical Society and sponsorship forms will also be mailed to everyone in Kutztown as part of their January utility bill mailing.

“We’re taking orders now so we can, one, get a list of supporters to include in the book, and, two, raise money for the publication costs,” said Koller. “It’s also a way for them to have their name published in the book and become part of history.”

Their goal is for people to pre-order the book to help pay the publication costs up front for this limited edition book they anticipate to print this fall. At this time, the committee does not know how many books will be printed.

“We’re also trying to get local businesses to advertise to help create a snapshot of the 2015 business community. This is another way to record history,” said Koller. “The 1965 book is a wealth of information just for the advertising section. We’d like to create something similar.”

A section will be dedicated to the sponsors and advertisers in the book, creating a business directory that will serve as a historical resource for years to come, said Koller.

“All proceeds are for the Bicentennial Celebration. The amount of money we raise will dictate how elaborate the celebration will be,” he said.

The Bicentennial Celebration will be held from July 25, 2015 to Aug. 2, 2015.

“We have several events already planned with more to come.”

Events include the 2015 Muscle on Main, Miss Kutztown Bicentennial Pageant, Walking Tour of Kutztown, Fashion Show & Ice Cream Social by the Kutztown Area Historical Society, Brew and Que by Saucony Creek Brewing Company, the Aug. 1, 2015 Parade on Main Street, 2015 Kutztown Day, Movie in the Park, and more, according to the Bicentennial website.

“The book is our major method of raising funds for the celebration.”

The committee seeks pre-publication orders to help pay publication costs. A book order form and advertising form were included in the January utilities bill mailing to all Kutztown residents. They are also selling t-shirts at borough hall and soliciting ads from local businesses.

“Joel Seidel Photography has graciously and generously offered to take pictures of local business for the ad section of the book,” said Koller. “Our goal is to have as many local businesses in this section as it will serve as a historic reference for the Kutztown business community. Many times people refer to the ad section of the 1965 sesqui-centennial book for information about Kutztown businesses of that era.”

All advertisers receive a copy of the book included in their fee, he said.

“The parade committee is busy inviting groups and bands to participate in the Bicentennial Parade, which is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015.”

The committee anticipates the cost for the parade to be at least $20,000, using the fireman’s parade in 2008 as a reference point, which cost about $20,000. The parade committee is working on finalizing a budget, based on figures they receive from marching groups requiring a stipend.

“Most bands require a stipend to participate in the parade, including traveling expenses. Some marching groups also require a stipend. The committee also plans on giving prizes to participants in the parade. The prizes have yet to be finalized as we don’t yet know how much money we’ll have for prizes,” said Koller.

On their Bicentennial Celebration website, http://www.bokutility.com/bicentennial/index.html, the committee invites all Kutztown area civic groups, churches, and individual citizens to participate in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of Kutztown as a borough in Pennsylvania.

“The Bicentennial Committee wants the celebration to be as inclusive as possible to promote civic awareness and community cooperation in Kutztown, not only for the bicentennial celebration, but afterwards as well,” according to the website.

Created in 2010, the Kutztown Bicentennial Committee includes Craig Koller (chair), Marilyn Baver, Rachael Birckbichler, Shena Corrado, Louise DeVall, Patrick Donmoyer, Keith Erney, Sandy Green, Dale Grim, Martha Johnson, Amanda Keith Verrastro, Pam Kelchner, Craig Koller, Matt Lindenmuth, Todd Mertz, Scott Miller, Andy Schlegel, Matt Schmeck, Tina Schmeck, Kevin Smith, Brendan Strasser, Gina Wiand, Steve Wood, Karen Wuchter, and Janet Yost. Volunteer support is encouraged and welcome.

For more about the bicentennial visit kutztownboro.org and click on the link to Kutztown Bicentennial. If anyone is interested in working on the Bicentennial Committee, email kutztownbicentennial@hometownu.com. The book order form can be found at the bicentennial website: http://www.bokutility.com/bicentennial/index.html.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.

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