Welcome to the Heckler Plains Farmstead, located at the intersection of Morris & Landis Road, Harleysville, PA. The farmstead is part of the Lower Salford Park system, and since it was established in 1975, the Heckler Plains Folklife Society (then Blue Print ’76, later re-named) has worked with Lower Salford Township to maintain and restore the historic structures and preserve the farmstead as representation of a working-man’s farm in the late 1700s-early 1800s.
The farmstead boasts a Rhine Valley Bottom Barn dating to 1761, an outdoor bake oven whose baking chamber pre-dates the American Revolution, and a farmhouse, which is undergoing restoration. The Society is a non-profit, volunteer organization that hosts several public events during the year. Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on all the latest events and announcements at Heckler Plains Farmstead.
What’s Happening at the Farmstead…
- The Herb Festival (Saturday preceding Mothers’ Day) offers a wide variety of herb, annual and perennial plants for sale, craft vendors, gardening information, and pies baked in the outdoor bake oven. The Garden Committee maintains the 4-Square Kitchen Garden during the growing season with herb plants and vegetables. Volunteers are welcome and appreciated. (Free)
- Hecklerfest (third Saturday in October) features colonial craft demonstrators, craft vendors, history/genealogy information, hands-on colonial craft stations, food and beverages. (Admission)
- Carol Night (second Friday evening in December) Carols are sung around a bonfire, then guests are entertained in the farmhouse with tales of Christmas as the PA Germans celebrated the season while drinking hot cider and hot chocolate. Admission is one home-made treat for the groaning board or a hand-made ornament for the cedar tree. (Free)
The core and focus of The Heckler Plains Folklife Society is the Children’s Colonial Education Programs, which have been ongoing since 1976. Costumed volunteers teach area school children how to dip candles, card wool, hetchel flax, practice Fraktur, scherensnitte, stenciling, pottery and other colonial crafts that were part of the life of our early settlers. All items made by the children are their souvenirs of a day spent at the Heckler Farmstead. It’s the perfect place to relive an integral part of American history while receiving fun, hands on education!
History at Heckler Plains Farmstead
During the 1820’s, taverns & inns served as rest stops for those traveling the roads in Montgomery County as well as gathering places for the residents of Lower Salford Township to talk about the news of the day. Heckler Plains Farmstead served both of these functions as it welcomed travelers from far and wide to its Public House & Inn. Thanks to a dedicated group of history enthusiasts and hard working volunteers, the structures and landscapes here at the Farmstead are very much the same as they were over a hundred years ago.
Heckler Plains is truly a special destination for residents living in and around Montco, one that should be preserved and celebrated in order to help preserve its historical significance to the county we call home. As we try to keep up with the rapid development of technology in our lives, it’s humbling to know that there’s a place where we can go back to appreciate the days of honest living.
Anyone interested in volunteering as a colonial teacher (no experience required, we will gladly train), or who is looking to sell their crafts at our festivals, should contact Sarah Beyer (610-584-6913 – teacher) or Sandy Zimmerman (215-538-0853 – craft vendor). If you have any general questions about the Heckler Plains Farmstead or the Society that maintains it, please contact Joan DiMaria (215-822-7422, evenings).