1852 Herr Family Homestead Tour
If you live in the western portion of Lancaster County and have children, you may have visited the Amos Herr Park which recently completed a major overhaul of their playground. The recreational park also includes soccer fields, baseball diamonds, a pavilion, tennis, bocci, and volleyball courts. What you may not realize is right behind the playground sits a historical homestead, the former home of the park’s namesake. For select times during the warm weather months, this lovely home and grounds is opened to the public for docent-led tours on a donation basis.
One beautiful Sunday after our church service (which is right down the street), we headed to the Herr Homestead for a tour and then some playground time. Upon arrival we were greeted by the docent who had us sign in at the guestbook, and we were given an opportunity to contribute a donation. We proceeded through each room of the house, two levels plus the basement. Our family has been to many house museums and after awhile they start to have the same feel, but one thing that was quite different about the Herr Homestead was how child-friendly the tour was. Whether this was intentional or not, our tour guide seemed to not only not mind that the kids were sitting on the furniture and touching things, but actually encouraged them to “try” objects out in pretend play. My girls especially really enjoyed that and their countenance changed from “I’m bored” to “Wow, this is fun!” From sitting on the couches and petting the stuffed cat to trying on outfits, playing with dolls, pretending to iron clothes, or checking mail in the preserved Salunga Post Office now in the basement of the Herr House, the kids were able to fully immerse themselves into the mid-nineteenth century. In my mind, there is no better way to teach kids history than to have them see it, feel it, and walk it.
Besides learning about typical farm home objects and their uses, we were given a glimpse into the three generations of Herr family members that lived in the home until 1987. We were personally interested in discovering who Amos Herr was as he was one of the original church members at our church, Church of God of Landisville. One fascinating fact I learned about him was that he enjoyed running and would run from his house to Franklin and Marshall College to take classes, which is about 5.5 miles. The annual Amos Herr Honey Run 5K was inspired by this detail of Amos Herr’s life. Our family enjoys participating in this event and you can read more about that at http://www.daytrippermom.com/amos-herr-honey-run-5k/.
If you’ve been hesitant to take your children on a house museum tour because you are afraid they won’t stand still or break something or will be just plain bored, the Herr Homestead is the place to try one out. Plus, if it doesn’t go well, you can leave and not feel bad about it because you didn’t spend a bunch of money. The kids (and you) will come away with a good sense of what upper-class Pennsylvania Dutch farm life was like in the mid 1800’s. So before you just plop yourself on a bench and whip out your phone while the kids play at the Amos Herr playground, spend a little time (about 45 minutes) broadening your horizons with a tour back in time at the Herr Homestead. Then maybe you’ll still have time for the phone and bench while the kids burn some energy swinging, climbing, and spinning.
Admission: By Donation Only
Hours: April 1-October 31 on Saturdays and Sundays 1-4PM (last tour begins at 3:15PM)
The 1852 Herr Family Homestead
1756 Nissley Road
Landisville, PA 17538
Visit www.herrhomestead.org for more info!