Historical treasures, including historical documents about the original ‘Bridesburger’, Joseph Kirkbride, and a historic caricature of Bridesburg’s former mailman, poet and community leader Ed Ludwig, are among the artifacts that may soon be left out in the cold.
These relics and others are part of the collection of the Bridesburg Historical Society, which will lose its home at All Saints Parish, 2651 Buckius St., as a consequence of the Archdiocese’s recent merger of All Saints and St. John Cantius into one church, which will be known as St. John Canitus Parish.
“The truth is, we don’t know where we’ll go,” said Teresa Pyott, 84, the president of the Bridesburg Historical Society.
While not part of the All Saints Parish organization, the society is one of several community groups which use space at All Saints Parish, which after 150 years, will hold its last Sunday Mass on Sunday, June 30.
The Bridesburg Historical Society holds their monthly meetings in Marion Hall, which was the original church building at All Saints, according to “Images of America: Bridesburg,” a historic photo essay that Pyott co-wrote.
The society also uses the parish basement to store its collection of hundreds of artifacts from Bridesburg’s history, including books, photographs, periodicals, relics, mementoes, knick-knacks, and other items of note.
For now, there’s no eviction notice on the Bridesburg Historical Society’s door.
“Despite rumors being spread by various people, none of us were told to get out before July 1,” said Michael Finn, a Historical Society member and All Saints Parish lector, in an email message.
But some sort of move seems to be inevitable.
As Star reported in “We’re all going to have to pray together,” (June 5, 2013) All Saints Parish is merging with St. John Cantius Parish, effective July 1, as part of a consolidation planned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The resulting St. John Cantius Parish will be led by the Rev. Thomas Nasta, currently pastor at a church in Stowe, Pa.
Pyott is optimistic that the Society will land on its feet, but she said the group has been looking for a potential new space to set up shop.
Depending on how the transition proceeds, there have been talks about shifting all the community groups to St. John Cantius Church.
“The plan, in general, has all the organizations now working out of All Saints to migrate to St John’s,” said the Rev. William E. Grogan in an email. “The details will be worked out over the summer.”
Space at All Saints Parish is also used by Troop 120 Cub and Boy Scout, Bridesburg Town Watch, and All Saints Senior Citizens — which, despite the name, is not actually associated with All Saints.
But there’s no guarantee that the Historical Society’s collection could be stored at John Cantius. They also require a meeting place that is handicapped and elder-accessible.
“It’s a very sad situation for us, since we were also kicked out of our last place by Dow Chemical,” Pyott said of the Society’s former home at the Brill Street Guard House.
The Society, which Pyott said was founded in 1989, will turn 25 next year.
Pyott is optimistic that a solution will emerge, she said. She even mentioned the potential museum of River Wards artifacts — efforts have been launched to build what’s being called The Penn Treaty Educational Institute — as something that could possibly benefit the historical society.
“We will still have meetings, there’s no doubt about that — it’s just a matter of where.” ••