National Geographic : 1952 Oct
516 Clifford R. Yeich A Lehigh County Artist Letters a House Blessing for a Neighbor Decorative certificates, as well as house blessings, are displayed in many Pennsylvania homes. William P. Shoemaker is a specialist in this form of art. Here he writes, "Thou Shalt Love God, Thy Master." the days of the rough-and-tumble Conestoga wagoners. When they met on a narrow road, the language was censorable, but even time hasn't taken away the flavor of such phrases as "I'll be there with bells on." I had thought the reference was to such bells as those of a court jester. But in the Dutch country they insist that it refers to the bells which decorated the wagon harness and made music on the long, tough road. If a wagoner got stuck and had to accept a pull out of the mud, according to custom he had to forfeit his bells to the rescuer. Arriving with bells intact meant that there had been no trouble on the trip. How "Stogies" Got Their Name Even the long thin cigars known as "stogies" got their name because the Conestoga drivers smoked them. With the Pennsylvania Turnpike reaching out at both ends and streams of cars follow ing one another at a legal rate of 70 miles an hour, the elapsed time in travel from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh has been cut from 20 days to half a day! In 1794 the Lancaster-Philadelphia road, built without labor-saving machinery, cost $7,500 a mile. On the modern turnpike, $7,500 worth of highway wouldn't give a 70 mile-an-hour motorist room to stop. Specimens of the finest of colonial weap ons, the Lancaster rifle, were on display. Later this firearm became famous as the "Kentucky" rifle, but it was first made in Lancaster County. Earlier rifles took too long to load, but in the Lancaster the bullet was wrapped in a patch of cloth or leather which filled the bar rel more closely with less friction and enabled the gunner to push the ball home with a light wand instead of ramming it tight. The patch box in the time-polished stock was a work of art as well as utility. The Conestoga wagon and the Lancaster rifle were centers of interest throughout the festival. After four days, during which the normal population of Kutztown was increased twenty times, the last to leave bumped across a hard packed waste, close-petaled with flattened paper cups and bright-red menu cards. Even Pennsylvania Dutch neatness could not with stand a folk festival in full cry.