Acquisition No.: 2021-05
Title: Photograph; By Mr. Austin Neiderer.
Item History:

In the late 19th through the mid-20th Century, in and between most local towns, there existed picnic groves. The cleared woodlots offered cool shade for family reunions and social organization meets before the days of public swimming pools. Rental fees were nominal. Most groves had the added benefit his and hers outhouses which were located at opposite boundaries of the up kept area. An open air pavilion usually existed in case of inclement weather.

The day after rental, the areas were usually cleaned of trash and fallen leaves and readied for the next weekend's visitors.

For most of the first half of the twentieth Century Myers Grove existed on Hanover Street in Bonneauville. The very popular park was often rented most weekends in the summer. There were no streams at the grove. The woodlot was the apex of the water shed for Chicken Run, the largest of the small streams running through the town.

The subject photograph was not taken at Myers Grove in Bonneauville but, according to penciled cursive text on back; at one "Geiselman's Grove". The connection to Bonneauville is photographer Austin Neiderer, a longtime resident of the town.

Among Mr. Neiderer's many occupations was that of a photographer. He and his wife Mamie's names are mentioned often in this catalog file.

Other text on the back of the photo reads "Fourth of July", "Year 1911", "? families and friends"

The group of 36 individuals is eclectic. At least two have brought guns to the get-together as if perhaps, squirrel might be on the day's menu. More likely they were brought to fire a few shots in celebration of the Fourth. There appear to be no elderly in the group. The ratio of adults to children seems small. The ladies are all neatly dressed, wearing characteristic hair fashions of the day.

Of note is that the total number of children represented here in the foreground of about twenty adults, is fewer than the total that some individual Catholic families of Bonneauville bore and raised in the early to mid-Twentieth Century.

Geiselman's Grove picnic area was located three miles east of Myers Grove on the Hanover Road (Rt. 116). It is there that the South Branch of the Conewago Creek flows under Rt. 116. The grove was located on the east side of the creek. An earthen ramp that allowed buggies and automobiles access to the low-lying area still exists there. As of the writing of this article one 92 year old resident of Bonneauville still recalls the Geiselman’s Grove and the cooling waters of the South Branch that flowed by in the heat of summer.

For a trivial bit more information see Cat. No. 2021-06, p. 41, lines 3 & 4.

Photograph: Image  Image