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Posted on: March 22, 2023

Historic Trappe: Keeping History Alive in Upper Providence Township

Our History

Upper Providence Township is steeped in history going back to the early 1700s. Historic homes from the earliest settlements of German immigrants dot the landscape and are an important reminder of our colonial past. These treasures would have been lost to time were it not for the Historic Trappe organization, a nonprofit that dedicates its time to identifying, preserving and maintaining local history—including what is now Upper Providence and Lower Providence Townships as well as Trappe and Collegeville Boroughs. 

Township Supervisor, Laurie Higgins, worked closely with Historic Trappe’s executive director, Lisa Minardi, while surveying the Taylor Farm barn and house formerly on Upper Providence Township property. Laurie believes that preserving the historical structures and artifacts around Upper Providence Township is so important. Township residents are fortunate to have Historic Trappe as stewards of our township’s deep history. Recently, Upper Providence Township presented a check for $5,000 to Historic Trappe in recognition of their tireless efforts to preserve the area’s past.

Trappe, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1717 by German immigrant Jacob Schrack, Sr. who ran a tavern known as “The Trap.” The most famous early residents were Lutheran patriarch Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and his sons Peter and Frederick. Trappe was the earliest settlement of Providence Township (founded in 1729). In 1805 Providence Township separated into Upper Providence and Lower Providence Townships. Trappe and Collegeville Boroughs were then subdivided from Upper Providence Township and incorporated in 1895. 

Historic Trappe has three historic properties open for tours. The Center for Pennsylvania German Studies, located in the Dewees Tavern, has five exhibition galleries featuring a wide variety of furniture, fraktur, textiles, and other objects as well as a research library and archives. The Henry Muhlenberg House is a fully-furnished house museum interpreting the families of Lutheran pastor Henry Muhlenberg and his son General Peter Muhlenberg. The Speaker’s House, home of Frederick Muhlenberg, is an ongoing restoration project and the site of a Pennsylvania German kitchen garden with seasonal farm stand. Historic Trappe is also the owner of the Muhlenberg parsonage, built in 1745 and currently undergoing architectural investigations in preparation for restoration. 

Interested in learning more about Historic Trappe? Executive Director, Lisa Minardi, encourages residents and visitors alike to come for a visit, attend one of their many events or to support the organization by volunteering or donating. She noted upcoming events such as the popular Dinner on Main in July, a community dinner held in the middle of Main Street with food and drinks provided by local restaurants and breweries. 

Plan a visit to The Center for Pennsylvania German Studies, 301 Main Street, Trappe, PA. The Center is located inside the Dewees Tavern and is open on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. For a tour outside these times, contact to make an appointment. Enjoy five exhibition galleries filled with a wide variety of Pennsylvania German furniture, fraktur, textiles, pottery, and much more! The Henry Muhlenberg House will be reopening for weekend tours in May as well as by appointment. 

Attend one of Historic Trappe’s upcoming events:

Learn more about Historic Trappe by visiting their Facebook page or website

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