To COLLECT, PRESERVE and TEACH the history of our great town and the surrounding area. Middletown Borugh founded in 1755 is the oldest town in Dauphin County.
The Middletown Area Historical Society of Dauphin County, is a 501 (c) 3, non profit and is made up of 100% volunteer Trustees and staff. Our organization consists of our Board of Trustees, Robin Pellegrini, Jenny Miller, Augie Spadone, Gary Barkley and Bob Hauser. Our Museum is possible because of our awesome volunteers that work tireless hours with the Trustees to make it all happen. Please consider joining the society or volunteering to help with one of our events or at our museum. Any and all donations we receive are greatly appreciated and allow us to continue our mission.
The Swatara Ferry House, also known as "Old Fort," located on South Union St, is a historic home located at Middletown Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. It is a 1 1/2-story log building with a full stone foundation and cellar, built in two sections, each section having a separate entrance, chimney, and a basically German floor plan. It is believed to date to about 1820. The architectural significance of this building is all the more impressive because it represents a type of structure that has not survived in any great numbers in the state. The Swatara Ferry House is the sole known survivor in Dauphin County. The Ferry House served as a Ferry House for ferry traffic on the Swatara Creek on their way to, or from, the Susquehanna River. The Ferry House was acquired by the Middletown Area Historical Society on January 2, 1981 for $3,200. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 27, 1976. Visit the Middletown Area Historical Society Museum for more information about this historic structure.
Swatara Ferry House
The cornerstone on the left front side of this building is lettered "LIBERTY BAND - 1916". The Liberty Band had a reputation for good music and always gained attention for their harmony and attractive appearance. They also had the proud distinction of owning a band hall. The Liberty Band Hall is located next o the Swatara Ferry House or "Old Fort" on South Union Street in Middletown, PA 17057. The band hall was originally the Salem Luthern Church of Oberlin, Pennsylvania. It is not known how the Liberty Band acquired the building, or the purchase price. It is known that the present Salem Luthern Church was dedicated January 19, 1913. Somewhere between 1913 and 1916 the building was moved to its present location. To find out more about this historic building and the Liberty band, visit the Middletown Area Historical Society Museum at 29 E Main St Middletown, PA.
The "Grosh House" is a 2 1/2 story structure of log and frame construction. It is so-named the Grosh House after the last private owner, Dr Thomas B. Grosh III, who had a dental practice in it from 1983 to 2013 when he retired. The lot #81 shows on a Deed of George Fisher's dated March 1761 and indicates that a log structure was built on this lot around 1755 by a Jonas Metzger. Mr. Fishers books show payments on this property up to 1776, the property is re-entered in the books in 1782. From 1776 to 1782 the records show the property as vacant, which makes sense as it was the time of the Revolutionary War.
The log structure was partially replaced with a frame structure in 1800. Through the years many renovations were done. In the main room downstairs you can see cuts in the floor where corner fireplaces were located, an opening on either side of a dividing wall. There was a central flue, with the chimney breastwork supporting a floating "summer beam" that ran across the ceiling. The ceiling framing that skirted both fireplaces is still in place but the fireplaces had long since been removed. It could have been a boarding house at sometime as dividers formed additional rooms upstairs.
The Grosh's did extensive renovation work and kept everything as original as possible. The original wooden ceilings still exist in most of the rooms as well as the wooden boards of the floors.
In October 2013, two trustees of the Middletown Area Historical Society went to the public auction of the home and negotiated the purchase price of $90,000 from the Grosh's to us as their museum and display society artifacts. Visit the Museum to find out more and view the "Grosh House"