Day 9: April 28, 2012
Sweet & Colorful History
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The Bethlehem Diner is across the street from my motel so I walked over there for breakfast. Last winter, I mentioned fried mush (which Bob Evans has apparently restored system wide) in an otherwise completely unrelated blog post and that led to a brief discussion of goetta and scrapple. I wasn't quite sure whether or not I had ever tried scrapple. When I saw it on the menu, I had to order it and, when I saw it on the plate, I was pretty sure this was our first meeting. Rather good stuff. Similar to both fried mush and goetta only different.

The Moravian Book Store identifies itself as the oldest in the world. It has moved a few times but its beginning in 1745 makes it pretty darned old. Today it looks much like any quality book store although I did see what I think was a coal fired Nook in the back.

There's more old stuff around the corner. The 1803 Central Moravian Church building is relatively new. Next to it, the Gemein Haus, dates from 1741. I failed to get a picture of the whole building and only have the shot of the plaque. It currently houses a Moravian museum where I enjoyed a quite interesting no-photos-allowed tour. The Bell House, where married couples lived, is next and the last picture is of the Brethren's House (for single men) across the street.

I arrived at the reconstructed blacksmith shop a few minutes before a scheduled tour of the industrial section. I signed on and turned out to be alone in doing that. The Moravians were quite industrious and built a self supporting community in the wilderness. Industries were lined up along Monocacy Creek which provided power. The pictured buildings, all original, are the tannery, the miller's house, and the water works. Virtually everything was owned by the church so that miller must have been very good or very persuasive to get a house in a world where most people lived in dormitory style buildings. Fragments of other original buildings, such as the dye house, remain and there are other reconstructed buildings like the blacksmith shop. The water works has reconstructed innards. The oldest municipal pumping system in the world began operation in 1754. An undershot wheel was turned by the Monocacy to power pumps drawing water from a spring. At the end of the tour, Allison, my personal guide, graciously agreed to a photo by the blacksmith shop.

Confession: The first two pictures are seriously out of sequence. I was in the parking lot of the Just Born candy company when I noticed that the Moravian Book Store was not far away. The store was on my to-do list so I headed over to the store which led to the museum and walking tour. Just Born is the maker of Peeps. Somewhere in that sequence I received a message from a friend (who I'll be hooking up with Sunday) about a Peeps display in the Sigal Museum. The museum has some very nice exhibits on local an regional history which I enjoyed but was not permitted to photograph. I asked specifically about the Peeps display and was told that photos there would be OK. I've combined photos from my earlier stop at Just Born with those from the museum.

The Just Born lobby was closed today but there are no public tours in any case. The PEEPSter was inside a chain-link fence and the "too close" picture was taken through a gap at the gate. My favorite display item was the 1954 eye applicator.

The Crayola Experience was just around the corner from the Sigal Museum. I've picked up the impression that you need to have a kid or two in tow to really enjoy the place and that certainly appeared to be the case with everyone there. I had previously decided I'd probably skip it and I followed through with that. However, I did get pictures of all the world's largest crayons I could find.

Dinner was at the Bethlehem Brew Works. The half empty glass beside my meal was once filled by a great tasting bock with a pretty dumb name, Carbru-ator. By tradition, all bock beer names must end in "ator" and coming up with good ones is no doubt getting tough. I tried a couple of other beers and was impressed with them, too.

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