Cocalico Corner: A Reinholds sort of Saturday

By on July 29, 2015

If you live in Reinholds and get bored this coming Saturday, well, it’s your own fault.
The little community that lies within the boundaries of West Cocalico Township will be the site of two rather sizeable events on Saturday — the annual Trinity Chapel Craft Festival and the Reinholds Fire Company 100th Anniversary Parade and Ceremony.

Photo by Stan Hall Members of the Reinholds Fire Company stand proudly by the sign advertising the 100th anniversary parade of the company starting at noon Saturday.  From left: John Reich, Scott Moyer, Elijah York, Rick Hall, and Dwight Walters.

Photo by Stan Hall
Members of the Reinholds Fire Company stand proudly by the sign advertising the 100th anniversary parade of the company starting at noon Saturday. 

The crafts festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the parade kicks off at noon from the Reinholds VFW on Brunners Grove Road and ends up at the Reinholds Fireman’s Grounds with a ceremony and free food for everyone.
What these two events do is not just provide some relaxation and fun at the start of the weekend — they exemplify the ties that bind communities like Reinholds from generation to generation.
As a Berks Countian, I can’t say Reinholds was ever on the front-burner for me, though the name rang familiar. From first grade on, one of my good friends was Jonathan Reinhold, now a well-known vocalist, teacher, and theatrical entrepreneur who resides just over the county line in the Wernersville area. When I first became cognizant of Reinholds as a youngster, I thought: “How cool! Jonathan has a town named after him!”
Truth be told, I can’t tell you if Jonathan is indeed tied more than nominally to Reinholds. But I can tell you that I think the closeness of neighbors and the traditions of places like Reinholds are becoming increasingly rare in America these days.
Factually, there is likely a reason the community is so tight. Though there are no specific population statistics for Reinholds, if you check out Census.org, you can get some fairly recent information about surrounding West Cocalico.
When the decennial census was taken in April 2010, there were 7,280 people living in West Cocalico. By July 2013 (the most recent date for available numbers), the Census Bureau said there were 7,358 township residents, an increase of just 1.1 percent.
Indeed it does seem no one is rushing to settle here. In the past two years, no new home building permits were pulled for the Reinholds area, according to township officials.
I’ve covered West Cocalico for about a year and a half now, and it’s clear to me township supervisors aren’t interested in a lot of development.
And, based on the newest Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan, the supervisors are doing exactly what they ought. East Cocalico Township, with heavily commercial Routes 272 and 222 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike cutting through it, is indeed where both commercial and residential growth is recommended and occurring.
And that brings us back to Reinholds. Though intersected a bit by the less-trafficked Route 897, Reinholds still remains a sleepy sort of place. Passersby can see folks still whiling away summer evenings on their front porches. Folks can walk down to the old hotel by the railroad tracks for a snack or drink without fear.
According to the Ellis and Evans circa 1883 “History of Lancaster County Pennsylvania,” that old hotel, now known as the Reinholds Inn, was originally named “Reinholds Station” after its founder Colonel Jesse Reinhold. He built a large, well-appointed hotel around 1864, shortly after the Reading Columbia Railroad Co. opened its line for business.
Banking on the rising popularity of the South Mountain resorts in the post-Civil War years, Reinhold was able to lure some of the vacationing Philadelphians to his hotel. Reinhold died in 1875, but the name stuck.
The Reinholds chapel, at 114 E. Main St., was built in 1898 as a Sunday School chapel in the late Gothic Revival style. In 1987, the first efforts were started to preserve it; by 1990, it found a slot on the National Register of Historic Places.
The preservation committe sponsors the festival which showcases regional crafts and food with proceeds going to chapel maintenance.
The centennial of the Reinholds Fire Company is justifiably a proud time for the current volunteers who carry on a noble and essential service for the village and township. No doubt, some of the names of the individuals serving now would be familiar to those folks who founded the fire company in 1915.
Though we are clearly in the heat of summer, Saturday looks to provide a bit of relief at least from the oppressive humidity. And, we all know, having fun and fellowship with friends and family makes us all feel lighter.
And, if you’re the spiritual type, you might want to participate in one more upcoming event: On Thursday evening, Aug. 6, beginning at 6:30 p.m., the members of Swamp Lutheran Fellowship will join with folks from other churches for a prayer walk. They’ll start out at Chapel View Drive, continue down Route 897 to Galen Hall Road, and then to Swamp Church Road, ending at the church.
Organizers say they will be praying for the community and the country.
I’m no expert, but from what I see, I think the country certainly could use those prayers. I also believe the nation would be a bit better off if it had more communities like Reinholds.

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