Historical society is cookin’ up a book

By on September 27, 2017
Cocalico Corner Donna Reed

If you know Elaine Bowman, you know she is always looking — and moving — forward. And sometimes she does that by looking backwards.

You could say that Elaine is cooking. Indeed she is. She’s cooking up a cookbook.

The hope is that the cookbook will be an ode of sorts to the Cocalico eateries of old — and to the cooks who created recipes treasured to this day.

The cookbook, to be published by the Cocalico Valley Historical Society, came out of a discussion of the organization’s ways and means committee.

The first thought was to center on current area establishments.

But Elaine steered the committee in another direction.

“I’m envisioning a cookbook that caters to the historical aspect of the area,” she said. “I think it would be interesting to see pictures of the hotels in their heydays — and maybe as it exists today — and by that picture, a great old recipe.”

Bowman, whose maternal Shirk family roots in Cocalico go back to the 18th Century, is very familiar with a lot of these old hotels including the former Black Horse in Reinholds, at Route 897 and Ridge Road and the former Murrell, once also known as the Greenville Inn, near what is now the intersection of Routes 222 and 322, as well as the Reinholds Inn at the railroad tracks.

The Black Horse Hotel was owned by the Lutz and Bowman families. Mamie Bowman Krick, an aunt by marriage to Elaine, was born in the Black Horse in the late 1800s and raised there.

It was three decades ago that Elaine came up with the idea of a cookbook to share with others in the family.

It was a simple endeavor entitled “Bowman Family Recipes from the Black Horse Hotel.” The purple mimeographed (remember that phraseology?!) pages are fading in her copy of the well-referenced booklet.

“I looked at that and that’s where I got the idea for this,” she said.

Elaine’s goal is a focused one: To reach out to the older (those in their eighties and beyond) members of the community.

“I know many remember the old hotels and I am hoping some (or their family members) have access to the recipes,” she said.

“We are not looking for contributors to be the direct descendants, but we do want those who have the memories.”

Along with the recipes, she is hoping to see vintage photos of the old Cocalico hotels. Some are in the historical society archives, while others, she believes, are likely residing in personal collections.

The recipes of the long-ago eateries must, she said, fall within the Cocalico Valley boundaries. That includes the municipalities of Adamstown, Akron, Ephrata, and Denver boroughs and East Cocalico, Clay, Ephrata, West Cocalico, and West Earl townships, and the portion of East Earl Township that abuts West Earl.

Again, she stressed the importance of showing buildings that still exist in their present and past forms.

“For example, we have the old Blainsport Hotel that is now multi-family apartments,” she said. “I would love a recipe from there. They served liquor and food in their time.”

Among the former and existing hotels on the committee’s initial recipe wish list:

Adamstown Borough — the Fountain Inn, the Lancaster County House, Redcay’s Tavern, Rohrer’s Tavern, and the American Hotel.

East Cocalico Township — Reamstown Hotel, Slater’s Restaurant, and two other old hotels, one out near Napierville and the other on North Reamstown Road across from what was Shober’s Meat Market.

Clay Township — The Mount Airy Hotel, now the Penguin, and the Clay Hotel, which then became Watney’s (now closed).

Ephrata Borough: The Lincoln House, Good’s Hotel, Smithton Inn, formerly Henry Miller Tavern; 1777 House, now the 1777 Americana Inn Bed and Breakfast with the Black Forest Brewery in the rear, Mountain Springs, the Mount Vernon House, the Union House, the Ephrata House, The Hotel Cocalico, the Eagle Hotel, Eitnier’s Hotel, and P.G. Wringer Public House.

Ephrata Township — Shreck’s across from the Green Dragon and the Hahnstown Tavern.

Akron Borough — Romig’s Hotel, now the parking lot at Weiser’s Store, and the Ufner House.

Denver Borough — The Denver House, the Washington House, now the Orioles Nest, and Windish’s Hotel.

West Cocalico Township — The Black Horse Hotel, the Blainsport Hotel, Reinholds Station Hotel, the Schoeneck Hotel, the Stevens Tavern, and the Cocalico Tavern at Route 897 and Cocalico Road.

West Earl Township —Brownstown Hotel, Carpenter’s Tavern, and the Brackbill Hotel.

“We’re looking for people who have information on additional hotels that we may not have on the list and the old recipes that go with them,” she said. “We believe that information will come to use through our most senior citizens.”

Those individuals interested in submitting information, photographs, recipes, or both, may do so by sending them to:

The Cocalico Valley Historical Society/Cookbook Project, 237 W. Main St., Ephrata, PA 17522 (Attention: Elaine Bowman).

Contributors may also e-mail submissions to Bowman at eb7243@dejazzd.com or call 717-336-5181 with any questions.

Bowman said the goal is to have the cookbook completed by September 2018 in time for that year’s holiday season.

To accomplish that, the deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2018.

Bowman believes that memories of elder family members may be stirred at holiday meals.

She hopes that those memories will be shared in the cookbook for the community to appreciate.

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