Valley Forge Chapter History Project

Valley Forge Chapter Through The Years

Celebrating 40 Years of Good Gardening & Good Friends

Valley Forge Chapter Founding Members, March 1, 1967

Amenda, Mrs. Ruth
Perkiomenville, Pa.

Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard
Perkiomenville, Pa.

Ansell, Mr. and Mrs. Edward
Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Bagoly, Lewis and Emily
Phoenixville, Pa.

Bieberfeld, Herbert, M
Harleysville, Pa.

Bussell, G, Ralph
Phoenixville, Pa.

Davis, Lewis W.
Warminster, Pa.

Herbert, Mr.& Mrs. Charles (Ethel)
Phoenixville, Pa.
     Huber, Robert R.
Deer Run Nursery
Salford, Pa. 18957

Kern, Mr. & Mrs. Walter (Elaine)
Woodlyn, Pa.

Keyser, Bruce G
Philadelphia, Pa.

Krebs, Oscar F
Norristown, Pa.

Reese, Dr. Whildin A. Nursery
Pennsburg, Pa.

Richman, Earl
Warminster, Pa.

Ritschard, George
Valley Forge, Pa.

Saddington, Jay
Warminster, Pa.

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Valley Forge Associate Founding Members:

Beury, Mr. and Mrs. James (assoc)
Margate, NJ

Chambers, Mrs. W.E. (assoc)
Merion Sta., Pa.

Clause, Charles W. (assoc)
Newtown Square, Pa.

Davis, Ross B. Jr. (assoc)
Wayne, Pa.

Jackson, H. Gordon (assoc)
Jenkintown, Pa.
     Kelius, Betsi (assoc)
Levittown, Pa.

Reed, Mr. and Mrs. Emerson A (assoc)
Media, Pa.

Sholomskas, Francis J (assoc)
Norristown, Pa.

Tietjens, Max (Marie) (assoc)
Blue Bell, Pa.

West, Franklin H. M.D (assoc)
Gladwyne, Pa.

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Valley Forge Chapter New Members - 1967-1972

April 1968

Royer, Jr. C. R
Doylestown, Pa.

July 1968

Way, John, W.
West Chester, Pa.

Rachinsky, Michael R
Conshohocken, Pa.

April 1969

Mitsch, Frank
Jarrettown, Pa.

July 1970

Rosewarne, Charles
Pottstown, Pa.

Seeburger, Mrs. Rhoda
Berwyn, Pa.

Thorn, John
Berwyn, Pa.

Jan 1971

Cordy, E. W
Halifax, Pa.

Spotts, R. L
Coatesville, Pa.

July 1971

Rahn, Mr. & Mrs. Clarence (Evelyn)
Douglasville, Pa.

Siegel, Mr. & Mrs. William
Norristown, Pa.

October 1971

Dougherty, John
Philadelphia, Pa.

Moll, Wilford P.
Norristown, Pa.

January 1972

Icelow, Mr. & Mrs. R. J.
Reading, Pa.

Schuetz, Thomas J.
Mechanicsburg, Pa.

April 1972

August's Rhododendron Nursery
Boiling Springs, Pa.

Fisher, Mr. & Mrs. A. W.
Bluebell, Pa.

Wise ,Glenn E.
Boiling Springs Pa

Wolf, Richard P.
Media, Pa.

July 1972

Brock, Charles N .II
Newtown Square, Pa.

Clifford, Thomas A
Pottstown, Pa.

Habecker, Charles N
Lansdale, Pa.

Henning, Mr. & Mrs. Steve M (Darlene)
Fleetwood, Pa.

High, Mr. & Mrs. Lester J (Carol)
Pottstown, Pa.

Raab, Enid F.
Elkins Park, Pa.

Somerville, Mr. & Mrs. E
Washington, VW.

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Valley Forge Chapter -- The First 5 Years

March 1967 The Valley Forge chapter comes in with 16 members and 10 associate members, that is members of other chapters who desire to be affiliated with the new group also. The officers are: Pres Charles W. Herbert, Phoenixville Pa,.; Vice Pres- Oscar F. Krebs, Norristown, Pa., and Sec-Treas.; Mrs. Ruth Amenda, Perkiomenville, Pa.
ARS President Edward B. Dunn welcomes Valley Forge Chapter at the annual meeting in Asheville, NC.
July 1970 Lewis Bagoly new President from Herbert
Jan 1971 ARS CONVENTION --- In Philly in May, Valley Forge and Princeton co-sponsor. Herbert's garden is on tour.
July 1971 New president Robert Huber --
Charles Herbert received the Bronze medal from ARS President Carl Phetteplace at annual Philly Meeting from Philadelphia Chapter.
Jan 1972
First Annual Banquet, Nov 5, 1971

Having an enthusiastic membership and a healthy treasury as the result of several successful spring plant sales, the officers, and directors concluded that the chapter should hold it's first annual banquet and program. The colonial era Seven Stars Inn was chosen as the site. At seven o'clock pres Bob Huber welcomed the members and the guests. The invocation was read by Mr. Herbert. After an excellent dinner Dr. West introduced the principal speaker of the evening, Mr. Robert D. McDonald, the director of the John .J. Tyler Arboretum. Mr. McDonald is also the director of the Plant Records center of the American Horticultural Society.
Mr. McDonald's presentation -------
Lew Bagoly presented framed and newly mounted to Mr. Charles Herbert his Bronze Medal Citation. Table decorations of chrysanthemums, and several hundred rhododendrons were distributed as door prizes. An informal decision to return next year was met with approval.

April 1972 Philadelphia and Valley Forge Chapters to establish display and test garden at Tyler. Area about one fourth planted, by springtime over one hundred plants.

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Charles Herbert

Charlie Herbert, a founder of the Philadelphia and
Valley Forge Chapters, received the Bronze Medal

Charlie and Ethel joined the ARS in 1952. In 1952 there were no local chapters. Charlie helped found the Philadelphia Chapter in 1957 and was the second president of the Philadelphia Chapter.. In 1967, The Philadelphia members living in the Valley Forge area didn't want to travel to meetings in Philadelphia at 325 Walnut St., the Penn Hort Bldg. So on March 1, 1967, Charlie started the Valley Forge Chapter and was its first president. There was some disappointment in the Philadelphia chapter because many of the Philadelphia members went with Charlie to Valley Forge. But this was soon overlooked and the Philadelphia Chapter recognized Charlie with the Bronze Medal on May 14, 1971. The two chapters work together on many things still to this day. [from information from Ted Stecki and Laura Grant]

Philadelphia Chapter Bronze Medal Citation


Dr. Carl Phetteplace (right) presents the ARS Bronze Medal to Charlie Herbert at the 1971 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia

WHEREAS, you possess a great enthusiasm and an extensive knowledge of the genus Rhododendron and have used these attributes to the benefit of the genus in a number of ways, to wit; the collection of many valuable species and hybrids, the dissemination of plants, cuttings, pollen and seed nationally as well as locally:

WHEREAS, you have had a vast influence on many other people in relation to the genus in numerous ways, to wit; you have kindled their interest in using the genus in their landscapes, you have inspired them to great productive efforts and provided counsel and facilities for their work, you have accumulated your own excellent color slides and have not only used these in many presentations but have made them available for others, you have willingly shared your great storehouse of knowledge of the genus:

WHEREAS, you have demonstrated your interest in the society in several ways, to wit; by being a charter member and a past president of two chapters and by providing the present meeting place for one;

BE IT THEREFORE KNOWN that the Philadelphia Chapter hereby confers upon you, Charles Herbert, the Bronze Medal Award of the American Rhododendron Society on this fourteenth day of May, 1971. [ from the January 1972 ARS Quarterly]

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Charles Herbert — Feb. 12, 1901 to Nov. 26, 1978

by Lew Bagoly, Valley Forge, PA.

On November 26, 1978 the American Rhododendron Society lost a uniquely dynamic force, and those of us privileged to know him, an irreplaceable friend. Charlie Herbert died at the age of seventy-seven.

Charlie started what was to become a life long affair with rhododendrons back in 1925. As the story goes, he chanced to see a child with some beautiful flowers unfamiliar to him. Never one to wonder about things without positive action, he soon discovered the source of the blossoms. It turned out to be a rhododendron, and the love affair was on.

In the ensuing years Charlie searched for the meager information then available on rhododendrons. Sought out fellow enthusiasts, located sources of plant material and started gathering plants. The collection grew slowly at first. The Depression interfered, and there really was little available other than the Eastern species and a few English hybrids. In 1945 his activities brought him into contact with Joe Gable. The two men became lasting friends and through this association Charlie's interests were expanded to include raising of plants from seed and hybridizing. In 1961 he and his wife Ethel moved, what was by now, an extensive collection to ''Stony Acres", a wooded hillside at the edge of Valley Forge. There, through Charlie's untiring efforts and loving care, the garden developed into its present form.

Stony Acres certainly mirrors the nature of the man who created it. It is natural, unpretentious, and reflects his intense dedication in the great variety of its contents. The more than 7,000 plants represent perhaps the most comprehensive collection of rhododendrons suitable for growing on the East Coast.

Charlie was a mover, a doer, and was active to the end as all of us close to him knew he had to be. He was a founder and charter member of the Philadelphia Chapter; he was the founder and, until his death, the cornerstone of the Valley Forge Chapter. Charlie made things happen — plant sales, banquets, a local seed exchange, picnics, bus trips, cutting exchange, test gardens, truss shows, and study groups. Among his many hybrid creations are over twenty registered clones including Schuylkill, French Creek, Ethel M., Beechwood Pink, Pikeland, Powder Mill Run, Aldham, Antigua, Leon Rind and others. Through his great generosity, many of these have found their way into the gardens of friends and acquaintances.

He was unstinting in sharing his knowledge, plant material, cuttings, seedlings, and above all, his infectious enthusiasm.

The foregoing is a brief objective summary of one man's dedication to an ideal. I would like to close with a subjective reflection on a personal loss.

Good-by my friend, God be with you
As you pass through life's final door.
I am the richer for having known you
The world more beautiful than before.

[ from the Spring 1979 ARS Quarterly]

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Membership at 10th Anniversary in 1977

Valley Forge Chapter ARS Members
Angino, Richard, Harrisburg
Arnold, Kenneth, Oaklyn, NJ
Bagoly, Lewis, Strafford
Barbye, Mr.&Mrs. Werner, Woodlyn
Beck, Richard, Mechanicsburg
Beissel, Larry, Leesport
Billerbeck, W.J., Waynesboro
Blackwell, D&M John, Kennett Sq.
Bliss, Mr.&Mrs. William, Camphill
Brand, Robert, Darlington, MD
Brouse, Frank, Norristown
Brown, Lawrence, Doylestown
Burnett, Warren, Lima
Buzzard, Carl, Phoenixville
Caire, Jack, Blackwood, NJ
Clark, Mr.&Mrs. John, Villanova
Clause, Mr.&Mrs. Charles, Newtown Sq.
Clifford, Thomas, Pottstown
Cook, Mr.&Mrs. Edwin, Willow Street
Cooper, Charles, Penfield
Cordy, E.W., Halifax
Curley, Mr.&Mrs. Albert, Wayne
Curry, Dr. S.O., Camp Hill
Daller, Mr.&Mrs. Morton, Glenside
Davis, Mr.&Mrs. Ross, Wayne
Deckman, Donald, Mechanicsburg
DePrisco, Carmine, Glen Mills
Dogwood Hill Nursery, Sunbury
Eberl, James, Moylan
Fager, D&M Charles, Camp Hill
Felton, Mrs. Paul, Audubon
Fisher, Mr.&Mrs. Arthur, Bluebell
Forrey, Ralph, Mechanicsburg
Foster, Dr. J.V., Harrisburg
Frederick, Mr.&Mrs. Glenn, Landenberg
Frederick, Mrs. Halsey, Bryn Mawr
Friend, Paul, Swarthmore
Fry, Dr. Robinson, Allentown
Gaugler, Dr. George, Hatfield
Gordon, Mathew, Chester Springs
Haas, Herman, Harrisburg
Habecker, Charles, Lansdale
Hartman, Henry, Halifax
Hendricks, Elaine, Phoenixville
Henning, Mr.&Mrs. Stephen, Fleetwood
Herbert, Mr.&Mrs. Charles, Phoenixville
Hersch, William, Mechanicsburg
High, Mr.&Mrs. Lester, Pottstown
Hill, John, Unionville
Hoffman, Mr.&Mrs. Edwin, Wayne
Huber, Robert, Salford
Hummel, Robert, Reinholds
Jackson, Mr.&Mrs. Noel, King of Prussia
Jocelyn, Rodney, Ottsville
Keenan, Kevin, Huntington Valley
Keyser, Bruce, Revere
Kline, Howard, Leesport
Knowlton, Richard, Paoli
Kolvek, Mr.&Mrs. Michael, Stowe
Mannion, Donald, Spring City
Maust, Russell, Berwyn
Mead, Gib, Broomall
Merker, Mr.&Mrs. George, Broomall
Neiberber, Robert, Frackville
Norton, Wayne, Dresher
Olson, Hilding, Mohnton
Onn, David, Neward, DE
Partain, Lloyd, Pottstown
Patton, George, Philadelphia
Pearson MD, James, Wynnewood
Peters, Robert, Bendersville
Raflowski, Frank, Collegeville
Rahn, Mr.&Mrs. Clarence, Douglassville
Raughley, Francis, Wilmington, NJ
Reese, Dr. Whildin, Pennsburg
Repash, Leonard, Hellertown
Rhein DDS, William, Mechanicsburg
Richman, Earl, Warminster
Ritschard, George, Valley Forge
Roback, Mrs. Helen, King of Prussia
Rochford, Mr.&Mrs. F.J., Lancaster
Romano, Mr.&Mrs. Peter, Blue Bell
Rosewarne, Mrs. Charles, Pottstown
Russell, Paul, Newtown Square
Saddington, Jay, Warminster
Schuetz, Thomas, Mechanicsburg
Schultz, Richard, Macungie
Schumacker, Dr.&Mrs. Ralph, King of Prussia
Shiffert, Kenneth, York
Siegel, Mr.&Mrs. William, Norristown
Spotts, Ricke, Hershey
Suggs, Albert, Villanova
Swan, John, West Chester
Thayer, John. Exton
Thomforde, Harold, Kennett Square
Thompson, Mr.&Mrs. Rodman, Berwyn
Tollen, Pamela, Swarthmore
Topp, John, Honey Brook
Urfer, Betsy, Ambler
VanArsdall, Dr.&Mrs. Robert, Villanova
Varnell, Mr.&Mrs. Orville, Elverson
Walters, Mr.&Mrs. Ralph, Perkiomenville
Ward, Mr.&Mrs. William, Wayne
Waterloo Gardens, Devon
Way, Johm, Cochranville
Weir, Mr.&Mrs. George, Swarthmore
Whitten, Mr.&Mrs. James, Berwyn
Winn, Mr.&Mrs. Richard, Pottstown
Winter MD, Fred, Pottstown
Wise, Glenn, Boiling Springs
Wismer, Russell, Norristown
Wolff, Richard, Media
Young, Howard, Chadds Ford
Ziegler, Clarence, Devon
Valley Forge Chapter ARS Associate Members
Becales,Joseph, Phila Chapter
Bernardy, Karel, Princeton Chapter
Collins, MR.&MRS. Edward, Phila. Chapter
Kern, MR.&MRS. Walter, Phila. Chapter
Kunze, Frank, Phila. Chapter
Layman, MR.&MRS. Dan, Phila, Chapter
Livingston, Philip, Phila Chapter
Minyon, Anthony, Phila. Chapter
Muller, MR.&MRS. George, Phila. Chapter
Reed, Emerson, Phila. Chapter
Sholomskas, Mrs. Francis, Phila. Chapter
Smith, Wilburn, Phila. Chapter
Stecki, Theodore, Phila. Chapter
Swiss Pines, Phila. Chapter
Tietjens, MR.&MRS. Max, Phila. Chapter
Tyler Arboretum, Phila. Chapter
West MD, Franklin, Phila. Chapter
Wister, John, Phila. Chapter
From March 1978 ARS Directory

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Thank you to Sonja Nelson and the American Rhododendron Society for permission to use information from ARS Quarterly Bulletins.

Thank you to Laura Grant for researching the original records of the club in ARS archives.

Thank you to Tadeusz Dauksza for searching his archives of ARS bulletins for early information on the Valley Forge chapter and its founders.

Thank you to Eva Jackson for contributing information from the Valley Forge newsletter.

Thank you to Ted Stecki and Karel Bernady for contributing information on Charlie Herbert and the early years of the Valley Forge Chapter.

Thank you to Win Howe for contributing the list of Bronze Medal recipients and flower show records.

Thank you to Joan Warren for contributing the report of the Rhododendron Study Group and information on Chapter members.

Thank you to Helene Huber who drew the botanic sketches over the years.

Thank you to Bud Gehnrich, Dr. R. Gustafson, Randell Jesup, Sally Perkins, Jim Willhite, & Steve Henning for contributing pictures.

Thank you to Dr. Homer E. Salley and Harold Greer for compiling the pedigree of the hybrids made by the Valley Forge founders.

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