HARRISBURG (March 16, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced that eight cultural and historic organizations in Chester County were awarded more than $67,000 in state funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

“The preservation of our local history, culture, and heritage is as central to our Chester County values as the very land itself,” Dinniman said. “These grants will continue to support the ongoing effort to ensure that our past is preserved for the next generation as we work together to prepare them for the future.”

The funding comes through the PHMC Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program, which provides support for resources and operating expenses to museum and historical organizations according to a formula based on their size and operating budgets.

Seven organizations in Chester County were awarded the grants. They are as follows:

These grants were approved at the March 16 meeting of the PHMC, of which Dinniman is a member.

In addition, at the same meeting, the PHMC approved two new historical markers in Chester County. They are as follows:

  • Isaac and Dinah Mendenhall (1806-1882), (1807-1889) in Chadds Ford. The Mendenhalls were Quaker abolitionists who were active in the Underground Railroad, collaborating with Thomas Garrett and Harriet Tubman. Their home, Oakdale on Hillendale Road, was the first stop north of the Delaware line on the Underground Railroad, often providing temporary shelter for fugitive southern slaves on their journey north. The Mendenhalls were charter members of the Longwood Progressive Meeting, which broke from the more traditional Kennett Meeting in 1853 due to their anti-slavery activism. The meeting hosted national abolitionist speakers such as Sojourner Truth and William Lloyd Garrison. Dinah was part of a delegation that met with President Lincoln to advocate for the abolition of slavery just 6 months before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.


  • Sunset Park in Penn Township. Sunset Park was a country and bluegrass music venue that operated for more than 50 years. Some of the biggest names in business played here and it became one of the premier venues outside of Nashville. The 1940s saw an influx of southerners to northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. This type of venue not only gave them a taste of home but also helped spread the popularity of this type of music nationwide. Bluegrass icon Ola Bella Reed was a member of the Sunset Park house band that played there for more than 20 years.

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