New acquisition: Macinskas home movies

Written by Forrest Moyer on August 7, 2018

Recently a set of local home movies by Peter Macinskas (1922-1969) was donated to the MHC by his son Dean Macinskas. The movies, mostly short clips (see examples below), provide an exceptional window into Vernfield and Lower Salford Township during the 1950s, especially his wife’s Price family and the Indian Creek Church of the Brethren.

Peter was the third generation of a Catholic family that immigrated to eastern Pennsylvania from Lithuania. He was born in 1922 and served in the 20th Combat Squadron during World War II. He was a professional photographer and recorded many scenes in the Harleysville area. In 1948 he married Sara Price who was the last child born on the Price homestead along the Indian Creek in Vernfield. After marriage, Peter and Sara were active members of Indian Creek Church of the Brethren while he pursued his career in photography and a hobby in railroading. Peter died in 1969 and is buried in the Indian Creek Cemetery.

The MHC also holds a collection of slides taken by Macinskas, including a number from his time in the military. Many of the slides show local scenes.

In this first clip, Elder Joe Moyer of Indian Creek Church of the Brethren baptizes an unidentified man in the Indian Creek (or Branch Creek) at Vernfield. We see older members of the congregation arriving for the ceremony. It must have been an unusual time, such as a weekday, because normally more candidates would be baptized, and most of the congregation would be present. This footage documents the traditional trine forward immersion practiced by the Brethren, and the kiss of peace received by the new member from Elder Moyer and Deacon Lincoln Nyce.

Another clip, titled “Off to see Grammy”, finds the Macinskas family walking from their home in Vernfield to visit grandparents Jacob & Amanda Cassel Price at their home on the corner of Routes 63 and 113, above Harleysville. Jake & Amanda wear the traditional garb of the Church of the Brethren.

This clip finds Sara and Dean Macinskas walking on the unfinished Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike where it passes under Route 113 in Franconia Township. As you see, the turnpike–though officially off limits as a construction zone–was also used by bikers.

Finally, a clip showing the Perkiomenville Sale in the 1950s, including an “Indian medicine man” show and Clarence Kulp Sr. of Vernfield selling produce. Obviously a popular place in summer months.

Other topics of interest include:
-Price family gatherings, 1955 and 1956
-Vernfield Easter egg hunt
-Around home and Macinskas family
-“Grandpop’s surprise party” (Jacob Price)
-Souderton Diamond Jubilee, 1962
-Harleysville swimming pool
-Cub Scout events
-Autumn scenes and other artistic clips
-Local barn fire
-Blizzards (Harleysville and local scenes, in grayscale and color)
-Green Lane Park and Reservoir (in grayscale and color)
-Valley Forge National Park
-Camp Swatara, 1950s
-Elizabethtown, PA
-Haybaling in central PA
-railroad, trolley and airplane footage (Allentown, Toronto, etc.)
-unidentified zoo

Thanks to Gene Wampler of Indian Creek Church of the Brethren for transferring these movies to digital.