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Chester County Press

Talking history at West Grove Friends Meeting House

11/01/2022 02:09PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Some people might say David Porter is “fired up over history” and he would agree. He started collecting bottles, then postcards and now has a museum in his house on Jarmon Road in Elkton, Md.

He has hundreds of bottles, an amazing collection of postcards, photographs, books, and whatever else captures the history he strives to preserve.

He moved from Florida to Elkton six years ago after working as a land surveyor for 30 years. It doesn’t take much to get Porter talking history, and he has been steadily building a fan club from talks all around the area. To him, history is important and he spends most of his free time preserving and talking about it. 

The New London Area Historical Society and Franklin Township Historical Commission invites the public to join them at 7 p.m. on Nov. 10 to hear Porter speak. Porter is a very active participant in the group. He is a long-time collector of Chester County memorabilia and has been collecting for 30 years. He will talk about his personal background including his connections to New London, and his love of history and collecting. He will share a selection of items from the New London and Kemblesville area, and will present a short history of each.

Then, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m., Porter will be speaking at West Grove Friends Meeting House at 153 E. Harmony Road in West Grove. The public is invited to hear a free talk on “Collecting and Preserving Local History.” Porter will be talking about his connection to the local area.  

He recently donated a large number of items to the Red Rose Museum in Penn Township. 

Porter explained, “I was very happy to work with Scott Steele in September on the Red Rose Rent Day in Jennersville. Steele was the curator for the Red Rose. I shipped some items to him. It was a wonderful day. Steele already has a museum in West Grove, but needs more room. I hope to help him with that, too. He is an amazing person.” 

He continued, “I think it is so important for people to preserve history. I look for pre-1900 in Chester County, but I seldom turn any historical item down. I buy old photos, stuff that has a minimal history and then I research. It is a shame that people throw away so much history. Family members don’t want to save photos, and historical items. It’s such a shame. I enjoy bringing history back to life. Along the way, I have connected people with a family history they weren’t even aware of. I often give people copies of photos of family and friends that they didn’t know existed. I have photos from reunions, graduations, special events, and more.”

Porter is always anxious to hear about historical collections and when he picks up items he gives total credit to whoever it came from. His research frequently uncovers some historical knowledge of their ancestors.

He is a member of The Chester County Historical Society and a member of The Tri-State Bottle and Diggers Club.

Porter purchases from everyone and is a frequent shopper on eBay. If you have historical items and would like to learn more about collecting, call Porter at 717-779-8324. 

His knowledge of history of the local area is phenomenal so don’t miss his talks. He also has quite a few connections to some pretty well-known historical figures. If you enjoy history, or just want to find out more about your community, attend one of David Porter’s upcoming talks.