You may have heard the term Lewin Plantation House in reference to the Spring-Ford Area Historical Society's Main Street dwelling. I can not tell you how the wording "plantation" ever related? (a bit of a stretch perhaps) What I can tell you however is that Lewin was not only the name of the man who built the house but a name that would have a lasting effect on the history of Royersford.
William Lewin, a wheelwright from Spring City, married a Royersford girl, Rebecca Custer, in 1851. In 1861 they built their home at 526 Main Street which was part of a 31 acre tract they had purchased from Rebecca's father the year before. Custer was a well known Royersford farmer whose land covered much of what is we now know as Royersford.
The Lewin's had a large family with nine children. The one most oftened remembered today is their oldest son, John Milton Lewin, who was involved in so many ventures and transactions it would be impossible to list all of them. I will mention some of his many accomplishments here.
John Milton started out as a cobbler in 1875 with his shop located right in front of the family house on Main Street. He later built a new store at 437 Main Street Royersford. He then became part owner of Rogers & Son two years later. Through a series of business trades and manipulations he became a major owner of Grander Stove Works by 1892 and was named treasurer of this business. John Milton Lewin also served as the Burgess of Royersford for a term.
J. Milton Lewin throughout his years was associated with many Royersford businesses, among them the Royersford Iron Foundry, of which he was president at the time of its sale to Floyd Wells & Company. He assisted to organize the Penn Glass Company, and was one of its board of directors. He was one of the founders of the Keystone Meter Company, and continued as a director until its reorganization. Mr. Lewin was treasurer of the original Enterprise Hosiery Company, of which he was one of the organizers. He with five other persons organized the Fernwood Cemetery Company. He was also a director of the Industrial Savings Bank, chartered March 21, 1902. Not only did he assist in the founding of that institution, but he was also very prominent in the organization of the two national banks, the Home National and the National Bank of Royersford.
In 1910 Chester Rogers married John Milton's sister, Emma Lewin, and at that time the name Lewin ceased to be associated with the property. Rogers was a butcher and had his business and cold storage cave right on the premises.
Chester Roger's daughter,Thelma (Rogers) Grebe lived in the house until she died in 1999, the same year the historical society purchased the property. From day one we restored the appropriate name of "Lewin" to the house that Willian & Rebecca built.
There are people living in the area today that are directly related to the Lewin family but very few that carry the surname of Lewin. Today, September 30, 2012, we were very honored to welcome Jim Lewin and his family who traveled from Colorado to visit our museum. Jim is a direct descendent in the Lewin Line. His great great grandfather was William Lewin. His great grandfather Samuel lived on the corner of 5th & Main Street in Royersford. The house number was 502.
Jim was accompanied by his wife Carol and their two daughters Suzanne and Kimberlie as well as two grandchildren Sara and Bryan. I went over to the museum that morning to give a tour and tell the Lewins some stories about our society. Jim, a remarkable man, who wears his love of life, his love of family and his faith right up front for all to see ended up being the story teller as he told us about his life and his close brush with death.
Jim lives out west. He served in the Air Force from 1962 to 1966 and was married the following year in 1967. They moved to Hawthorne California where he worked for Pacific Bell Telephone for a number of years. In 1974 he began working for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, a job he would do for over 26 years. In 1999 he retired and the family moved to Durango Colorado.
In November of 2008 Jim attended a Parade of Lights event. He was in a crosswalk pushing his 11 day old grand daughter when he got run over by a truck. He managed to push her out of harms way but he was dragged some 75 feet down the road after being run over. Jim had a long road to recovery and for those who might like to read more about this there is a website that chronicles the events in detail. www.caringbridge.org/visit/jimlewin.
Those two hours I spent at the museum on a Sunday morning were certainly up lifting. The whole Lewin family were all so genuine and forthcoming. Our ociety chose to make the Lewin homestead our permanent homein 1999 and since then we have been its guardians. Meeting the Lewins from the West makes me feel proud to be watching over the Lewin house here in the East.
Our Museum complex includes the Main House with eight rooms, John Mitlon's original cobbler shop, an open air pavilion and a barn museum filled with industrial and coomercial displays. We are open free to the public on Mondays, Wednesdys and Fridays from 11 AM to 3 PM. We are also open the first and third Sunday of every month from 1 PM to 3 PM. We open for tours and visits by appointment for those people unable to visit during regular hours. Stop by and see us at 526 Main Street, Royersford. Our parking lot is in the rear and the entrance to the Main house is also in the back of the building.