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Home Again – Dedicating Langstroth's Birthplace
Home Again – Dedicating Langstroth's Birthplace
By: Kim Flottum

A historical marker goes up, and L.L. himself comes to see.

October 01, 2010


On Friday, September 10 2010, about 80 people gathered in front of 106 South Front Street, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to help dedicate a Historical marker commemorating this address as the birthplace of Lorenzo L. Langstroth. Editor Flottum was honored to help MC the event, but many, many individuals had a hand in the process long before the dedication, and for days afterwards.

Special mention must be made for the groups who were instrumental in making this dedication possible. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission was certainly in on the act assisting, as they always do, when an Official State Historical Marker is placed. And these plaques are not inexpensive, so major contributors included The Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association, The Chester County Beekeeping Association and The Virginia State Beekeepers Association. Sponsors included The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Bee Culture Magazine, The Wagner Free Institute of Science, Bartram’s Garden and Wyck House.

But many individuals made substantial contributions also, including The Beaver Valley Area Beekeepers, Anne Brennan, Historians Professor William E. Butler & Maryann E. Gashi-Butler and James Castellan, David Dill, Norman G. Matlock, Esq. & Suzanne Matlock, the Monroe County Beekeepers Association, and Matt Redman. Without their involvement this certainly would not have occurred. Carl Flatow, too, deserves mention because as early as last year he began his campaign to have a commemorative Langstroth stamp created and kept the flow going, even after the post office denied the stamp for this year.

The dedication program began with comments from Joel Eckel, President of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, with a few additional comments from Kim Flottum, Bee Culture Editor. Flora Becker, Esq., from the PHMC commented on why this event was chosen above other applicants. Then Russell C. Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture spoke to the value of the honey bee to his state. The Secretary was followed by J. Lee Miller, President of the Pennsylvania State Beekeeper’s Association, who commented on advances in beekeeping due to Langstroth’s inventions, followed by the Pennsylvania Honey Queen, Teresa Bryson who addressed some of the history surrounding Langstroth’s invention. Following the Queen, Matt Redman, Langstroth Historian gave a detailed and compelling description of Langstroth’s life following his invention.

Then, Ms Sherry Smith and Ms Susan Smith-Riedel, Great, Great Granddaughters of Langstroth’s, with help from Matt Redman, unveiled the Marker.

The streetside dedication was followed by one large group of participants walking to the nearby American Philosophical Society to view unpublished manuscripts and writings by Langstroth, while the remaining group retired to a nearby establishment for beverages and conversation sponsored in part by Bee Culture magazine. They were later joined by the more studious members of the party.

The following two days, the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild and others sponsored many, many events for the inaugural Philadelphia Honey Festival, which included speakers, open hive viewing for the public, demonstrations, honey and mead tastings and much, much more. These were in several places around the city so everyone could attend some event close to home.

There were many organizations, both professional and volunteer that contributed to this long-overdue celebration. And many individuals donated time, energy, skills and money to make this a success. But the dedication and hard work, long hours and financial contributions of Suzanne Matlock and her husband Norman must not be lost in the flurry and flash of all of the events. Simply, this would not have been possible without their presence. Thank you.

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