BRISTOL BOROUGH >> How do you celebrate a 338-year-old town?
The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation has been doing it for the past 42 years with “Historic Bristol Day" held on the third Saturday of every October.
This year, the celebration will take place on Saturday, October 19 (rain or shine) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature an antique and classic boat display at the Bristol Wharf on the Delaware River, a Philadelphia Fire Department fireboat at the Bristol docks, a sailboat regatta on the Delaware River and a car show on the grounds of Snyder-Girotti Elementary School, 450 Beaver Street.
The day also features a tour of five private homes with a Colonial-costumed “meet and greet” (Historic Bristol Day Ticket Required); a Riverfront Tea featuring a harpist from 12:30 to 2:30 (Historic Bristol Day ticket required); walking tours along tree-lined Radcliffe Street, known as the King’s Highway in Colonial days; street entertainment; and an archaeological dig at the Friends Meeting, 235 Market Street. The public is invited to participate!
At 11:30 a.m., the Bracken Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Alumni Corps of Bristol, celebrating the Corps’ 95th anniversary, will perform at the Lions Park Gazebo. Bracken was the first junior drum and bugle corps in the U.S. and was 12-time PA State American Legion Champion and three-time runner-up for the national title.
The Stepping Stone Dancers will perform at the Gazebo from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Visitors are invited to explore an American Revolutionary War encampment in Riverfront Park.
Also featured will be:
- A Children’s Corner. including a presentation on Native Americans by students of Snyder-Girotti Elementary School, takes place at 11.
- An exhibit on “Answering the Call: Bristol’s First Responders,” and display of winning entries in the Students’ Art Contest, at the Grundy Library
- Art exhibit and demonstration by the Artists of Bristol
- ”History of St. Mark Church” by students of St. Mark School, in the church at 11:30 a.m.
- Crafters and merchandise vendors in the 200 and 300 blocks of Radcliffe Street.
- Bake table sponsored by Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation
- Food Court behind the Bristol Riverside Theatre
- Various public buildings and churches open for touring
Free parking and shuttle transportation will be available at Dow Chemical Company’s Otter Creek lot on Old Rt. 13, north of the plant’s main entrance, and at the Lenox parking lot at 1414 Radcliffe St. Look for event parking and shuttle signs.
The House Tour and Tea ticket price is $12 in advance; $15 on the day of the event. Advance tickets and official HBD program are available at the Bristol Borough Tax Office, 250 Pond Street; Mignoni Jewelry, 200 Mill Street; Great IDs, 257 Radcliffe Street; and the Grundy Library, 680 Radcliffe Street. On the event day, they will available at the Tickets and Info table at the corner of Radcliffe and Market streets and Radcliffe and Walnut streets, and at the HBD Tea at 922 Radcliffe St.
The following are brief descriptions of the five homes that will be open for touring.
202 Jefferson Avenue, corner of Cedar Street >> This is “Modern Home #113,” listed in the 1914 Sears Roebuck catalog and was built circa 1914-15 on land purchased in 1911. It features a gambrel roof, which was a common feature of the Dutch Colonial Revival architectural style.
507 Radcliffe Street >> Architectural style is Victorian Gothic Revival, which features beautiful wood decorative details which became popular between 1840 and 1880. The house was constructed circa 1851 as a private residence.
715 Radcliffe Street >> Architectural style is Greek Revival, which became popular in the United States around 1820. This house was constructed between 1857 and 1875 as a private residence. It features a hipped roof with a large central cupola on the third floor.
719 Radcliffe Street >> This house of modern construction was built in 1960 and will feature a display of antique washboards and a private collection of antique children’s shoes.
725 Radcliffe Street >> Architectural style is Victorian Gothic, which became popular in the United States after the Civil War. This house was constructed in 1876 as a residence for prominent Bristolian, John Dorrance II. It was constructed of uncut brownstone, which was laid without coursing. A massive porch sweeps from the south façade across the front or east façade.