There's a certain magic that happens when something becomes more than the sum of its parts. NYCHAPS has been blessed to be caretakers of special places with significant stories that are our pleasure to share. That said, there is more to NYCHAP’S story, just as there are more Northern York County stories just waiting to be told.
The Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society (NYCHAPS) began even before the historical society was officially created. It started in the hearts of men and women who believed the story of Dillsburg deserved to be told. They gathered documents and memorabilia in honor of Dillsburg’s sesquicentennial (150-year anniversary) in 1983. Then, when it was over, they felt a great sense of sadness at putting all of it back in their attics, fearing it would be forgotten for perhaps another 150 years.
Unwilling to return the stories to the shelves of time, these men and women met to discuss options. Within a year, NYCHAPS was formed with its mission “To promote and encourage the study, education, and research of the historical, social, genealogical, artistic, literary, and cultural heritage of the area of the Northen York County School District.”
Within a few years, NYCHAPS became a non-profit, and, as their name and mission spread, local townsfolk began donating relics, books, and documents. In 1992, the Maple Shade Barn was donated to the historical society by John and Mary Rearick. Its restoration took 6 years but today it houses a museum, and archives, the NYCHAPS office and a banquet room that is regularly used by the community for meetings, family celebrations and special occasions.
It was with great excitement in 2001 that NYCHAPS was able to purchase Dill’s Tavern through the generous donation of Charles and Lucille Vogelsong who, along with a few more “angels,” continued to support the development of the property, adding layer upon layer of interpretation. The next 20 years saw renovations to both the Tavern and the Maple Shade Barn, construction of a log barn, a woodshed, a garden, and a wheelwright shop – complete with a forge, a smokehouse and a distillery.
Construction was not all that was happening on the NYCHAPS property. Innovative volunteers were creating ways to involve the community by offering educational and family-friendly events. Some events were a one-time thing but many of them have become “regulars” and are now a part of who NYCHAPS is – to its members and to the community. Events such as public and school tours, History Camp, Speaker Series, First Fridays, Celtic Festival, and Christkindlmarkt – just to name a few – have come to define NYCHAPS. And the organization, believing in the value of community, partners with others such as the Dillsburg Farmer’s Market to benefit our entire community.
The addition of the Distillery to the Tavern grounds will showcase NYCHAPS’ commitment, creating ways for people to feel, taste, and smell history.