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Phillips’ Mill Community Association sets 90th anniversary celebration

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The Phillips’ Mill Community Association’s Preservation Committee invites the community to its 90th anniversary celebration, “A Roaring ‘20s Soiree” at Hotel du Village, 2535 River Road, just north of New Hope, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.

“Put on your dancin’ shoes ... dust off your top hat ... visit your favorite neighborhood vintage clothing boutiques ... re-visit Downton Abbey for costume ideas ... or just come in today’s party clothes.”

The fundraising event features the Ken Silver Trio during cocktail hour, an open bar, a sit-down dinner, a speakeasy review presented by Eleanor Miller and Friends, and dancing to music played by disc jockey L&L Entertainment. Tickets start at $175.

For the past 90 years, the historic Phillips’ Mill (1756), on Route 32 just north of New Hope, has been recognized as the home of the Bucks County Arts Tradition. The Bucks County Impressionist painters gathered there, shared thoughts and skills, painted together on the third floor where the light was “exquisite,” and began exhibiting their work.

“The Bucks County Impressionist movement may have originated when a Philadelphia surgeon, Dr. George Morley Marshall, purchased Phillips’ Mill and an adjacent farm just north of New Hope in 1894,” according to Terry A. McNealy, author of the 2001 book, “Bucks County An Illustrated History,” published by the Bucks County Historical Society.

“Marshall and his wife, patrons of the arts, persuaded their friend, a painter named William L. Lathrop, to rent the miller’s house in 1898. A year later Lathrop and his wife bought the property, and they made their home the focal point of what soon was known as the ‘New Hope artists colony.’

“Henry B. Snell visited the Lathrops the same year and was soon living in New Hope. Independently, Edward W. Redfield settled at Centre Bridge, also in 1898.”

Others followed, including Daniel Garber, Robert Spenser, Charles Rosen, Rae Sloan Bredin, John F. Folinsbee, George Sotter, Fern Coppedge, Walter E. Baum, and Kenneth Nunamaker.

“As the coterie of artists in and around New Hope grew and began to attract a following, several of them formed a group called the Phillips’ Mill Community Association (PMCA) in 1929, bought the old mill from Dr. Marshall, and converted it into a gallery.”

In addition to art exhibitions each spring and fall, the group organized plays, dances, teas, and other events. The mill grew in prominence as generations of creative people added performing arts, photography exhibitions, public forum discussions, and social events.

Prior to the event at Hotel du Village, guests are invited to tour the final day of the Phillips’ Mill juried Fall Art Exhibition at the mill, just a short distance from the dinner-dance venue.

Membership in the not-for-profit PMCA is available. Visit phillipsmill.org for information on membership and/or tickets to the Soiree.


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