Then and Now
Mattern Residence

 
The Mattern residence on West Point Pike. December 22, 1936.
 
  April 2016.
Built in 1920, this house may have been one of several built by Lesher Mattern.

 
Who were the Matterns? Let's meet some of them!
This photo was taken in 1937 when the Matterns from Allentown paid a visit to the Matterns in West Point. The home was owned by Robert Mattern, top-left, and Verona Mattern, who is middle-right holding the dog.

Middle-left is Ida Mattern, long time West Point resident.

The handsome man smoking the pipe is Charles Mattern, the father of Carolyn Jane Mattern, who sent us these photographs.

Robert managed the West Point Feed Store until sometime during World War II. Charles, who was a professor at Ursinus College, also had some role in the feed store. Apparently they took it over from Edwin Mattern and his partner, Robert Knerr. (More about the feed store can be found in the "History" section.)

This is an interesting photograph. Charles and the man next to him seem to be looking over at Lesher Matterns house, though it is doubtful Lesher was still living at this time. Click on the photo for a full size version, and notice the expressions on the faces, especially the little girl front and center.


 

Here's Carolyn Jane Mattern on the left with her grandmother Verona.

 
Verona Mattern Robert Mattern
 
Robert Mattern in the vegetable garden behind the house.
 

Now let's have a look inside the house, as it was in the 1930s.
 
Here is Verona reading her Bible. She was a devout member of West Point Grace Church
and did a great deal of volunteer knitting and sewing for the church needlework society.
 
Robert Mattern napping, perhaps after a long day at the West Point Feed House.
 
Verona tends to her African Violets in the sunroom.

Carolyn Mattern's recollection of the house:

    I have rather strong memories of the Mattern’s house on the West Point Pike. I recall hearing that it was a “Sears” house, but I don’t know that for a fact, and I suspect the Matterns were not the original owners. The property was quite large, or so it seemed to me. There was an oval driveway that curved in on one side of the house and out on the other. There was a large vegetable garden in the back, which you can see in the 1950 picture of Robert, as well as a chicken coop. I hated those chickens. When I would help my grandmother gather eggs, they would fly up in my face in a most frightening way. I also distinctly recall playing under a large weeping willow tree in the backyard with my great grandmother who had more interest in playing than my grandmother.
 
   The pictures inside the house are rather remarkable, I think, for what they show of the interior. I remember the house as very dark and full of dark furniture; in the 1950s there were still portiers between the doorways. The interior photographs were taken by my mother during the 1930s. I still have the framed needlework that appears on the wall behind the napping Robert Mattern in the Morris chair.
 
    Another of my memories of that house is that there were two stoves in the kitchen: one electric and one coal. Quite possibly my grandmother needed both; on one day each week, she baked enough pies to last for an entire week. I also remember an icebox in the entryway in the back of the house although by the 1950s but they were certainly not using it for refrigeration.

During the 1960s Verona moved to the Friends home in Norristown, and my recollection is that she “gave” the West Point house to the church. Could someone inform me, did she give the house or sell it to the church at a reduced price or am I misremembering entirely, I'd like to know.
 


Note: Montgomery County property records show that the house was sold by Hans and Charlotte Hartung in 1979, but do not show what year the Hartungs purchased the house or if it was sold to them by Grace Church.


 
More Matterns! This is an even earlier photograph.

Left-to-right: Robert Mattern, Lesher Mattern, Mrs. Lesher Mattern, Harry Mattern, Ethel Garretson, Florence Linster.

Mr. and Mrs. Lesher Mattern certainly look stern in this photo. Perhaps it's a reflection of their personalities. Lesher came to the area in 1882 and was the bookkeeper for the West Point Feed House. He later became a partner with Henry Moyer, then became the owner at Moyer's death. Between 1905 and 1918, Lesher built the West Point Feed House into one of the largest hay pressing operations in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He was married to Sophia Foster Trucksess, the woman third from the left. Something tells me she usually got her way.