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  • Writer's pictureKristin Wenger

New Year, New Discoveries!

On New Year’s Day, Eric and I were excited to try out the newly opened Warwick-to-Ephrata Rail Trail.

Map of the Rail Trail [1]

The sections of the trail beginning in Lititz and Ephrata had both been completed earlier in the year, but we had only used the Lititz side. Now, with the old railroad bridge over the Cocalico Creek finally connecting the two segments, we could explore the Akron and Ephrata portion on foot as well. [2]

Little did I know that I’d discover some fascinating history along the way.

Since it was early in the morning on a holiday, we parked at the Farfield lot.

Notice the house marked in yellow backing up to the Farfield Company.

Thanks to some conversations with my paternal grandparents in which they gave me landmarks of the mill, railroad, Cocalico Creek, and “the second house on the right on the road across from the creek,” I had previously identified this property.[3]

Standing at the trailhead, I could see the mill and the right turn onto Cocalico Road. Grandpa told me that Harry and Cora's house was second on the right (not visible above)

It was the home of my great-great grandparents, Harry and Cora Kramer where Cora died tragically in 1951 (a story that needs to be saved for another day).

The backyard of the property is adjacent to the parking lot of the current Farfield building.

Having never parked in that lot before, I noticed a plaque on the building for the first time.

I snapped the quick photograph below for future research, and we continued on our way.

Later, I looked up the fire and learned that this bit of history directly involved my 3rd great grandfather! I never realized that Harry’s father, Jacob Kramer, had lived and worked on this exact same property for much of his adult life, including a momentous day in May 1907. [4]

A new discovery on New Year’s Day!

Now, every time I run or bike on this section of our community’s long-awaited rail trail, I will think of my Kramer ancestors: my great-great grandparents Harry and Cora and my great-great-great grandparents Jacob and Emma. They lived, worked, and died here. The railroad line at Millway was ever-present in their daily lives and caused the fire that was probably one of the most memorable days in their lives. Can you imagine what they would think of that railroad becoming obsolete? I’d love to see Jacob’s reaction to this video of his 4th great grandson (my son, Nathan) riding his bike past the scene of the 1907 fire on the now paved-over railroad track.

Extra goodies for local history buffs:

  • On the same page as the article about the fire, I found this column interesting. Check out the system that was in place for fire alarms. Also, note the denominations which were still using the German language in some of their worship services. [5]

  • Examine this 1899 map and find the blacksmith shop, the railroad line, Frank Brubaker's property, and more.

  • Jacob’s 1927 obituary in the Lititz Record [6]

His son, Harry (my great-great grandfather) was still living in Pine Hill near his Becker neighbors. Harry and Cora must have moved to the Cocalico Road house in Millway after Jacob's death.

Harry and Cora outside their home in Millway


[1] Warwick Township, “Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail Trail Access Guide,” Warwick Township (Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) ( : accessed 1 January 2019).

[2] Ad Crable, “Cocalico Creek Bridge Completed,” The Lititz Record Express (Lititz, Pennsylvania), 26 December 2018; digital edition ( : accessed 1 January 2019).

[3] John and Doris (Millhouse) Hornberger (granddaughter and grandson-in-law of Harry and Cora Kramer), conversation on 11 August 2018.

[4] “Big Fire at Millway Station,” The Lititz Record (Lititz, Pennsylvania), 16 May 1907, page 5, columns 3 and 4; digital image, Power Library: Pennsylvania’s Electronic Library ( : accessed 1 January 2019).

[5] “Fire Alarm Strike Signals” and “Religious Notices,” The Lititz Record (Lititz, Pennsylvania), 16 May 1907, page 5, column 1; digital image, Power Library: Pennsylvania’s Electronic Library ( : accessed 1 January 2019).

[6] “Jacob H. Kramer,” The Lititz Record (Lititz, Pennsylvania), 14 July 1927, page 5, column 2; digital image, Power Library: Pennsylvania’s Electronic Library ( : accessed 1 January 2019).


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