Donald Robinson dresses slate, October 1999 Photo: Janet I. Fulcher
Delta & Cardiff Heritage Festival
A day-long festival celebrating the culture and
heritage of the Scots-Irish and Welsh settlers of southeastern York
County. The area encompasses the borough of Delta and, to the
immediate south across the Mason-Dixon line, the community known as
Cardiff, in Harford County, Maryland.
In 1734, the first white settlers, Scots-Irish, came
to settle in the region in southeastern Pennsylvania inhabited by
the Susquehannock Indians. The agricultural lifestyle favored by
the settlers manifests itself today in the farms, fields and
livestock that dot the county, and its annual harvests of peaches,
apples, pears, and grapes. But the yield of the soil was not found
only in crops and livestock, but in slate, the hard, flat grey
stone that was unearthed with every turn of the shovel. Commercial
production of slate, primarily for the purpose of roofing
materials, began about 1785, employing Welsh immigrants to Delta.
The strong influence of the slate industry on the town can be found
in Delta's sidewalks, fenceposts, foundations, roofs, window sills,
mantlepieces, steps and gutters.
Transportation was essential to hasten the region's
economic development. The Susquehanna River; the Susquehanna and
Tidewater Canal (built 1839) that stretched the 45 miles from
Columbia, Pennsylvania, to Havre de Grace, Maryland; the narrow
gauge line railroad that stretched between Delta and Baltimore
(started 1864) -- all contributed to the area's growth. This and
much of Delta's history is preserved in the town's Old Line Museum,
which presents a rich display of local artifacts and treasures each
year at the Festival.
The annual Delta & Cardiff Heritage Festival
endeavors to highlight a blend of the community's past and present.
Guests are invited to enjoy performances of song and instrument,
storytelling and crafts, displays of antique vehicles and farm
machinery, exhibitions of splitting and dressing slate. There are
games and a petting zoo for the children. Festival attendees are
asked for a donation of food or a personal-care item which serves
as a admission ticket; donated items go to a local charity
Project documentation includes a five-page report,
Festival mission statement, and twenty 8 x 10 color photographs
Originally submitted by: William F. Goodling, Representative (19th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.