Bucks County Herald

Charles Meredith:

Four generations of Meredith

Dear Friends,

In a bit, I’ll describe the open house at the former Free Press building where four generations of Merediths lived and worked. But first, here’s an evangelical Christian question. Why don’t evangelicals denounce President Trump’s alleged lewd behavior as they did with former President Bill Clinton? Why are evangelicals giving The Donald a “mulligan?”

“When news broke last month about President Trump’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, it seemed that kind of story would devastate a group of voters once known as the ‘Moral Majority,’” the Washington Post wrote (Jan 30.) It didn’t … The story didn’t come close.

“A Washington Post-ABC News poll released a few weeks ago found that 68 percent of white evangelical Protestants approve of Trump’s job performance … a figure that is nearly double that of the population as a whole. It is higher than any other religious or demographic group,” the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote (Jan 30).

How do evangelicals explain the apparent hypocrisy? One answer could be that evangelicals may not approve of Trump’s morals but they do like his stance on abortion (he’s opposed) and they echo his decision to move Israel’s capital to Jerusalem.

More than anything, evangelicals are letting their view of Trump be guided by other things for which they give him credit: cracking down on illegal immigration, improving the economy and making the nation feel more safe in their view.

Turning to the Quakertown Free Press building, the owners (Broad Street Preservationists) recently held an open house that brought back wonderful memories to me. As a newborn, I lived with my parents on its third floor. Growing up, I could see the four massive columns that my grandfather erected on the Free Press front porch.

Pa Pa Meredith thought that the building would make an ideal courthouse for Upper Bucks … if he could convince the Bucks government in Doylestown to allow Upper Bucks to secede. But a courthouse needed columns. So Pa Pa had columns built in New Hampshire and transported to Quakertown on flat-bed freight train cars.

The installation process must have been quite a sight. Mules and horses dragged the columns three blocks to their present location and raised them to the sky like four giant phalilc symbols.

In my 82 years, I’ve moved five times covering less than three blocks (not including high school and college days). The first move was from the Free Press to South Second Street, the second to 203 Juniper Street; the third to the carriage house behind 203 Juniper; the fourth to 215 Juniper Street and the last, back to 203 Juniper Street. (So I’m an expert about the 200 block of Juniper Street.)

Anyway, there must have been several hundred visitors that toured the renovated Free Press building.

The principals of Broad Street Preservationists are Kenton Bauder, Michael Cygan ad Dan Soliday. The partnership created an 11,000-square-foot space that capitalizes on the structure’s cathedral ceilings, large windows and skylights, glass doors and walls and original warehouse flooring.

Pa Pa’s grandfather’s clock still stands at the entrance of the receiving room. The National Editorial Association presented it to him when he completed his presidency around 1920. The new owners formed words from the old lead type, forming glass windows around them in the conference table. Where the old linotypes and offset press once stood are handsome offices of varying sizes. Large exterior gas lamps frame the front door.

Bauder, Cygan and Soliday can be very proud of their investment. My Internet search revealed that the new owners spent $1.2 million on the project. The Free Press building is one of the best commercial properties in Quakertown, if I do say myself.

Next week, I’ll review what’s happening on the Delaware Canal and the irony surrounding the famous pump at Point Pleasant.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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