THE MARRIAGE & FAMILY INSTITUTE


Granville and Sarah Guth House

Built 1906 - Site of the Wescosville Post Office 1915-1946

In 1753, surveyors laid out a simple dirt road to run from Easton to Reading. This road--Route 222--was soon to become a significant passage for immigrants traveling west through the rich and fertile farms of Lower Macungie Township.  By 1906, Wescosville was still a sleepy little farm community several miles west of Allentown. The village was named for the popular hotel which had been established in 1797 by Henry Bortz. The hotel-now Hunan Springs Oriental Restaurant--remained in the Bortz family until 1828, when it was sold to Phillip Wesco.  In 1845, a post office was established at the Wescosville Hotel due to local pressure after the establishment of the county home at Cedarbrook. This post office remained for many years until it was closed prior to 1915.  In 1898, the arrival of the Allentown and Reading Traction Company trolley (from Reading and Kutztown via Macungie to Allentown) made the village of Wescosville more accessible. Once again, local pressure mounted for the reestablishment of a Wescosville Post Office.

In 1906, Granville and Sarah Guth built their new home on farmland which was a wedding gift from her family. It was a very different time from today. Back then, families were much more self sufficient they they are today. The Guth's got their water by pumping water from a rainwater fed cistern under the back porch. A privy stood within a few feet of the back door. Like their neighbors, the Guths had a chicken house and a pig stable in the back yard. They butchered every fall, making their own sausage and liver pudding. The back yard was cultivated with corn, and also served as the Guth's garden. Sarah Guth canned this bounty from her garden each harvest, and stacked the jars on shelves that still remain in the cellar.

In those days, Brookside Road was a dirt road with little traffic except for the occasional trolley or horse drawn wagon. In the summer, oil was sprayed on the road to keep the dust to a minimum because folks generally spent summer evenings on the front porch talking and conversing with their neighbors.

In 1915, Granville Guth, a school teacher, traveled to Washington, D.C. to petition for the reinstatement of the Wescosville Post Office. The petition was granted and Guth was appointed Wescosville Postmaster. Guth established the post office in a room with a separate entrance on the northeast corner of his home. The mail was delivered to the Guth home by the trolley. A fence was erected on the northern boundary to discourage post office customers from walking over the neighbor's yard. Sarah Guth served as mail clerk. The Guth's son-in-law, Edwin Koch, served as rural mail carrier for 44 years. The horses were stabled down by the intersection of Main Street and Brookside Road.



The Wescosville Post Office remained at the Guth house until Granville Guth's death in 1946. It was then moved to several other locations until it finally merged with the Allentown Post Office in 1967. A branch of the Lehigh Valley Post Office is presently located further south on Brookside Road.

Although the Guth residence remained in the family until 1971, the years were not kind to the building. By 2000, the once stately front porch columns were gone and the rotted porch roof supported by 2"X 4”s. Frozen radiator pipes had caused some interior water damage. Corroded pipes, knob and tube wiring, a dated furnace and roof, as well as crumbling plaster required much interior gutting and replacement.

But just as Dr. Christopher Hershman saw potential in even many of his most difficult clients, Dr. Hershman also saw great potential in the crumbling old walls of this once stately house. In 1990, Dr. Hershman purchased the historic Guth home and personally began renovating it to serve as the permanent home for Covenant Counseling Services, which he had founded in rented offices in south Allentown several years previously.


In the course of renovating the Guth House just about everything had to be replaced and inspected. The site plan was approved by the Lower Macungie Township Planning Commission, Zoning Board and Board of Commissioners. Renovations and additions were inspected and approved by the township and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. The rotted porches were replaced. A new driveway and parking lot were approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and constructed. There were also new floors, walls, roofs, water and sewer systems, heating and air conditioning systems and just about everything else new in addition to new rugs and paint.

Covenant Counseling Services finally moved into its new location in May, 2001. It is a two-story facility with five spacious counseling offices, a conference/group room, two administrative offices and two handicapped accessible restrooms, and a waiting/reception room. In addition, most of the original woodwork and stained glass was able to be preserved to allow for a very attractive and home-like (non-institutional) atmosphere for counseling.