What is your property’s story?

Have you ever wondered what your cottage would tell you if it could talk? In fact, we hosted a program with that title: “If Cottages Could Talk.” At the program, cottage owners shared the results of their research, enlightening all in attendance about the cottages and the broader history of the community.

One of the most often asked questions we get is, “What can you tell me about my cottage?” The Mount Gretna Area Historical Society is compiling a database of such information Will you help us? We encourage all owners to research and share with us what they learn about the history of their properties. If you have completed your research, click HERE  to download an input form.

To help you begin this fascinating quest, the Board has compiled some resources.

  • A good place to begin is the Lebanon County Recorder of Deeds, Room 107, Municipal Building, 400 S. 8th Street, Lebanon, PA. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 717-228-4447. Property ownership records are in the deed books. Included in the record are the date of the sale, the name of the seller, the name of the buyer, and the purchase price, all fascinating information. Property records are also available at or There is a charge to use this online service.
  • Another source of information is local newspapers. The Mount Gretna Area Historical Society’s research library has a subscription to Using names, dates, and the cottage name, if known, researchers should check the social pages of these publications to be transported to an earlier era when get-togethers on the porch were regular activities–indeed much as they are today though they most likely do not make the newspaper’s society pages! Contact the Society for an appointment. 717-964-1105
  • A final, if random, way to learn cottage history is through oral history. Talking to neighbors who have owned nearby cottages may yield unexpected, delightful anecdotes. People walking by may also add details as they reminisce about renting or even owning the property. In addition, we have volunteers who serve on our Oral History Committee who would love to talk with you and record your memories about your cottage or others. Call or email the Historical Society.

We hope these resources and suggestions inspire you to get started on your own historical journey. We would also like to note that the use of the noun “cottages” may suggest a limited style of residence when, in fact, we are eager to learn about ALL residences in our unique Mount Gretna community to appreciate their role in our ongoing story. The form
included with this article may be used to share with us what you discover.

Once your research is complete, click HERE  to download an input form to record your cottage’s history.

Please contact us if you have questions.