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Author Barbara Ditch Rotz to sign copies of Mont Alto history book

WAYNESBORO >> Writer and quilt designer Barbara Ditch Rotz will sign copies of her newly released book, "Mont Alto: Funkstown, Alto Dale, Land of Milk and Honey," and display her historically significant quilts from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at the Waynesboro Historical Society's Oller House, 138 West Main Street, Waynesboro.

Rotz's book depicts the first settlement of Mont Alto in 1807, the post office which was originally the site of St. Peter's German Reformed Church built in 1839, the apple schnitz factory and the old shirt factory. She writes about Col. George B. Wiestling, who founded the Mont Alto Iron Works at the site of Mont Alto State Park — Pennsylvania's first state park — and about the Mont Alto Railroad, at one time a major stop on the Pennsylvania line. There were three hotels in the little town, as well as three churches and the Mont Alto Emmanuel Chapel, built in 1902.

Her research has been highly acclaimed by Becky Dietrich, local historian, for her tenacity and efforts to depict the industry of this town and her painstaking effort to recreate the images of Mont Alto's rich heritage.

The author has been an active member of the Mont Alto Historical Society for years and has devoted the past three and a half years to research the development of the town for her book.

Hours of research and needlework went into her 7- by 10-foot quilts which depict a view of Funkstown in 1868 and the Borough of Mont Alto in 2011. A third smaller quilt depicts the Mont Alto Forestry Academy grounds in 1903 on the land which is now Penn State's Mont Alto campus.

Born in 1949, Rotz is a native of Mont Alto who taught herself quilting, chair caning, spinning wool, woodworking and gardening.

"The quilts are a work of art," said WHS President Joann Hersh. "You will not want to miss this rare opportunity to view them."

Rotz's quilts will be displayed on Sunday only. The public is invited and refreshments will available.

For more information call 717-762-1747 or 717-749-3831, leave a name and phone number.