Name of interviewee: Willis Rivinus
Date of birth/age at interview: 1928/86
Interviewer: Jack Donohue
Interview date: November 25, 2014
Interview location: Rivinus home
Interview length: 23 minutes
Time span discussed: 1960s to present day
Summary: In 1964 Will published his first of many books and historical pamphlets, almost all centered in Bucks County, and he never stopped. (Note: Many of Will’s books are available for sale or free on the STHS web site.)
00:00 – introduction
00:35 – has completed 50 years of publishing books; after unsuccessful business venture walked the canal to clear his head; started a life-long love of the geography of the area
02:52 – knowledge accumulated led to first book in 1964, A Wayfarer’s Guide to the Delaware Canal, sold 10,000 copies
04:19 – drove roads looking for taverns in Bucks County, usually about seven miles apart atop hills or at crossroads; resulted in Early Taverns of Bucks County
06:01 – Old Stonework in Bucks County, photographs by David Smith for first edition and Randl Bye for second, researched by driving the country roads, three geologic sections in the area, stonework a record of these; some knowledge gained when repointing work done on home and barn
08:56 – Redman in Bucks County evolved from studying maps of Anna Shoemaker; most sites in central area of county because of streams and good soil
11:30 – revised this book to William Penn and the Lenape Indians
11:59 – New Hope, Pennsylvania, photographs by George Bailey
12:45 – 1980s appointed Chairman of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, published a book about the villages and people along the corridor
14:09 – from this came four books, Phillips Mill, Centre Bridge, and Lumberville
14:37 – story of the 41 oil tanks in Centre Bridge, after World War II some Japanese bid for the tanks and shipped to Asia
16:31 – Old Mills of New Hope-Solebury in 2013, the area’s vibrant commercial life in nineteenth century due to the many prosperous mills
18:49 – collaborating with Jeff Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy on Barns of Bucks County, lead to the Audubon’s annual barn tour fund raiser
19:42 – worked with Aaron Siskin on a book and Ranulph Bye for Ranulph Bye’s Bucks County
20:24 – chief peddler of the very popular Bucks Cooks books, compiled by the Solebury ‘s Trinity Episcopal Church members, Volume I sold 55,000 copies and Volume II sold 10,000 copies, mostly to tourists
Will Rivinus recording 1, auto show.
Will Rivinus recording 2, floods.
Will Rivinus recording 4, FODC.
Will Rivinus recording 5, restaurants.
Will Rivinus recording 6, Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor