After serving in the Korean conflict in the early 1950's, William (Bill) Fleisher and Paul Metz returned home to Rye Township, Perry County.  Together they felt a need for Rye Township to begin a local fire department within the township.  Meetings were held and discussions began within the community to pursue this idea.  It was not long into those discussions that representatives from Marysville borough visited them.  They asked that Rye Township halt their plans to pursue its own local fire department because Marysville borough already had an organized fire department that covered fires within Rye Township.  Bill and Paul agreed to comply with their request, but still felt a need to unite the people of the community.  Thus, the Rye Township Community Association or RTCA as it was called, formed.

At the time the RTCA was formed, neighboring Marysville borough was basically a town supported by railroads, while Rye Township was a community of farmers along with a few railroaders scattered throughout the countryside.  The newly formed RTCA, composed of both men and women, met during the colder months in the homes of members of the organization and in the warmer months at the local election house, a small white wooden shed-like building located at the intersection of Valley Road, also known as State Route 850 and Cove Road.

Eventually the news of the RTCA organization and it hopes to unite the community spread.  A land owner named Herbert Lee Shuman came forward and offered to sell the RTCA ten (10) acres of ground for $2,000.  The land was located in the floodplain near Fishing Creek along what is now New Valley Road.

The RTCA sprang into a frenzy of action to raise the funds.  The women of the group, Bill Fleisher's wife Harriet and her mother Sylvia Lyter, along with the help of Vivian Hilbert, Minnie Wilbur, Violet Gilbert, Elizabeth Harrold, Anna Bell, Clara Wolf, Ruth Shover, and others too numerous to mention or even remember, were involved and instrumental in this fund raising effort.  Phone calls were made.  Some of the women went door to door asking for donations.  Some residents gave monetary gifts while others provided hen chickens to make homemade chicken corn soup for the group to sell.  Festivals were held and the first one earned the needed $2,000.  This was a true community endeavor.

The land was purchased from Mr. Shuman.  Sometime later, two "track men's shanties" from the railroad were moved on-site.  One shanty was from Newport and one was from the Mansville area. Walter Harrold, a resident who lived nearby, wired the building. Sam McKelvey installed the cupboards and "welded" the two buildings into one.  The building that you see on the park site today became the permanent home of the Rye Township Community  Association (RTCA).

With the building erected, the group continued to hold suppers and festivals for several years.  Families would come to the festivals and buy homemade ice cream, homemade soups and sandwiches, and have fun knocking down the milk bottles or throwing darts for a prize.  Music was provided by a local country music group known as the "Dog Patchers" lead by Bill Fleisher.  Other members of the group were residents Paul and Ruth Metz, Pete Pinci, and Glen Gilbert.  Walter Harrold, Elizabeth's son, would often bring his fiddle and join right in.  Bill always ended the night with the singing of a hymn.  If if was a Saturday night, he would encourage all to be in church the next morning.

The community building was utilized for many years as the monthly meeting place for the Township supervisors. In 1979 the Board of Supervisors: Earnest Pace, John Rinehart, and Robert S. Eichelberger, appealed to the RTCA to provide them with some of the acreage so they could build a separate Township building.  The RTCA met and the decision was made to give the Township Board of Supervisors a two (2) acre tract on the eastern side "for certain considerations".  One of those considerations was that the Township would keep the lane into the RTCA building plowed open during the winter months so emergency fire equipment could easily access the building.  The existing Township building was built and dedicated in early 1983.

Throughout the early years of the RTCA organization, from the fundraising activities to the purchase of the land and the festivals and suppers that followed, the women of the community developed a close bond.  From that group emerged the Rye Township Community Association Women's Auxiliary or "Cow Belles", as they came to be called.  This organization met on a monthly basis for many years, doing many kind deeds for the ill, the elderly, and shut-ins in Rye Township.  The membership aged; the membership dwindled;  and in December 2011 the "Cow Belles" went out of existence when no one volunteered to step forward to fill the position of president for this once robust organization.

Gradually over the years, the demographics of Rye Township changed.  Rye Township is no longer a farming community.  It has become a "bedroom community" for the greater Harrisburg area.  Many residents travel to the capital city of Harrisburg to their places of employment, and shop and dine in other nearby communities.

Unfortunately, now many residents do not even know their neighbors living across the street or even next door.  People do not know who is ill or in need of a word of comfort.  The days of dropping by your neighbors for a quick cup of coffee or spending time talking on the back porch swing are lost in the hustle and bustle of the fast paced life we now live.

The RTCA remains a determined group of citizens who remember and share the vision of Bill Fleisher and Paul Metz to unite the residents in the community of Rye Township.  They envision a community where neighbors continue to help neighbors.  It is through their efforts that recycling was begun and flourished in the community for several years, and it is through their efforts that grants were obtained to develop their land into the beautiful park that it is today.  They encouraged many township residents to join them in the construction and installation of the pavillion and the play and fitness equipment that is now on the site.

In order to obtain financial grants to provide improvements to the park, the RTCA has entered into lease agreements with the Township governing board in the past.  With the RTCA becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, they can obtain financial grants on their own. To help the RTCA maintain and keep the park usable, please donate. Donations will only be used for park activities and maintenance.

 Rye Park is located on New Valley Road in Marysville PA, next to the Rye Township building.

Rye Township Community Association (RTCA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Your financial contributions are welcome and are tax deductible.


or mail your donation check to:

Rye Township Community Association, 1870 New Valley Rd, Marysville, PA 17053

For more information, please email treasurer@ryepark.org.