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One Tank Trip: Rise and Shine at Pottsgrove Manor

POTTSTOWN, Pa. - It's early morning, but for part of the house, the day has already begun. Upstairs on the third floor are the servants' quarters inside the Pottsgrove Manor. It's the home of John Potts, the founder of Pottstown and iron master. The year is 1760 and it's as though time has stopped.

"We all have morning routines," said curator Amy Reis. "It's just the only people who know about it are the ones who live with us."

It's morning from now until November at Rise and Shine at the Manor. The new exhibit is about what happens in those first few hours of the day.

"There was a lot of work that had to be done very early in the morning," Reis said.

Instruction books laid out the rules. A servants directory by Hannah Glass outlined it all, down to the smallest detail, such as how to move through the house without waking the family. Required work was to be done quietly.

"This way, by the time the family gets up or entered a room, it's completely cleaned, but they don't know who did it," Reis explained.

Situated in the center of Potts' iron empire, the home was an integral piece in their lives. Being a wealthy lot, the Potts had a class system of servants: paid, indentured and slaves.

The work was long and hard. They rose before dawn, washed and dressed by firelight, and then some headed down to the second floor to begin a day of sewing and mending.

Cooks prepped the family's informal breakfast consisting of tarts, dried fruit and hot chocolate.

One room over, through the Great Hall, fireplaces and floors were scrubbed and swept while another servant managed the work. Brass was waiting to be polished.

"There was a lot of work involved in this house to make sure that it would run properly," Reis explained.

And appearances were everything.

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