Walter DePrefontaine

Walter DePrefontaine (1874-1960) was born in Blue Bell, and the son of Charles and Emma DePrefontaine. Based on the last name, Walter was descended from the French.

Walter attended the Central Public School in Blue Bell, while assisting his father in his general store. He graduated from the Whitpain Public School at age 16, the same year the school was built: 1895. For one year, Walter attended the Sunnyside School conducted by Misses Knight in Ambler. Around the same time, he pursued his career in instrumental music.

For 9 years, Walter was an organist at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church in Whitemarsh, PA. He taught instrumental music in Whitpain and adjoining townships until December 1902 he moved to Norristown where he continued his profession as a music director.

He earned the position of an organist at Norristown's First Presbyterian Church on Dekalb and Airy streets.

Ad from the Ambler Gazette (January 15, 1900): Pg 3
Clipping from the Ambler Gazette (March 4, 1897): Pg 1


Walter DePrefontaine reminded me of all the music teachers I had since my youth. They truly made an impact on my life. I first started playing the piano, then the violin. I'm still playing those instruments, but not professionally. I learned to play the piano at my piano teacher's house (just like how Walter's pupils were taught). I learned to play the violin at Shady Grove Elementary School.

From 2011-2018 I was part of the Wissahickon Summer Pops Orchestra as a violinist. It was an amazing opportunity to play around the community, and it definitely brings joy to everyone. People like Walter DePrefontaine brings the community together with music. And having music played by young musicians is a wonderful experience.


Roberts, Ellwood. Biographical annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, containing genealogical records of representative families, including many of the early settlers and biographical sketches of prominent citizens. (New York: T. S. Benham, 1904): 150.

"Wissahickon Valley Public Library's Ambler Gazette Collection." POWER Library: Pennsylvania's Electronic Library. Accessed July 30, 2020.

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