History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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Black Steelworkers in Western Pennsylvania

Blacks constituted a sizable core of workers in the iron and steel industry of western Penn­sylvania between 1900 and 1950. Most had migrated to the Pittsburgh vicinity from the agricultural South during the two World Wars in hopes of improving their economic plight by obtaining jobs in area mills and foundries. However, racial discrimination prevented the majority of them from advancing beyond...
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My Summer in the Mill

I was born in the fall of 1960 into a steel mill family in Beaver County. My father worked as a rigger for the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation O&L) in Aliquippa for thirty-two years. As a young girl I listened to his stories of work and always wondered what it was like inside the mill. I never got any farther than the mill’s main gate where we would wait for him at the end of his...
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Documenting Everyday Life in Pennsylvania During the Great Depression and World War II

The documentary photography project initiated by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) in 1935 was an unprecedented experiment in the history of photography, and it remains a monument to a collective effort that will never be equaled-the recording of an entire nation, from the city and town to the farm, from the home to the factory, from work to leisure, from school to church, from the baseball...
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Lost and Found

Lost Under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, a myriad of ambitious economic recovery initiatives, the Section of the Fine Arts of the U.S. Department of the Treasury commissioned artist Niles G. Spencer (1893– 1952) in 1937 to paint a mural for the post office in Aliquippa, Beaver County. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Spencer attended the Rhode Island School of Design,...
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