WWII Target: Altoona

The tale of the bold but fizzled 1942 Nazi plot to sabotage the Horseshoe Curve railroad landmark near Altoona, Pennsylvania, has been told in books and articles almost since the day the spy-thriller story began to unfold. First came a juvenile-fiction account in 1944 titled The Long Trains Roll by Stephen W. Meader. It recounts the story of Operation Pastorius, a wry allusion to the theme of...
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Blair County: Center of Transportation

Blair County was among the last counties created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. One factor which delayed the establishment of an additional county in the southern portion of central Pennsylvania was geography. The rugged, eastern slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, in which Blair County was eventually located, diverted settlers to other areas. Only after the discovery of iron ore...
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Grif Teller Paints the Pennsy

Grif Teller never drew a Pennsylvania Railroad paycheck, yet today his name is more widely recognized and more closely associated with that monolithic transportation machine than the names of any of the company’s fourteen presidents. From 1928 to 1942 and from 1947 through 1958, Teller cre­ated the distinctive oil paint­ings for the railroad’s annual advertising calendars, which were...
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Pennsylvania Places through the Bird’s-Eye Views of T.M. Fowler

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, America indulged in a love affair with panoramic drawings of urban areas, known – aptly but simply­ – as town views. Some were drawn at ground level, or from a modest elevation (such as a hill or tall building) and often depicted a skyline. Others, made from an aerial perspective, were known as bal­loon views, aero views and,...
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Where History and Magic Converge: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Visitors traveling east of Strasburg on Route 741 in idyllic Lancaster County suddenly encounter a wondrous array of locomotives hard by the road – steam engines, diesels, even an electric. One huge locomotive rests on a massive hundred-foot long turntable. A sign announces Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, beyond which a massive building stands as a memorial, a veritable shrine, to one of...
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The Big Engines That Could

On a blustery, chilly day in autumn of 1939, a dapper-looking man in his mid-forties climbed onto a railway station platform in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to watch the approach of a train. Amid billowing steam, shrouds of smoke, and rumbling loud enough to unnerve him, he watched an enormous locomotive scream past his vantage point. The sleek, sculpted machine, effortlessly pulling a passenger train,...
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