Looking Back at the Year: 2013

As 2013 draws to a close it’s time to look back at several of the highlights we covered in the Trailheads blog this year. As always, the historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History faced challenges with patience and perseverance, as paid and volunteer staff worked to provide engaging programs, tours and exhibits for visitors and for their local communities. The ongoing...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Winter 2014 Newsletter: Charter Day 2014 Trails of History Winter Hours and Contact Information Exhibits Collections Advancement Project New Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Members New State Museum Affiliate Members State Museum Planetarium  ...
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Okie Speaks for Pennsbury, Part I

It is no secret that restoring an old house presents a number of headaches, not the least being the question of authenticity. But imagine what it is like to virtually re-create a structure that has been missing for over a century. Most architects would claim that it is impossible, even with good drawings and the best intentions. Never­theless, with a streak of optimism and the blessing of...
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William Penn’s Constitutional Legacy

In his proclamation marking the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of William Penn in 1944, Gov. Edward Martin described him as “one of the truly great men of history … whose tolerance, wisdom, enlightenment and vision as a statesman of the common weal render him an outstanding figure among the builders of states.” The tercentenary celebration of his glorious...
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Okie Speaks For Pennsbury, Part II

In its attempt during the 1930s to re-create William Penn’s 1683 manor house in Bucks County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in­advertently unleashed a storm of con­troversy over the way in which the site, its archeological evidence and its ar­chitecture should be interpreted. Long before reconstruction of the manor house was completed in 1938 (landscap­ing and furnishing occurred...
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In Celebration of Covered Bridges

We crossed the Susquehanna river by a wooden bridge, roofed and covered in on all sides, and nearly a mile in length. It was profoundly dark, perplexed with great beams, crossing and recrossing at every possible angle, and through the broad chinks and crevices in the floor the rapid river gleamed far down below like a legion of eyes. We had no lamps, and as the horses stumbled and floundered...
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A Walk of Injustice

Just before sunrise on Monday, September 19, 1737, a strange gathering of Indians, white settlers and professional woodsmen assembled beneath a mam­moth chestnut tree along the Durham Road in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Indians were Minsi and Shaw­nee of the Delaware Nation, along with two of their chiefs, Tisheekunk and Nutimus; the white settlers were men anx­ious for Pennsylvania to...
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“I Would Have… A Brew House”

The quality of the beer in his new colony was important enough to William Penn for him to include it in his descrip­tion of Pennsylvania to entice prospective settlers. “Our Drink has been Beer and Punch, made of Rum and Water. Our Beer was mostly made of Molasses, which well boyld, with Sassafras or Pine infused into it, makes very tolerable drink; but now they make Mault, and Mault Drink...
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What Love Can Do: William Penn’s Holy Experiment in Education

The founder of Pennsyl­vania stands atop Philadelphia’s City Hall, seemingly sur­veying a “Holy Experiment” he nurtured out of the ideals of his Quaker faith. William Penn, the political theorist, is still remembered for his daring experiment in establishing a colony dedicated to pacifism, civil liberty and religious free­dom in a seventeenth century world conditioned by...
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Bucks County

As one of the three original counties of Pennsylvania created shortly after William Penn arrived in his nascent colony in 1682, Bucks County has a heritage that reaches back to the very beginnings of the Commonwealth. Long before Penn’s arrival, the intrepid settlers of the Dutch and Swedish colonies farther down the Delaware River had ex­plored the wooded banks of the river as far as the...
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