Beloved, Beleaguered, and Belittled: Ole Bull’s New Norway

It is said that, on certain autumn days, a visitor to one particular mountain top in Potter County can still hear the haunting violin strains of nineteenth century music legend Ole Bull, drifting ever-so-faintly amidst the whispering pines and the soft murmur of Kettle Creek wending its way through the valley below. It seems that the trilling of the songbirds and the chattering of resident...
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Commemorating a Centennial by Revising a Vision

The American museum was and is an idea. The European museum was a fact. Almost without exception the European museum was first a collection. With few exceptions most American museums were first an ideal,” Philadelphian Nathaniel Burt wrote in his 1977 history of the American museum, Palaces for People. Unlike their European counterparts, which were usually created to house the great...
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Larger than Life Along the Lincoln Highway

What are unsuspecting motorists’ typical reactions when they encounter a seven-foot praying mantis standing alongside a highway? Or a giant shoe, three stories tall? How about a huge steamboat, complete with paddlewheels, miles from navigable waterways? They might range from exclamation – “wow!” – to sheer dis­dain – “tourist trap!” – but the...
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Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat

Wearing a straw boater, he rode in the passenger seat of the Cadillac, and forlornly surveyed the pick­eting miners who blocked the lane leading into the village of St. Benedict in Cambria County. He sig­naled his manservant – serving now as bodyguard and chauffeur as well – to proceed through the human blockade. Angry strikers taunted them, shouting obscenities, as they drove up the...
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The Country Connection: Farmers Markets in the Public Eye

They brought sausages and wursts of all kinds, smierkase, a cottage cheese mixed with cream or milk, dried fruits, buttermilk, apple snits, a gingerbread called lep kuchen, teas, baked goods, fruits, vegetables, eggs, honey, poul­try – both live and dressed – and, beginning just before Memorial Day, abundant flowers of seemingly count­less varieties, some almost unknown today. Truly,...
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It’s a Family Affair – Six Generations of Martin Guitars

For legions of guitar players and admirers of finely crafted musical instruments, the small town of Nazareth in eastern Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley resembles its biblical namesake. It is the holiest ground, a Mecca, the wellhead of guitar dreams, aspirations and, yes, even obsessions. Nazareth is the home of C.F. Martin & Co., considered the world’s premier maker of steel-string...
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Romancing the Stone: Benno Janssen, Architect of Elegance

Every community has its coming of age, when the style of its best buildings, both commercial and residential, speaks clearly, “This is the way it is going to be here for a long time.” Although Pittsburgh, the first American city to rejuvenate itself out of its dusky past – of steel and soot and smoke and smog – has employed many notable architects) from Henry H....
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Taking Flight! Pittsburgh’s Gateway to the Skies

More than twenty million passengers found their way into, through, and out of Pittsburgh International Airport during 1999 alone. (The figure breaks down to six hun­dred flights daily to one hundred and nineteen domestic destina­tions and ten foreign destina­tions.) Had they been attempting to reserve seats on a flight departing Pittsburgh in 1927, passengers would have had to vie for one flight...
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