The Pennsylvania Archives Turns 100! An Interview with State Archivist Frank M. Suran

2003 marks the centennial of the Pennsylvania State Archives, the oldest component of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency, and State Archivist Frank M. Suran knows its history bet­ter than anyone else. An archivist’s responsibilities include a multitude of tasks. Suran discusses his beginnings at the State Archives,...
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Israel and Samuel Lupfer Tannery Site and House

During the nineteenth century, tanning was an essential component of Pennsylva­nia’s industrial economy. Prior to the out­break of the Civil War, tanneries in the Keystone State’s rural areas were as ubiquitous as gristmills; in 1860, for example, more than one thousand tanneries were in operation and all but one county had at least one. These tanneries ranged in size from a...
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Masonic Temple, Butler, Pa.

The Keystone State Library Association, established in 1901, selected the Butler County seat of Butler in western Pennsylvania for its fifteenth annual meeting in October 1915, and one of the reasons is obvious. Librarians would convene for their first session in the community’s grand Masonic Temple, completed four years earlier. Butler Lodge Number 272, Free and Accepted Masons (F&AM),...
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Building a Brand for Pennsylvania Products

Over the centuries most Pennsylvanians have traded their team of horses for cars, their work boots for street shoes, and their plows for computers. yet we still hanker for a taste of our rural roots. While many of us may be weekend gardeners, farmers are lifetime gardeners, producing a quality, diverse food supply for the world year-round. What better way to support local farmers than by...
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Extreme Makeover: History Edition

Extreme might be a hyperbole but the current restoration of the interior of the Rapp House at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County, is a significant undertaking nevertheless. The project will provide a substantive update to the initial restoration work in the 1960s. Old Economy Village presents the remarkable story of the Harmony Society, a Christian communal group with roots in what...
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Bookshelf

Harmony in Wood: Furniture of the Harmony Society by Philip D. Zimmerman published by the Friends of Old Economy Village, 2010; 214 pages, cloth, $60.00 Creators of an immensely successful nineteenth-century utopian society, the Harmonists, led by George Rapp (1757–1847), emigrated from Germany and first settled Harmony in Butler County in 1804, moved west to Indiana ten years later where they...
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Aiming for the Stars: The Forgotten Legacy of the Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory

Before his death, renowned science fiction writer, inventor, and futurist Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008) confidently declared the space age had not yet begun, and would only commence when reliable nuclear-powered space vehicles become available to drastically reduce the cost of moving humans and heavy payloads from the surface of the earth to the farthest reaches of the solar system. It is a...
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Sampling a Taste of the Past Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

One of the best ways to experience the Keystone State’s history and heritage is to travel the Pennsylvania Trails of History®, a network of two dozen exciting historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency. PHMC has organized its popular destinations into four main trails – Military...
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