The Early Days of the William Penn Highway: How Present-Day U.S. Route 22 Got its Start

At the dawn of the automobile age, the major roadways crossing Pennsylvania were rutted, dusty, farm-to-market thoroughfares traveled mainly by horses and wagons. Many of these were still privately owned turnpikes, some with wooden-plank road surfaces. Most towns had improved streets, but the paving, if any, usually ended at the city line. Stagecoach lines still operated here and there, but...
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Doing Time in Dauphin County, 1842-1901

They locked up Elias Nation on April 18, 1842, giving him official first place in Dauphin County’s new prison. (For the record, Jacob Stripe was registered nearly two weeks earlier, for assault and battery, but he was out before the prison’s grand opening.) Nation was twenty­-nine years old and looked “yellow,” wrote Keeper Wil­liam Watson; he underlined that fact in his...
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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 Music Student Bridges the World

Ralph Modjeski seemed destined­ – even at the age of seven – for an accom­plished, if not celebrated, career as a concert pianist. After years of intense training and practice as a music student, he dramatically changed his course of studies at the age of twenty in favor, oddly enough, of a career in civil engineering. He did not, however, abandon his talent and practiced several...
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