Religious Freedom: Key to Diversity

“There can be no reason to persecute any man in this world about anything that belongs to the next.” – William Penn   To describe Pennsylvania’s re­ligious diversity is to present the history of its religious develop­ment. Although many other states be­came religiously heterogeneous during the nineteenth century, Pennsylvania was pluralistic even as a colony within...
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Wilson Eyre: The Philadelphia Domestic Ideal

At the turn of the twentieth century, Wilson Eyre was at the height of his architectural powers. For sixteen years he had had a successful practice in Philadelphia, one of America’s major architectural centers. The United States bad become a world power, with money to give con­crete evidence of this in the buildings of her great cities, and Philadelphia’s blend of conservative...
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Germantown: Gateway to the New World

We went on board the Concord at Gravesend, the 24th, 5th month, and after we lost sight of England, which was in about three weeks time, we were forty-nine days before we saw land in America, and the 1st 8th month, some of us went ashore in Pennsylvania. The blessing of the Lord did attend us, so we had a very comfortable passage, and had our health all the way. With these words James Claypoole...
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Montgomery County: Cultural Microcosm of the Commonwealth

The third most populous county in Pennsylvania, with ap­proximately 480 square miles of rolling hills criss-crossed by rivers, streams and superhighways, Montgom­ery County is a microcosm of the Com­monwealth, a reflection of its cultural development. Pan of Philadelphia County until 1784, Montgomery Coun­ty served as a sanctuary for numerous ethnic and religious groups seeking the freedom...
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The Wissahickon Valley: To a Wilderness Returned

The rural Wissahickon Valley, near center-city Philadelphia, typifies the rugged landscape which greeted the first white settlers. Today, its huge hem­locks and towering sycamores contrast markedly with the busy factories and row houses only a mile away. But this valley of contrasts has always been different from the sur­rounding region. A century ago, when most of America was rural or wild, the...
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William Penn’s Colony of Cave People

Of all the stories and accounts relating to the significant role Quakers played in the settlement of the New World, none better illustrates their extraordinary determina­tion and capacity to endure and live for freedom than the way they approached the housing shortage in Philadel­phia in the 1680s. They simply resolved the problem by living in caves along the banks of the Delaware and Schuylkill...
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Cameron County: Where Legends are Legion

Tucked high away in Pennsylvania’s once foreboding northern tier, the little county called Cameron was a segment of the vast wilderness known for many years as the Com­monwealth’s last frontier. In fact, the county was not for­mally established until 1860, the sixty-sixth of the sixty­-seven counties apportioned and organized by the state legislature. Actual settlement of Ca­meron...
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The Merry-Go-Round Kings

Murmuring voices and laughter, mingling with the strains of band organ music and the rustling of long white skirts and crisply starched shirts, filled the sum­mer air of 1904 at Philadel­phia’s Woodside Park. A new carousel, one of the finest in America, had just introduced a kaleidoscope of festive color and design to the familiar old amusement grounds. It was, especially, the onset of...
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The Revolutionary War in Pennsylvania

With some conspicuous exceptions, Pennsylvania was largely on the outskirts of the scenes of Revolutionary War military operations. True, in December, 1776, Gen. George Washington brought the remnants of his retreating army from New Jersey into Pennsylvania, using the area in the vicinity of McKonkey’s Ferry as the jumping-off point for the Christmas-night crossing of the Delaware and the...
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“Prepare Thyself … to Meet the Lord Thy God!”: Religion in Pennsylvania During the Revolution

Religion in the colony of Pennsylvania was distinctive. In contrast to most areas of the western world, this province practiced freedom of religion. It never had an established church. Friends who controlled the first legislative assembly, meeting in Upland, now Chester, in 1682, specified that no one was “at any time [to] be com­pelled to frequent or Maintain anie religious worship, place...
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