Executive Director’s Message

The Most Perfectly Planned Community in America. So proclaimed a 1951 promotional brochure for Levittown in Bucks County, designed and built by developer William J. Levitt. With.in a few months, Levitt’s company had sold three thousand Levit­towner models for $9,900 each and began producing homes at a rate of forty a day using innovative assembly line techniques. By 1958, the development...
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Maurice K. Goddard: The Commonwealth’s Conservation Czar

There is a point in crossing the top of the Allegheny Mountains between Pittsburgh and Harris­burg at which a traveler sees, at every turn, only trees. It is one of the most spectacular views on the North American Continent. The scene lacks the frenetic energy of Niagara Falls, or the awe-filling majesty of the Grand Canyon, but this several­-hundred-square-mile panorama of second-growth forest...
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Ridgway Historic District

In 1833, Ridgway was platted as an unincorporated village and named for wealthy Philadelphia Quaker Jacob Ridgway (1768-1843), who owned more than one hundred thousand acres in north­central Pennsylvania. The village, originally located in Jefferson County, became the Elk County seat upon the county’s creation in 1843. Ridgway, incor­porated as a borough in 1881, emerged as an important...
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Lost and Found

Lost Shamokin, Northumberland County, native William H. Lee (1884-1971) was well known as an architect of theaters and academic buildings, designing more than two hundred movie theaters, including the Victoria Theatre in his hometown. Opened in 1918, Shamokin’s Victoria Theatre – known affectionately by generations of residents as “the Vickie” – was commissioned by...
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Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices

On a February morning in 1937, artist George Warren Rickey (1907-2002) and a group of four men met at the post office in Selinsgrove, Snyder County. Armed with cloth-covered rolling pins, the men attached Rickey’s mural entitled Susquehanna Trail to one of the lobby’s end walls. After six hours, they transformed the entire blank white wall, from marble wainscoting to ceiling, into a...
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A River Runs Through Penn’s Woods: Tracing the Mighty Schuylkill

Congress designates a National Heritage Area as “where a diversity of resources exist that combine to form a cohesive distinctive landscape.” The Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area was so named in 2000. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania announced the entire Schuylkill River watershed of two thousand square miles comprising the counties of Schuylkill, Berks, Chester,...
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Safe Harbor Iron Works Map, 1875

This section of an 1875 map contained in the Map Collection (Manuscript Group 11, Second Geological Survey, Map # 180–40) at the Pennsylvania State Archives depicts the site of the Safe Harbor Iron Works in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County, where the three-inch Ordnance Rifle designed by John Griffen (but commonly called a Griffin Gun) was first manufactured and tested in 1855. This wrought...
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