From the Executive Director

Throughout 2015 the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of The State Museum and Archives Complex in Harrisburg, Dauphin County. As you might expect, we will do some looking back with a full schedule of programs and events, changing exhibits, and special articles in Pennsylvania Heritage to mark this important milestone. But an anniversary...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Spring 2014 Newsletter: PHMC Launches Natural History Initiative Trails of History Sites and Museums Highlights for April – June 2014 Welcome New PHF Members Welcome New State Museum Affiliate Members PHF Board  ...
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Currents

Setting Sail One of Pennsylvania’s most exciting museums-and certainly its newest-will open its doors during the Memorial Day weekend (see “Executive Director’s Message” in the spring 1998 edition). The Erie Maritime Museum, with the U.S. Brig Niagara as its centerpiece, will join more than two dozen historic sites and museums along the well-traveled Pennsylvania Trail of...
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Executive Director’s Message

TMI. Even after twenty years, mere mention of these three letters triggers an immediate response from anyone who lived through the harrowing week beginning Wednesday, March 28, 1979, when the entire world held its collective breath and contemplated the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe. The accident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg is one of the defining events in twentieth-century...
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Attending a One-Room School in the 1930s

In the midst of the economic depression of the 1930s, my father, Hal Cornell, was a “furloughed” railroad locomo­tive foreman living with his wife and five school-aged children in a ten-dollar-a-month rented house in Burrell Town­ship, adjacent to Blairsville, in Indiana County. During two school years, my three brothers, a sister, and I attended the one­-room...
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Survival of an American Boom Town

No stirring debates reverberate through the chambers of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall; white-hot molten steel no longer pours out of the fiery cauldrons in the sprawling mills of Pittsburgh and Bethlehem; and little coal ripped from the earth by giant steam shovels in Carbon, Schuylkill, Luzerne, and Lackawanna Counties in the Keystone State’s anthracite region. As surprising as...
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Dan Desmond, Eyewitness to Energy History

Pennsylvania news writers have crowned him Pennsylvania’s Energy Czar and legions of admirers look to him as the Keystone State’s energy guru. And it’s little wonder why. Daniel J. Desmond served the Commonwealth for nearly two decades and helped guide the growth of Pennsylvania’s renewable energy industry. He joined the Pennsylvania Energy Office in 1983 and served as...
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The Shooting Stars of Drake Well

Much like other important industries in the Commonwealth – coal, iron, steel, timber, and railroading – the production of oil in northwestern Pennsylvania was fraught with danger. Among the perils petroleum speculators and drillers faced were fires, explosions, and fatal jams while shipping crude oil to market on waterways. One of the most dangerous tasks in extruding oil from the...
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Harnessing the Power of the Wind: A Contemporary Use for a Historic Energy Source

Much like the oil farms of the last century were for drillers and riggers, Pennsylvania’s wind farms are proving grounds for engineers and technicians as they harness wind power. The long-standing use of wind power that for centuries propelled sailing vessels has been transformed throughout the world to produce electricity. Farmers used wind power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth...
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