Berks County: Diamond of the Schuylkill Valley

Since 1811, when Schuylkill County was created to include part of what had been northern Berks County, Berks has been distinguishable by its diamond shape. It approxi­mates a geometric diamond or lozenge – an equilateral paral­lelogram without right angles. Its history also seems diamond-like, as it has com­bined a very hard, cutting, and persistently pragmatic charac­teristic with a...
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Philadelphia – As They See It

Interpreting a city through the eyes of its artists offers unusual – if not unique­ – perspectives and insights. As these artists choose a wide variety of styles and media, so, too, they select landmarks, people, and special moments not only to convey a portrait of their city, but to capture its spirit and collective psyche as well. Their resulting images prove diverse; they are...
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Lost and Found

Lost Designed in 1886 by acclaimed American architect Frank Furness (1839-1912), the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company’s passenger station in Philadelphia was largely completed within two years. The terminal, photographed in 1929, was located at Twenty-Fourth and Chestnut Streets. Passenger service from this grand depot ceased in 1958. Following a fire, the building was demolished in...
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Shorts

“A Patchwork of Pennsylvania” at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Saturday, June 7 [1997], will explore the state’s quilt heritage. Harrisburg quilt makers will explain the materials and demonstrate the techniques of the craft. Visitors may meet and lunch with Lucinda Cawley, Lorraine Ezbiansky, and Denise Nordberg, authors of the book, Saved for the People of Pennsyl­vania:...
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Down the Main Line

For forty years I ran both freight and passenger trains down the Main Line of the Reading Railroad (later Conrail), from Pottsville, in Schuylkill County, to Philadelphia. I was hired as a fireman in 1941 and shoveled my share of coal to keep those old steamers rolling. After my stint in the Army in World War II, I returned to my job and was ultimately promoted to engineman, running steam...
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Bridging the Past for the Future

Because Pennsylvania was one of the first settled areas of the United States, it should come as little surprise that it possesses one of the most interesting collections of historic bridges of any state. Its ever-expanding population and consequent transportation requirements made the Keystone State a pioneer in transportation innovation, particularly in the design of bridges. Following the...
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1876 Centennial Craze Sweeps into Philadelphia!

This spring marks the one hundred and thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the International Exhibition of Art, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine, better known as the Centennial International Exhibition, staged to mark the one hundredth anniversary of American independence. Opening Day, Wednesday, May 10, 1876, welcome more than one hundred thousand visitors, and by closing day,...
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Hummelstown Brownstone: A Victorian Era Treasure

Builders and contractors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries prized brownstone as one of the best and most versatile masonry materials in the United States. Whether used for curbing, windowsills,steps, lintels, stoops, foundations, and tombstones, or to grace the finest mansions as intricately carved statues or coping, brownstone filled the bill. Eminent American architects...
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Making Peace on the Gettysburg Battlefield, Fifty Years Later

For six frenetic days in 1913, from Sunday, June 29, through Saturday, July 4, two armies – fifty-four thousand strong combined – invaded Gettysburg for a second time. They fought the first time a half century earlier, July 1-3, 1863, and were looking forward, admittedly many anxiously, to facing each other again. It wasn’t a fight they anticipated at the second meeting,...
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Giving a New Shine to an Old Boot and Shoe Factory

Named for Tahkamochk (or Tam-a-kwah), a Tuscarora Indian chief of the Turkey Clan, Tamaqua, in northeastern Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County, was known as the “the land where the beaver dwells in the water” and “the valley among four mountains.” It began as an anthracite (hard coal) mining town with related manufacturing interests. Tamaqua’s first settler, Burkhart Moser, is credited with...
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