The Young Lady of Lewisburg Grows Up

The year is 1864. It is summer. The time is morning. Enter Sallie Meixell, a young woman. Wearily, Sarah Rebecca Meixell trudges up the stairs to the attic of her parents’ home in Lewisburg, lugging the cradle Annie Cowden had used. After returning it to its proper place, she gratefully sinks down and falls asleep until noon. Upon awakening she hurries to McMahon’s Store to purchase...
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The Magic of Mount Gretna: An Interview with Jack Bitner

Set in the picturesque Conewago Hills of central Pennsyl­vania, the village of Mount Gretna is a treasure of natu­ral beauty and quaint architecture. In 1882-1883, millionaire Robert H. Coleman built the Cornwall and Lebanon Railroad through these rolling hills to connect his vast ironmaking enterprises in Colebrook and Corn­wall to the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Lebanon. At the...
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Painting for Peer, Patron and the Public

For three centuries, Pennsylvania has en­joyed a rich and di­verse cultural heritage. The elegance of its colonial and federal architecture and furniture in Philadelphia is unrivaled, prompting architect Benjamin Latrobe in 1811 to christen the city “the Athens of the Western World.” During the opening years of the nine­teenth century, Philadelphia attracted artists and artisans from...
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A Voice in the Wilderness

In his book Henry Wallace, Harry Truman, and the Cold War, journalist-historian Richard J. Walton singled out one letter to exemplify the many messages received by Wallace in March 1947 after his speech criticizing the declaration of the “Truman Doctrine.” The letter was written by Josiah William Gitt, publisher of The Gazette and Daily in York, which would, the following year,...
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Styled For Worship: The Country Churches of Northwestern Pennsylvania

In Edinboro and Cam­bridge Springs they have disappeared, but at Harmonsburg, Polk, and Watsons Run they stand yet, as they do in Sugar Grove, Pleasantville, Utica, and elsewhere – country churches built by the Presbyterian congregations of northwestern Pennsylvania. Although neither found on registers of historic properties, nor listed in guidebooks of regional attractions, these houses...
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A Pennsylvania Yankee in King George’s Court

They were an odd pair. One was a commoner, a native Pennsylva­nian and son of an innkeeper on a busy road between Chester and Philadel­phia; the other, a king who could trace his royal ancestry through several centuries. In spite of their disparate back­grounds and the tumultuous period during which their countries were pitted against each other, the American colon­ist and the monarch of Great...
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The Missionary and the Clockmaker: A Saga of Two Brothers-In-Law

Scion of a decayed Anglo-Irish Ascend­ancy family of Ireland’s County Monaghan, the young Rev. Thomas Barton journeyed in spring 1755 through the largely unbroken forests of Pennsylvania to the settlement known at the time as Contwager or Conewago. He made his way – “over Susquehanna,” as the contem­porary traveler commonly described it-to lands lying along the Bermudian...
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Thirty Years Ago Today: R. Wakefield Roberts and His Community Civic League Respond to History

The explosion of Black protest in the 1950s and 1960s – in both the North and the South – surprised many Americans who were unaware of the deep unrest in their midst. But one Pennsylvania community had a different solution to the abusive conditions with which its African American community was forced to live. In 1964, many of the descendants of the African Americans who had staked...
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Introducing… Team Heritage

Behind every successful maga­zine, there’s a hard-working, dedicated staff – a team, really. All good publications demand teamwork, and Pennsylvania Heritage is no exception. There’s a deadline on every horizon, editorial calendars that seem to project endlessly into the future, and production schedules that resemble a multi-dimensional Rube Goldberg device. The individuals who...
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Harmony in the Wilderness: A Walk through Old Economy Village

Imagine a band of religious zealots creating a community, furnishing households, and planting flowers on western Pennsylvania’s frontier with the absolute certainty that the second coming was imminent and that Jesus Christ would walk the garden paths and be made welcome in their homes. That’s what George Rapp (1757-1847) and his harmonist followers believed. Such was his confidence...
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