Northumberland County: The Mother County

Although named for the most northern of England’s shires, Northumberland County has been often called by many the “Mother County.” Organized on March 21, 1772, as Pennsylvania’s tenth county, at one time it encom­passed eighteen thousand square miles! The county once extended from the Lehigh to the Allegheny rivers, with the New York border as its north­ern boundary. Its...
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A Capital Idea! A Brief and Bumpy History of Pennsylvania’s Capitols

A mere one hundred or so miles separate Philadelphia’s Chestnut and Harrisburg’s Third streets. But the path­ – metaphorically, at least­ – between the Keystone State’s first and final capitol build­ings seems far longer and rockier than geography suggests. From the Commonwealth’s earliest days, when the government met in Philadelphia’s elegant State...
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The Bucktails

Three days after the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor on April 15, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued an emergency call for troops to help defend the nation’s capital. Thomas Leiper Kane (1822–1883), scion of a prominent Philadelphia family, helped raise a mounted rifle regiment in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier counties of Cameron, Elk, McKean, and...
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Lost and Found

Lost The Middle Creek Hydroelectric Dam, located three miles south of Selinsgrove, in eastern Snyder County, a significant example of a timber crib dam and small electric generating station, was typical of early rural electrification efforts in the United States. It was also a major component of a plan to modernize and promote an economically depressed area. George W. Wagenseller, a resident of...
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Digging Fort Hunter’s History

Over the past five years, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) archaeologists conducted investigations at Fort Hunter, the site of a French and Indian War fortification located six miles north of Harrisburg. Hundreds of fort period (1756-1763) artifacts have been recovered along with the identification of a water well, bake oven, and the remains of a road or defensive ditch. In...
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