The Value of Pennsylvania History

George W. Bush won the presidential election of 2000 because the fifty states cast more electoral votes for him, even though more people actually voted for his opponent, Albert A. Gore Jr. The election reminded Americans about a curious institution called the Electoral College, and an equally peculiar system known as federalism in which each state conducts elections according to distinct laws...
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Specifications for Mexican War Monument

Over the years more than one hundred temporary special commissions have been created by acts of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania to function as independent administrative bodies for limited periods of time under the jurisdiction of the governor. They were independent in that they were not established as a dependent commission under the purview of an existing state agency or department. Their...
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The Pennsylvania Archives Turns 100! An Interview with State Archivist Frank M. Suran

2003 marks the centennial of the Pennsylvania State Archives, the oldest component of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency, and State Archivist Frank M. Suran knows its history bet­ter than anyone else. An archivist’s responsibilities include a multitude of tasks. Suran discusses his beginnings at the State Archives,...
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Bookshelf

Devastation and Renewal: An Environmental History of Pittsburgh and its Region Edited by Joel A. Tarr University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004 (281 pages, cloth, $32.00) Visitors to Pittsburgh in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were invariably shocked by the ways in which industrial development dominated the landscape. Steel mills sprawled across hundreds of acres along the rivers. Land and...
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Letters to the Editor

Make the Connection I just discovered your fine magazine at my neighborhood branch library. “The Watering of Philadelphia” [by Charles Hardy III, Spring 2004] gave me a great appreciation for the one resource I think many of us take for granted. When I drive through Philadelphia neighborhoods and see all the hot tubs, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, fountains, ponds, lawn sprinklers, and...
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Letters

Worthy of Note The Summer 2006 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage was warmly received in no small measure due to the well-written articles about Edwin Austin Abbey [“Edwin Austin Abbey, A Capital Artist” by Nancy Mendes] and Joseph Leidy [“Joseph Leidy, A Natural Observer” by Tom Huntington]. The article on the now vanished silk indus- try in Pennsylvania was also worthy of...
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Karl Mason (1915-1966)

If asked to describe his life’s work, those who remember Karl Mason would most likely exclaim, “He wanted to clean up the world!” If pressed to date the beginning of environmental regulation by a single state agency, many Penn­sylvanians would probably choose 1970, the year the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources – predecessor to the Commonwealth’s...
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Welcome to Kuppy’s: A Central Pennsylvania Diner Turns 80!

Charles Selcher was twenty years old when Kuppy’s Diner opened on August 5, 1933, at the corner of Brown and Poplar Streets in Middletown, Dauphin County. He was born in 1913 on a farm three miles west of the borough, along what is now state Route 230, and had known co-owner Karl Kupp since the seventh grade. The young men graduated in 1931 from Middletown High School. Selcher went on to...
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Nuclear Accident at Three Mile Island

On March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear accident in the history of the United States occurred at the Three Mile Island (TMI) Nuclear Power Station near Middletown, Dauphin County. The scope of the physical accident was relatively small, but the impact on the country’s nuclear power industry was enormous. On March 28, 1979, the worst nuclear accident in the history of the United States...
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“Atoms for Peace” in Pennsylvania

In 1957, Shippingport, along the Ohio River in far western Pennsylvania, became home to America’s first commercial nuclear power plant under President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program. Just two decades later, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) converted the Beaver County plant to a light water breeder reactor that successfully demonstrated the feasibility...
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