Trails for the Holidays

As summer turns to fall and you start to wonder where the time went, rest assured that the Pennsylvania Trails of History still have much to offer before 2014 winds down. Take some time to explore your favorite site – or make a first visit – and see if the pace doesn’t slow just a bit. Between changing exhibits, special events and our regular offerings, it isn’t difficult to find...
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Columbia County is Diversity

From the time of the earliest settlements during the Revolu­tionary War era to the present day, Columbia County has been three sepa­rate neighborhoods-the southern re­gion (Catawissa and Centralia); the northern area (Benton and Millville) and the north bank of the Susquehanna River (Bloomsburg and Berwick). They are distinguishable by varied physical environments, ethnic origins and social...
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Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Liberty Bell – capped by an eagle from Peale’s Museum – was enshrined in Independence Hall.   Each year thousands of Americans, as well as foreigners, travel to Philadelphia to visit the dozens of historic sites, structures and complexes associated with the nation’s independence. For many, their first stop is a small glass pavil­ion...
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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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Valley Forge: Commemorating the Centennial of a National Symbol

It is June 17, 1893. Ten men are meeting at the venerable Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Gov. Robert E. Pattison has recently signed a law entitled “An Act Provid­ing for the acquisition by the State of certain ground at Valley Forge for a public park, and making an appropriation therefor.” He has carefully selected these individuals and commissioned them with...
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Discovering Religious Diversity Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

William Penn (1644-1718) knew well the sting of discrimination and the misery of persecution for his religious beliefs. He suffered the consequences of breaking with the Church of England, leading to estrangement from his father, Admiral Sir William Penn (1621-1670). When imprisoned for attending meetings of the Society of Friends – commonly called Quakers and Friends – the younger...
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Jimmy Stewart’s Wonderful Life Began in Pennsylvania

It’s Christmas Eve 1945 in the small town of Bedford Falls. George Bailey, president of the Bailey Building and Loan Association, stands in despair at the edge of a bridge wishing he had never been born. An unscrupulous competitor, Henry F. Potter, has threatened to shut down the financial institution and see Bailey thrown into prison on the pretense of stealing the townspeople’s money. In fact,...
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