The Early Days of the William Penn Highway: How Present-Day U.S. Route 22 Got its Start

At the dawn of the automobile age, the major roadways crossing Pennsylvania were rutted, dusty, farm-to-market thoroughfares traveled mainly by horses and wagons. Many of these were still privately owned turnpikes, some with wooden-plank road surfaces. Most towns had improved streets, but the paving, if any, usually ended at the city line. Stagecoach lines still operated here and there, but...
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Alfred King’s Forgotten Fossil Footprints

The science of paleontology – the study of ancient life based on fossils – began in Western Europe about 1800. It soon cropped up in the United States, as the populace of a young and growing nation discovered many fossils. Among these early discoveries were those of fossil footprints, most famously found during the early 1800s in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts and...
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Live From Pittsburgh

It was the evening of Tues­day, November 2, 1920. In Pittsburgh’s cold, rainswept streets, patient crowds stood waiting for the Harding-Cox presidential election returns to be posted on newspaper bulletin boards. Meanwhile, across town in a makeshift shack atop one of the Westinghouse Company’s factory buildings in the city’s Turtle Creek section, Leo H. Rosenberg began...
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Pittsburgh’s Designing Women

A man does not marry an artist, but a housekeeper …. I put away my brushes; resolutely crucified my divine gift, and while it hung writhing on the cross, spent my best years and powers cooking cabbage.” So wrote Jane Grey Swisshelm (1815-1884) of Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County. Swisshelm’s bittersweet memoirs recall the painful sacrifice that she made to the Victorian code of...
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Radio Station KDKA

On Tuesday evening, November 2, 1920, about one thousand people in the Pittsburgh area listened to the results of the presidential election of candidates Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox on “wireless” receivers. Transmitted by a one hundred-watt station that would become KDKA, this was something new-radio broadcasting. And radio would revolutionize communication just as the...
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