Bicentennial News

Bicentennial News features reports about the American Revolution Bicentennial in Pennsylvania, including programs, events and publications of PHMC, as well as projects and activities of the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania, county historical societies and other institutions.

Nationwide Bicentennial Competition

A nationwide Bicentennial competition has been designed to give all students in the nation’s elementary, middle and secondary schools a chance to receive widespread public recognition for their individual creative thoughts about America in the Bicentennial Era.

“My America – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” is to be the theme of the competition, sponsored jointly by the Bi­centennial Commission of Pennsylvania and the National Education Association, which boasts nearly two million members.

The competition is unique in several ways, but most un­usual is the wide scope of creative expression it hopes to draw from the nation’s student body. It has been devised to encourage students to express their patriotic thoughts in four all-encompassing areas; the arts, letters, crafts, and sciences. It also encourages them to think in terms of our na­tion’s heritage, the challenge of the Seventies, and the pros­pects for the future in framing their entries in the competi­tion.

Guidelines issued for the competition limit the child who participates only to the extent of his or her individual imagination. Projects can be voiced in musical terms or in mathematical equation, on film, on tape, on canvas, as posters, as essays, as ballads, in clay or in metal – in any medium.

Only one dimension is limiting – the physical. Participants must be able to submit their entries in packages which con­form to standard rules that govern mailing by parcel post. The Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania is providing the awards in the competition and NEA is su­pervising the administration through its national network of state educa­tion associations.

The award structure is this:

After due process, rendering through the individual state contests the several million individual entries expected in the competition, one top winner will be chosen in each state by a “selection panel” of teachers, students, and prominent persons from the respective state. This student will receive a week-long, all-expense-paid trip throughout Pennsylvania during the week of July 4, 1976, in company with his or her parents or guardians and a teacher-sponsor from the student’s school. Each student who enters the competition must designate such a teacher-sponsor on each registration form to be filled out by competing students.

Each top state winner also will receive a silver medal to be designated especially for the nationwide student competition by the Pennsylvania Bicentennial Commission and the National Education Association.

Actually there will be fifty-three top “state” winners, one for each of the fifty states and one for the District of Columbia, Guam and the combination of member schools within NEA’s Overseas Education Association, as deter­mined by the traditional geographic structure of NEA.

Each of the fifty-three winning entries in the competition will be forwarded to NEA headquarters in Washington in the Spring of 1976, where they will be displayed for a distinguished national “selection panel” to be made up of officials of the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania, NEA and a committee of prominent Americans interna­tionally renowned in the arts, letters, sciences and crafts.

The national selection panel will choose three national winners from the fifty-three regional entries. Announcement of the national winners will be reserved until July 4, 1976. National winners will be notified during special ceremonies at Independence National Park in Philadelphia on that day. All regional winners and their parents or guardians and their teacher-sponsors will be present.

The three national winners designated will receive, in respective first-, second-, and third-honor placement, cash awards of $5,000, $2,500 and $1,500 for educational pur­poses. The student named as the national first honors winner also will receive the one and only gold medal to be struck for the Bicentennial student competition.

At the state level, awards also will be made in an extensive “second honors” structure. Plans are underway to award several thousand bronze medals and citation certifi­cates to students who may qualify in this category in their home states. The teacher-sponsor for each prize-winning student also will receive a citation from the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania and the NEA.

The unique Bicentennial student competition is to begin in the nation’s schools in late May of this year and continue through January of 1976. All interested students are asked to express their interest in the competition to teachers with­in their individual schools and to obtain registration forms through their teachers before November 15, 1975. All schools in the nation-public, private, and parochial-are eligible to take part in the competition. For information and detailed rules of the “My America – Yesterday, Today, To­morrow” competition, teachers and principals are asked to contact the state offices of NEA in their respective states, not N EA national headquarters.


Perryopolis Plans

Construction in the first phase of the restoration of Washington Grist Mill, Perryopolis, is slated to begin in September [1975].

The restoration is a project of the Perryopolis Parks and Recreation Authority. The authority’ and the Perryopolis Area Historical Society said that the first phase of the res­toration will be completed by 1976 for the Bicentennial.

Included in the project’s first phase will be the construc­tion of an entrance, parking area and access road to the site at Washington Bottom, landscaping and restoration of the mill foundation to the first floor level.

The historical society plans to create a museum in the re­stored area. Upper levels of the mill will be restored later.


Perry County Plans

The Perry County Bicentennial Commission plans an his­torical pageant to commemorate the 200th birthday anni­versary of America. The pageant will begin in January [1976] and continue through May [1976] in eight locations. An historical tour of the county will also be featured as well as special church services.


Pennsylvania’s Bicentennial Doll

Dollmakers and doll costumers are invited to enter ex­amples of their craft in the contest to determine Pennsyl­vania’s Bicentennial Doll. The doll entries are to represent a state character from history or fiction.

The contest opened July 1, 1975 and closes June 15, 1976. Winners will be announced on February 28, 1976. For additional information on the contest, write Miss Peg Steel, 237 Hamilton Street, Harrisburg 17120, or “Dolls,” William Penn Memorial Museum, P.O. Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. Doll enthusiasts are urged to participate.


Polish Historical Commission

The Polish Historical Commission of the Central Council of Polish Organizations is currently involved in Bicentennial activities. Underway is a series of articles pertaining to Pennsylvania pioneer Poles in the years 1770-1790. These articles will cover the Moravians, Mennonites and Socianists, and individuals such as Mostowski, Miklaszewic, Hyman Solomon, Casimir Pulaski and Thaddeus Kosciuszko. The series is appearing in Sokol, the official publication of the Polish Falcons.

The first of the articles, on the Moravians, was written by Joseph A. Borkowski and was released in February. Persons desiring copies can write to Editor M. Wasilewski, 97 South Eighteenth Street, Pittsburgh 15203.

The Polish Historical Commission is also a sponsor of the Polish-American Bicentennial Commission of Western Penn­sylvania.


Dig Continues at Fort McIntosh

Through a grant from the Pennsylvania Bicentennial Com­mission, the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation acting as the agent of the borough of Beaver will continue its archeolog­ical dig at the site of Fort McIntosh in Beaver.

In 1974, local members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archeology uncovered four structural remains of the Fort, perhaps the first built by the Continental Army during the Revolution, north of the Ohio River, and the headquarters of what may have been the largest army to serve west of the mountains. In addition to the structural evidence more than 1,000 manmade artifacts and over 5,000 bone fragments were discovered.

The 1975 dig will be done by the same group, working this time under the guidance of Carnegie Museum.

It is anticipated that the entire part of the Fort, which lies within a public park, can be uncovered this year and be ready, with its perimeters outlined in stone and all struc­tural elements restored and preserved, in preparation for appropriate ceremonies in 1976.

Along with fort tracery will be a Flag Plaza commem­orating the soldiers from the frontier counties of Pennsyl­vania and Virginia who served at Fort McIntosh.