Executive Director’s Message

From the Executive Director features news and reflections on the work of PHMC by its chief administrator.

Travel Journal – July 2000

Rarely do I spend a week at public events that illustrate so poignantly the incredible scope of Pennsylvania’s past and the creative ways in which we are saving our heritage for the future.

July 3 – Gettysburg

The restoration of the battlefield officially begins with the demolition of the Gettysburg National Tower, built in the early 1970s over the strenuous objections of preservationists and state government. As the smoke from the implosion clears, a heavy rain moves in, bringing a sense of renewal. We begin to see this unique historic site without the intrusions of modern society, much in the way the veterans of that terrible time would have seen it. Only the silent monuments erected in their memory bear witness to such great sacrifice.

July 4 – New York City

A parade of tall ships includes the U.S. Brig Niagara, flagship of Pennsylvania. Dozens of historic vessels, thousands of pleasure boats, and millions of observers turn the harbor and river into a colorful pageant celebrating maritime heritage. Throughout this year’s millennium voyage – our tenth sailing season – the high regard and respect for our captain and crew have been evident. This day may be the finest moment for our historic sailing ambassador.

July 6 – Homestead

A groundbreaking ceremony is held for a new steel heritage museum at the Bost Building, union headquarters for the 1892 strike and lockout. This building and a few others are the only survivors of a vast industrial and commercial complex that dominated the landscape of the Monongahela River region. The memory of the struggles of working men and women permeates this valley and inspires new preservation initiatives. I finished the day touring sites and attractions in rural Jefferson County – a proposed weather museum in Punx­sutawney, a visitor center in Brookville, and a superb collection of internal combustion engines at the Coolspring Power Museum – a vivid contrast to the labor history landmarks where my day began.

July 7 – Warren

An archaeological field school co­-sponsored by Mercyhurst College, the Allegheny National Forest, and our Commission is concluding in a region of the forest known as the Buckaloons. The students and volunteers have collected thousands of artifacts and documented their work using a sophisticated and comprehensive mapping process. I realize that in one week I had traveled in time from a dramatic moment at Gettysburg to a place that revealed the slow pace of change over twelve thousand years of human occupation.

My travels made it quite clear that we possess, indeed, a patrimony of protean proportions!

Brent D. Glass
Executive Director