Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Loved Lizzie!

I just loved your article on Lizzie Stride [“A Champion for All Seasons” by Barbara Gregorich, Summer 1998]! I see Pennsylva­nia Heritage only occasionally (when I return home to visit family in Pennsylva­nia) but each time I do, I’m extremely impressed. The photographs in this article were great. It made one feel – as Walter Cronkite used to say on television – “You Were There.” The cover story [“Sparking a Rock’n’Roll Revolution: An Interview with Dick Clark” by William C. Kashatus] and the feature on the garment union’s sum­mer resort [“Unity House, A Workers’ Shangri-La” by Kenneth C. Wolensky] were most enjoyable. In fact, the entire issue was perfectly timed for summer reading. Bravo!

Elissa M. Perry
Santa Fe, N.M.


Second Time Around

In the Fall 1998 “Letters to the Editor,” Richard B. Strattan, historic site adminis­trator of Cornwall Iron Furnace, postu­lates that the stone from Robert H. Cole­man’s mansion could not have been used in the construction of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Lebanon, in 1879-1880. This is true of the mansion he refers to, which was indeed razed in 1914. However, there was a previous Robert H. Coleman man­sion, which he intended to be the home of his first bride, Lillie Clark. This was start­ed in 1879, but due to Lillie’s death and disputes with his architect, William Pow­ell of Philadelphia, Coleman ordered work stopped as of May 31, 1880, and the mansion destroyed without trace. To that point, $68,000 had been spent – about three to four million dollars today – and the nearby stable and carriage house had been completed at a cost of $43,500. Fortu­nately, this magnificent stable remains today. There is no doubt in my mind that stones from the first mansion were used in St. Luke’s Church, where Lillie was buried beneath the altar. I have recently satisfied myself that I know where the first mansion was located, about three hundred yards west of the second, near the stable.

Jack Bitner
Mt. Gretna, Pa.

Jack Bitner is Mount Gretna’s historian (see “The Magic of Mount Gretna: An Interview with Jack Bitner” by Diane B. Reed, Spring 1992). Robert Habersham Coleman (1856-1930), called by Bitner “the godfather of Mount Gretna,” was discussed in Sharon Silverman’s “A Blast from the Past: Cornwall Iron Furnace,” which appeared in the Spring 1998 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage.


The Man, His House

I enjoyed Lorett Treese’s “‘Your Future Depends on Yourself’: Asa Packer as the Self-Made Man” [Fall 1998] because I fre­quently visit Jim Thorpe. I am (and should be) embarrassed to write that I have never visited his mansion, even though it’s located in a park in the heart of the community. After seeing the photo­graph of the mansion’s wonderful interior, I’m scheduling a tour during my next visit. Thank you for the biography of this fascinating man and for enlightening me about his beautiful house. After visiting many historic house museums in the Philadelphia area (including New Jersey and Delaware), I can hardly wait to see this Victorian jewel box.

Susan F. Souders-Milne
Philadelphia, Pa.

Thanks for explaining the mystery of Asa Packer. I knew a little bit about his con­nection to Mauch Chunk, the Lehigh Val­ley Railroad, and Lehigh University. I did not realize that he was born in Connecti­cut, and I had no idea that at the time of his death he was the richest man in Penn­sylvania. And that was before the advent of taxes. Wow! How much was he worth?

Eric G. Blumenthal
Philadelphia, Pa.

At his death in 1879, Asa Packer’s holdings were valued by the Harrisburg Daily Patriot of May 20, 1879, at twenty million dollars.


Does It Again!

William C. Kashatus does it again! His lat­est interview [“Preserving Philadelphia: A Conversation with Charles E. Peterson, F.A.I.A.,” Fall 1998] touched on historic buildings, Philadelphia, historic preserva­tion, the National Park Service, architects, Independence National Historical Park and, most important, people. I enjoyed learning about Mr. Peterson’s contribu­tions to the field of historic preservation. What an accomplishment! Thank you.

Gail M. Stinton
Pittsburgh, Pa.