News and Notes

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

Regional Workshop at Beaver Falls

Six participants in the program of the regional workshop sponsored by the Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies at Beaver Falls, November 5, 1977, were, Edward A. Sahli, Bicentennial Chairman, Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation; Frank Carver, Beaver Heritage Society; Albert Goldsmith, Program Chairman, Pennsylvania Federation of Historical Societies; Louis Waddell, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Vivian McLaughlin, Carnegie Library, Beaver; and Robert Bonnage, Assistant Chairman, Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation. Promotion of history in Beaver County was the subject of discussion.

 

22nd Institute of Life and Culture Set for Landis Valley

The twenty-second annual Institute of Pennsylvania Rural Life and Culture will be held at the Pennsylvania Farm Museum of Landis Valley, located near Lancaster, June 20 to 23. The six seminars and seven workshops will present “a continuing perspective upon early American daily life,” the theme of the Institute.

Seminar topics will be: “You Rusty Canaller, You’ll Never Get Rich”; “Pennsylvania Antiques-1978 Edition”; “Ethnic Identity in Pennsylvania German History”; “Garden and Table”; “Social, Cultural, and Political History of Pennsylvania, 1776-1876”; and “Baskets and Their Makers in Pennsylvania from Early Times to Present – An Analysis of a Folk Craft.”

Craft workshops, emphasizing the mastery of basic traditional techniques associated with the respective crafts, will teach ryestraw basketry, traditional wall stenciling, cornhusk braiding, traditional tinsmithing, explanation and practical use of pump-boring tools, fanciful graining on wood, and American toleware painting.

In addition to the daily program, evening activities will draw upon the historical and cultural resources in the Lancaster vicinity.

For additional information write the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Institute, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120. The Institute is sponsored by the Com­mission and the Landis Valley Associates.

 

State Capitol Entered On Historical Register

On September 14, 1977, the Pennsylvania State Capitol was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built between 1902 and 1906, the Capitol contains more than six hundred rooms and covers two acres.

The National Register is the nation’s catalog of his­torically and architecturally significant sites and structures. Maintained by the National Park Service under the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Register identifies those properties worthy of preservation as national historic resources.

Stylistically the Capitol is a fine example of Italian Renaissance architecture, with a harmonious blending of Greek and Roman classical features. The building has three sections: the Senate wing to the north, the House of Representatives wing to the south, and a central-rotunda section below the main dome. The dome rises 272 feet from the ground and was designed after the church of St. Peter in Rome. Atop the dome sits the golden figure known as “Miss Penn,” which symbolizes the common­wealth.

The art of Pennsylvanians can be found throughout the Capitol from the statues of George Grey Barnard, which flank the main entrance, to the tile-mosaic floors of Henry C. Mercer. The awarding of National Register status to the Pennsylvania State Capitol is an honor of which all Pennsylvanians can be proud.

 

Bicentennial Activities

An accounting of the Bicentennial activities of historical societies in Pennsylvania was begun in the June, 1977, issue of Heritage. Because of the extent of historical society involvement the list of events has continued through several issues. The present report not only brings the survey to an end but underscores the pervasive enthusiasm that charac­terized societal involvement with the Bicentennial and the renewed vigor demonstrated by numerous organizations.

Restoration projects were undertaken by several groups. The Colonial Dames of America refurbished its head­quarters house, Lemon Hill. Historic Delaware ‘County restored the Thomas Leiper Mansion in Wallingford.

Publications continued to be popular. An 1890 county atlas was published by the Cambria County Historical Society. The Presbyterian Historical Society published a special issue of the Journal of Presbyterian History on “Presbyterians and the American Revolution.” The Fayette County Development Council published Bicentennial Reflections. The History of Centre and Clinton Counties, by John Blair Linn, was reproduced by the Centre County Historical Society as well as Centre County Heritage.

Especially extensive were the activities of the Colonial Philadelphia Historical Society. Its programs included a speakers series, the restoration of Mikveh Israel Cemetery, and an essay contest for students. The Sun Inn Preserva­tion Association recreated the visit to Bethlehem and the Sun Inn of George Washington. The Strongstown Historical Society sponsored an antique display; a slide and tape show on local history between 1750 and 1800 formed the central portion of the observance of the Adams County Historical Society. The Historical Society of Berks County printed a teachers manual and history guide, sponsored a history fair for county schools, and held a formal dinner-dance.

Juniata County decided to initiate a large membership drive for its society in 1976. In St. Marys the society came up with the unique idea of presenting an air show. On the other hand the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society adopted a more serious approach with a lecture on the contributions of the German Reformed people to the cause of the American colonies. A walking-tour guide and an arts and craft festival were arranged by the Middletown Area Historical Society.

Few events of 1976 were as exciting as the Swedish Colonial Society’s participation in the official reception for Carl XVI, King of Sweden. The society also held Sweden Day at Gloria Dei Church. The Upper Merion Park and Historic Foundation contributed financial assistance to the King of Prussia Inn restoration. The Hulmeville borough society sponsored numerous activities including band concerts and a slide presentation. The Tredyffrin-Easttown History Club held a joint meeting of regional historical societies and heard several fine lectures. A series of craft shows, which reached fifteen thousand students, was originated by the Harmonist Historic and Memorial Association. The Conshohocken Historical Society commemorated the bicentennial with a parade, flag-raising ceremonies, an escort for the Wagon Train, and a Heritage Day.