News and Notes

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

On the Cover

“Green Glen Drive” was painted by Richard Burfoot sometime after 1895 when he settled in DuBois, Clearfield County. Born in Sussex, England in 1866, Burfoot immigrated to this country at age twenty-one, establishing himself first in Pittsburgh. Poor health. however, forced him from the city. and he retreated to his wife’s hometown of DuBois. Although he later moved to New York, his ties to Clearfield County remained and, until his death in 1939, he retained a summer home in the mountains at Luthersburg near the site of this painting.

This scene depicts the wooded lane which led to the country cabin of John E. DuBois, son of Clearfield County’s lumbering giant. Out of the forest which surrounded that lodge, John Du Bois carved a multi-million dollar lumbering empire. helping to make the Commonwealth a leading lumbering state during the second half of the nineteenth century.


Eckley Miners’ Village Opens

Since opening last July, Eckley Miners’ Village and Visitors Center has been providing a glimpse of life in an anthracite mining town as it was from 1850 through the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Typical of mining towns once found throughout the anthracite region, Eckley features the wood-frame homes of miners and mine owners, as well as former Catholic and Episcopal churches, restored to the periods of the 1920s and 1860s, respectively. The visitors center has on exhibit artifacts and period photographs illustrating the spectrum of village life: birth, marriage, death, religion, medicine, education and household work. A small auditorium, offices and other facilities are also included in the center.

Eckley and the Council Ridge Colliery were founded in 1854 by Sharp, Weiss and Company on land leased from the Tench Coxe estate of Philadelphia. Beginning in 1874, the Coxe family operated or leased the mining enterprises and the village of Eckley until 1963, when mining opera­tions were stopped and the property sold to George Huss. In 1969, Paramount Pictures used Eckley to make the movie, “The Molly Maguires,” calling attention to the historic value of the village. Anthracite Museum and Historic Site, Inc., organized by citizens from greater Hazel· ton, then purchased the property and deeded the village to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The village is the latest addition to the PHMC Anthra­cite Museum Complex, which also includes the Ashland Anthracite Museum, concentrating on mining technology; the Scranton Anthracite Museum. specializing in the economic and cultural development of the anthracite region; and the Scranton Iron Furnaces, focusing on the early iron industry.

Eckley Miners’ Village emphasizes the region’s social and cultural life. Speaking at last summer’s dedication ceremonies, Walter Baran, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, said, “Eckley Miners’ Village, by its preservation and interpretation, helps to tell the human side, the story of people, and their role in the growth, development and impact of a major industry here in northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Just off Route 940, Eckley Miners’ Village lies eight miles east of Hazelton. During the winter months the village is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. and on Sunday from noon to 4:30 P.M. Admission is one dollar; senior citizens and children under twelve are admitted free. For further information, write to the Direc­tor, Eckley Miners’ Village, Rural Route 2, Box 236, Weatherly 18255, or call (717) 636-2070.


James Biddle Heads States First Preservation Board

James Biddle, a Bucks countian and former president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the nation’s largest preservation organization. is returning to his native Pennsylvania and will head 1he Commonwealth’s first Historic Preservation Board. Established by the Historic Preservation Act of 1978, the board will help to develop the Commonwealth’s comprehensive historic preservation program administered by the PHMC through its Office of Historic Preservation. The 15-member board will also advise the Commission on the criteria of significance for nominating historic resources to the National Register of Historic Places. The Historic Preservation Board replaces the National Register Review Committee originally charged with recommending historic buildings, structures and sites to the National Register.

Pennsylvania is fortunate to be able to call upon some­one as chairman for the new board whose experience and enthusiasm has helped to shape the role that historic preser­vation is taking today. Biddle, under whose leadership the National Trust for Historic Preservation grew from 12,000 to 160,000 members, served as president of the non-profit organization for 12 1/2 years, until June 30 [1980]. During his tenure, the National Trust established field and legal ser­vices, maritime projects. rural conservation programs, and expanded educational and grants programs.


Railroader’s Museum Opens in Altoona

A new Railroader’s Memorial Museum featuring displays of railroad memorabilia and artifacts was recently opened al Ninth Avenue and Thirteenth Street in Altoona. The museum was established in recognition of the vital role rail­roaders and shopworkers played in the history. develop­ment and growth not only of Altoona, but the entire coun­try.

The 5.3-acre complex includes a museum building. an adjoining auditorium-meeting room and a large yard display area for rolling stock. The main building. with its one story and wood exterior, is made to resemble an original railroad shop building. Visitors may examine railroad items donated by some of Altoona’s long-time collectors or view the yard display from an elevated walkway inside the building. The Loretto, a K4 Locomotive. and other historic trains are just a sample of some of these yard exhibits. Other attractions include a six hundred-square-foot working model train lay­out and audio-visual presentations on Altoona and railroad history. The meeting room, with a seating capacity of one hundred. is designed for use by community members and organizations. The room is connected to 1he main building in turn-of-the-century railroad architectural style.

The museum was established through the efforts or Center Associates, along with Altoona businessmen, in­dustrialists, professional people and concerned citizens. With the city’s railroading heritage already evident in such attractions as the nationally known Horseshoe Curve and the Portage and East Broadtop Railroads, the new museum is one more reason why Altoona might be called a mecca for railroad buffs and hobbyists.

More information may be obtained by contacting Robert L. Emerson. Museum Director, P.O. Box 1941, Altoona 16603.


Women Graduates Honored at Museum

Last spring. ten Pennsylvania women made history as they graduated among the first class to include women at the United States service academies and embarked upon unprecedented careers as commissioned military officers. To help preserve the memory of this historic event. the women have donated uniforms from their respective academies to the William Penn Memorial Museum in Harrisburg for permanent keeping. William J. Wewer, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Com­mission, received the gifts at a special recognition ceremony for the academy graduates last spring.

The commemoration, which took place outside the William Penn Museum, paid tribute to the Pennsylvania women graduates or the Military Academy, West Point, New York; the Naval Academy. Annapolis, Maryland; the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs. Colorado; and the Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut. The observance was highlighted by Gov, Dick Thornburgh’s remarks to the families. military personnel. veterans and state officials who gathered in honor of the ten women. Emphasizing the event’s significance to the state, Genevieve Blatt, Commonwealth court judge and co-chair of the ceremony planning committee, noted that Pennsylvania was among the states with the most women graduates in the class of 1980.

The jackets, skirts, trousers and hats donated to the museum now belong to one of the most complete collec­tions of women’s military uniforms in the country. A 1916 Navy Yeomanette uniform is the oldest piece among the group, which also includes nurses’ uniforms from both world wars and Women’s Army Corps (WAC) uniforms from World War II. Currently in storage, the collection will be displayed according to periodic themes at the William Penn and Pennsylvania Military Museums.

Recognizing the increasingly important roles women have played in United States military history, the PHMC is proud to have hosted an event which marks a new era of military service for women. The uniforms presented to the museum not only symbolize the personal achievements of their donors, but also document a greater cultural progress of which both men and women can be proud.