Romani in Pennsylvania

This fascinating early 20th-century postcard of a scene from Williamsport, Lycoming County, provides a view of life in Pennsylvania that is seldom represented in formal historic records or in preservation efforts. Cultures that exist outside the mainstream and especially those not linked to specific places pose a special challenge to historians. The word “Gypsy,” which appears on...
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Training at Indiantown Gap

  At age 19, Waldo Preston Breeden Jr. sent a postcard to his father in Pittsburgh describing his seemingly pleasant experiences at Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, in July 1938. He “found apples and berries on the range,” “shot the 37 mm. guns” (a common caliber of antitank gun at the time) and mentioned that he had a special ranking and higher pay because of his ability to drive. The...
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Shankweiler’s Hotel and Restaurant

  Shankweiler’s Hotel and Restaurant operated on Old U.S. 22 in the village of Fogelsville, Lehigh County, just west of Allentown. As this c. 1940 postcard notes, the restaurant was well known for its delicious chicken and waffles, a meal that reflects the Pennsylvania Dutch heritage of the area. This local landmark opened in June 1934 under the management of Wilson and Daisy Shankweiler,...
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Anthracite Mining and the Slavic Immigration

Those unfamiliar with Pennsylvania’s ethnic geography might be surprised to see a 1918 postcard penned in Russian like this one sent from Hazleton, Luzerne County, which translates as, “Tomorrow we are moving to a different place. Here is the address…. Greetings and kisses.” Following earlier immigration waves of primarily Northern and Western Europeans, the United States experienced an...
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Westminster College

  Founded in 1852, Westminster College in New Wilmington, Lawrence County, is one of the oldest coed colleges in the country. Its original academic quadrangle is made up of buildings dating from 1893 to 1952. Other well-preserved historic buildings remain on campus as well, most notably the 1884 Thompson House, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the nearby 1885 Hillside...
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Holtwood Dam

  In October 1905 McCall’s Ferry Power Co. began construction in Martic Township, Lancaster County, on what would be the second of four hydroelectric dams built to harness the power of the Susquehanna River below Harrisburg, Dauphin County. Twenty miles from the tidewater of the Chesapeake Bay, it was then the third longest dam in the world, built of solid concrete, 55 feet high. The...
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Luna Park, Scranton

Luna Park appears to be a magical place in this postcard. In the brief decade it existed from 1906 to 1916 in Scranton, Lackawanna County, it offered entry into another world for the admission price of only 10 cents. Located across a footbridge east of Nay Aug Park along the Roaring Brook, Luna Park was the creation of Pittsburgh entrepreneur Frederick Ingersoll (1876–1927). Ingersoll opened his...
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Lewistown Narrows

  The contrasting relief of Shade and Blue mountains with the Juniata River Valley creates a magnificent landscape near the border of Juniata and Mifflin counties. That splendor belies the obstacles that the topography has presented for engineers throughout the centuries. Archaeological excavations of the Lewistown Narrows within Juniata County have revealed artifacts dating back nearly...
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Punxsutawney Post Office

Although Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, is best known as the home of a renowned weather-forecasting groundhog, it is also a community of notable historic buildings, including the grand Classical Revival U.S. post office shown in this circa 1916 postcard. The Punxsutawney Post Office, with its imposing Ionic limestone columns, was the hub of the community’s mail services from its completion in...
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Camp Beaver

  “Hello Mary” wrote Frank Lloyd. “I’m in camp and have a fine time. You should be here.” Lloyd was at Camp Beaver, a 1914 National Guard encampment at Indiana, Indiana County. The camp was named in honor of James A. Beaver (1837-1914), decorated Civil War officer, judge of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court and governor of the Commonwealth, 1887-91. The entire National Guard of Pennsylvania was...
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