Pennsbury Manor Welcoming Visitors for 75 Years

The year 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of Pennsbury Manor, the reconstructed estate of Pennsylvania’s founder William Penn (1644-1718), located along the Delaware River near Morrisville in Bucks County. On March 9, 2014, in commemoration of the anniversary, the original 1681 charter from King Charles II of England granting the land that became Pennsylvania to Penn was...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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Pennsylvania Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1800-1950

The primary focus of this series of four articles is the architectural heritage of Pennsylvania through the past three centuries. However, in the context of history, architecture is neither an isolated creation nor an assured cultural resource for the future. As buildings ore the products of the interaction of many facets of a society, so. too, the preservation of architecture is the result of...
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Okie Speaks for Pennsbury, Part I

It is no secret that restoring an old house presents a number of headaches, not the least being the question of authenticity. But imagine what it is like to virtually re-create a structure that has been missing for over a century. Most architects would claim that it is impossible, even with good drawings and the best intentions. Never­theless, with a streak of optimism and the blessing of...
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Pennsbury Manor, The Philosopher’s Garden

Pennsbury Manor, William Penn’s reconstructed country estate north of Philadelphia, is a profoundly peaceful place. The Delaware River glides by the manor house’s front door, stately trees shade the site, and sheep dot the pastures. Rescued from an encroaching gravel quarry in the 1930s, the forty-three acre farm is a pastoral remnant of the founder’s original...
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Celebrating Fifty Years of State Historical Markers

On a September day in 1946, three men stood alongside U.S. Route 22, fourteen miles east of Harrisburg, inspecting a distinctive blue and gold sign that had just been erected. They were James H. Duff, chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (who in four months would be inaugurated the Commonwealth’s thirty­-fourth governor), and Commission members Charles G. Webb and...
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Grave Sites, Petroglyphs, and Relics: The Turn of the Century Archaeology of David Herr Landis

Thousands of years ago, travelers from northeastern Asia­ – ancestors of Native Americans – followed the animals they hunted into what had once been inaccessible regions of Alaska. Over the newly-formed land bridge at the Bering Strait they came, eventually spreading across the North American continent, including the territory that became Pennsylvania. In the Commonwealth, as...
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To Forge History for the Future

Not infrequently, the history of how an object, artifact, or even building or structure has been preserved for the future is every bit at least as interesting as the reasons for which it was saved. Historical organizations and cultural institutions – from large city museums to county historical societies – brim with compelling “behind-the-scenes” stories that provide...
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Our First Friends, the Early Quakers

Armed with a charter granted by England’s King Charles II, William Penn (1644-1718) and one hundred travel-weary Quakers arrived in the New World aboard the Welcome on October 27, 1682, with the intention of establishing the founder’s “holy experiment,” a colony that would be free of the religious persecution they suffered abroad. Once safely docked in the Delaware Bay at...
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