The Pennsylvania Turnpike, From Tollbooths to Tunnels: Rediscovering America’s First Superhighway at 75

Few Pennsylvania-born celebrities have made the kind of splash that the Pennsylvania Turnpike did when it first arrived on the scene in October 1940. Its 160 miles of limited-access, four-lane paved highway across the Alleghenies were hailed as America’s answer to the Autobahn, Germany’s highly regarded network of high-speed “super roads.” After the war, as the United States’ population expanded...
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The Great Escape: Camping in the 19th Century

During the turbulent nineteenth century, Americans were as mobile as wheels, waterways and ambition could make them. The population was preoccupied with carving out a new nation, emigrating, pioneering, surveying, sod busting, prospecting for gold and, fundamentally, attempt­ing to preserve body and soul. With the surge westward and the consuming desire to push on to the frontiers, there was a...
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Celebrating a Century and a Half: The Geologic Survey

The Pennsylvania Geo­logical Survey, offi­cially known today as the Bureau of Topo­graphic and Geologic Survey, and one of the bureaus of the Department of Environmental Resources, is one of only a very few of the Common­wealth’s executive branch agencies whose history can be traced to the first half of the nineteenth century. Created in 1836, the survey spawned three subsequent geologic...
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Centre County

Centre County, as its name implies, geographically is Pennsylvania’s central county. The first known residents to inhabit its lands were the Munsee and Shawnee Indians from the Delaware River. Before 1725 these Indians began to move westward, first to the Susquehanna, later to the Ohio. The Iroquois, who claimed the Susquehanna country, assigned one of their chiefs – a man best known...
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The Piney Dam and Spillway on Clarion River

A tributary of the Allegheny River, the Clarion River snakes through northwestern Pennsylvania for 110 miles, draining the mountainous region of the Allegheny Plateau of the Ohio River watershed. For much of the nineteenth century, loggers used the river to raft lumber to market. Historians believe that James V. Cassatt piloted the last lumber raft on the river from Clarington, Forest County, to...
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