WWII Target: Altoona

The tale of the bold but fizzled 1942 Nazi plot to sabotage the Horseshoe Curve railroad landmark near Altoona, Pennsylvania, has been told in books and articles almost since the day the spy-thriller story began to unfold. First came a juvenile-fiction account in 1944 titled The Long Trains Roll by Stephen W. Meader. It recounts the story of Operation Pastorius, a wry allusion to the theme of...
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Terror and Extortion on the Pennsylvania Railroad

Threats of terrorism and challenges to security are nothing new for railroads; these phenomena have been around for nearly 200 years of railroading in the United States. Safety and security, therefore, have been of the utmost importance for railroad lines from the 19th century to the present, and railroad police have had authority equivalent to state police in many locations. Yet, the amount of...
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Editor’s Letter

With the recent premiere of Country Music, director Ken Burns has launched another epic PBS TV docuseries that amplifies the significance of an enduring American institution. In this issue’s cover story, “High on a Mountain,” we follow up with a look at Pennsylvania’s key role in the evolution of country music and the state’s later contributions to the genre. Author Joe Baker takes us on a...
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The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania: Smithsonian Affiliation and New Museum History Book

Smithsonian Affiliations has accepted the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania as one of its newest members, clearing the way for the eventual exhibition of Smithsonian artifacts at the site in Strasburg, Lancaster County. “This type of association with the Smithsonian gives you instant credibility” said Jeffrey Bliemeister, director of the Railroad Museum. “It’s a good marketing tool that I hope...
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The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1893

Six-year-old Harry Snyder had slept fit­fully and awoke at dawn to the first silts of sunlight piercing his bed­room window. He heard the softly muffled rumble of a train descending the nearby mountain. The sound grew alarmingly louder with an ur­gency that sent a chill through the young boy’s body. He leaped out of bed and rushed to the window to see the train gliding around the curve in...
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Blair County: Center of Transportation

Blair County was among the last counties created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. One factor which delayed the establishment of an additional county in the southern portion of central Pennsylvania was geography. The rugged, eastern slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, in which Blair County was eventually located, diverted settlers to other areas. Only after the discovery of iron ore...
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Teetering on the Brink of Rebellion?

Nineteenth century Harrisburg’s most rousing labor disorders erupted in July 1877 as part of the wave of spontaneous railway strikes sweeping the nation. The rioting that disrupted the quiet city overlooking the broad Susquehanna River was part of the country’s first wide­spread labor upheaval. The Great Railway Strikes, in turn, were a product of the Panic of 1873, then in its...
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Bookshelf

Crossroads of Commerce: The Pennsylvania Railroad Calendar Art of Grif Teller by Dan CupperGreat Eastern Publishing, 1992 (184 pages, cloth, $69.95) From its infancy as a mere sixty-one mile track running through central Pennsylvania’s deep forests and river valleys, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) eventually emerged as a giant of the railroading industry, known throughout the world for...
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Shorts

An exhibition of prints, pastels, drawings, and oil paintings by J. Howard Iams (1897-1964) to commemorate the bicentennial of the Whiskey Rebellion (see “The Whiskey Boys Versus the Watermelon Army” by Jerry Clouse in the spring 1991 issue, and “The Tax Collector of Bower Hill” by Chadwick Allen Harp in the fall 1992 edition) is on view at the Westmoreland Museum of Art...
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Shorts

On Saturday, May 14, 1994, guides at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site will demonstrate traditional sheep­-shearing methods with both period and modern hand-held tools. They will also discuss the importance of farms and farming practices to an 1830s industrial community. To obtain additional details, write: Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, 2 Mark Bird Ln., Elverson, PA 19520; or...
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