Uniontown’s Prince of the Gilded Age

Nothing captures the attention of the press more than a good scandal. In Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in January 1915, it had one. The financial collapse of coal baron Josiah V. Thompson, and the ruin of his bank, summoned a reporter from the New York Tribune to the Fayette County seat. Stepping off at the Pennsyl­vania Railroad station, the unidentified reporter hurried to Thompson’s office...
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Pennsylvania Woman as Politician: Cornelia Bryce Pinchot (1881-1960)

On May 5, 1933, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a chauffeured limousine arrived at a textile factory. From inside the car emerged a tall, slender, red-haired woman whose bearing indicated social standing and purposeful self-confidence. De­spite a steady rain, the lady joined a picket line made up of girls from thirteen to eighteen years of age who had struck in protest of working conditions they...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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Ninety-Five Years of the Pennsylvania Society: A “Who’s Who” of Business and Politics

From industrialist Andrew Carnegie to television personality Mister Rogers, The Pennsylvania Society has both honored and drawn its energy from prominent personages of the Commonwealth’s civic, business, academic, entertain­ment, and government circles for nearly a century. Best known for its legendary annual December awards dinner that lasts for but a few hours each year, the organization...
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Bookshelf

Connie Mack’s ’29 Triumph: The Rise and Fall of the Philadelphia Athletics Dynasty by William C. Kashatus McFarland & Company, Inc., 1999 (216 pages, cloth, $28.50) To baseball historians, Connie Mack (1862-1956) is a star among managers. His professionalism, penetrating knowledge of the game, and ability to handle his players helped him claim nine pennants, win five World...
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Romancing the Stone: Benno Janssen, Architect of Elegance

Every community has its coming of age, when the style of its best buildings, both commercial and residential, speaks clearly, “This is the way it is going to be here for a long time.” Although Pittsburgh, the first American city to rejuvenate itself out of its dusky past – of steel and soot and smoke and smog – has employed many notable architects) from Henry H....
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The Value of Pennsylvania History

George W. Bush won the presidential election of 2000 because the fifty states cast more electoral votes for him, even though more people actually voted for his opponent, Albert A. Gore Jr. The election reminded Americans about a curious institution called the Electoral College, and an equally peculiar system known as federalism in which each state conducts elections according to distinct laws...
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Hotel Washington

An unsigned postcard of the Hotel Washington in Chambersburg sent to Roland G. Smith at the Ligonier Motor and Machine Company in Ligonier, Westmoreland County, was postmarked October 19, 1913, nearly fifty years after Confederate forces decimated the Franklin County seat on July 30, 1864. Southern soldiers destroyed 550 buildings and structures in Chambersburg in addition to looting houses and...
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1st Drive-In Filling Station

Pittsburgh’s Mellon family owes much of its fortune to the oil industry. In 1902, William Larimer Mellon Sr. (1868–1949), with the help of his uncles, Andrew William Mellon (1855–1937) and Richard Beatty Mellon (1858–1933), was placed in charge of the J. M. Guffey Petroleum Company, with its rich Spindletop oil fields and a refinery at Port Arthur in Texas.Mellon guided Guffey Petroleum,...
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