Berks County: Diamond of the Schuylkill Valley

Since 1811, when Schuylkill County was created to include part of what had been northern Berks County, Berks has been distinguishable by its diamond shape. It approxi­mates a geometric diamond or lozenge – an equilateral paral­lelogram without right angles. Its history also seems diamond-like, as it has com­bined a very hard, cutting, and persistently pragmatic charac­teristic with a...
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Where History and Magic Converge: The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Visitors traveling east of Strasburg on Route 741 in idyllic Lancaster County suddenly encounter a wondrous array of locomotives hard by the road – steam engines, diesels, even an electric. One huge locomotive rests on a massive hundred-foot long turntable. A sign announces Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, beyond which a massive building stands as a memorial, a veritable shrine, to one of...
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Remembering the Steam Days

1953 brought on a lot of changes for the Monongahela Railway Company, a small but busy coal-hauling railroad in southwestern Pennsylvania, which operated from South Brownsville, Fayette County, to Fairmont, West Virginia, a distance of about seventy-three miles. Twenty-seven brand new Baldwin diesel electric road­-switching locomotives arrived at the South Brownsville shops in 1953. They...
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The Tahoe at Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

The Tahoe, marking its one hundred and twenty-fifth birthday in 2000, will serve as the centerpiece for the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, Lancaster County. The famous Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, the world’s largest steam engine manufacturer, built the engine in 1875 for Nevada’s Virginia and Truckee Railroad. The...
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Locomotives by Baldwin Locomotive Works

For many years, railroads – especially the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) – literally moved the nation. Affectionately called the Pennsy, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was not the first railroad in the United States, but it grew to become the largest and most powerful in the world. In its heyday, the company employed more than one hundred and sixty thousand workers in the Keystone...
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Baldwin-Hamilton Company Records

While the primary responsibility of the Pennsylvania State Archives is to preserve and make available for research the records created by the activities of state government, an important secondary charge is to preserve privately created manuscripts and corporate records that illuminate the history of the Commonwealth. One of the largest such collections is Manuscript Group (MG) 427, the...
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The Big Engines That Could

On a blustery, chilly day in autumn of 1939, a dapper-looking man in his mid-forties climbed onto a railway station platform in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to watch the approach of a train. Amid billowing steam, shrouds of smoke, and rumbling loud enough to unnerve him, he watched an enormous locomotive scream past his vantage point. The sleek, sculpted machine, effortlessly pulling a passenger train,...
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Frank Rizzo: Philadelphia’s Tough Cop Turned Mayor

On Saturday night, August 29, 1970, unknown assailants shot to death Philadelphia police sergeant Frank Von Colln while stationed in a small guardhouse in the Cobbs Creek section of the city’s expansive Fairmount Park. No one witnessed the killing, but police suspected that it was the work of the Black Panther Party, an African American revolutionary organization that endorsed violence as a...
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