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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Preserving Yesterday’s Life for Tomorrow

Historic preservation has taken on a new dimension in Bedford County. Old Bedford Village, just off the Pennsylvania Turn­pike at Bedford Exit 11, is a nonprofit venture helping to preserve the history AND economy of this central Pennsyl­vania county. Bedford County as it exists today, is bounded on the south by the Mason­-Dixon Line, on the west, north and east by Somerset, Cambria, Blair,...
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Huntingdon County: Molding Character and Countians

When Philadelphia land speculator William Smith laid out the town of Huntingdon in 1767, it is possible that even then he saw its potential as a county seat. On the one hand, the idea seems preposterous: the area surrounding his prospective town was a wilderness accessi­ble only by a scanty network of undeveloped Indian paths. This unsettled part of Pennsyl­vania had been included in a vast...
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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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Transportation in Pennsylvania in 1776

During the Revolution, Pennsylvania was a central stage from the standpoint of geography, leadership, manpower, and supplies. Therefore, its transportation facilities were of special significance. The southeastern part of the State produced large quantities of the very materials needed by the Continental Army. A modest network of roads made possible the transporting of those materials to Valley...
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The Whiskey Boys Versus the Watermelon Army

When the issue of balancing the budget by raising taxes reared its ugly head recently, the nation once again saw the contro­versy and bitterness the sub­ject ignites. On Capitol Hill familiar questions were fiercely debated. Who should close the revenue gap, the wealthy or the working class? Should taxes be increased on ciga­rettes, gasoline, or liquor? Nearly two hundred years ago the Congress...
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Letters to the Editor

A Weiser World Philip E. Pendleton’s article “Finding a Light in the Forest: Conrad Weiser Homestead” in the summer 1996 issue brought back many happy boyhood memories. One of the rays of that light, I think, was kindled by my grandfather, the Reverend P. C. Croll. He suggested to the Historical Society of Berks County in 1921 that the new owner of the Conrad Weiser Homestead,...
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