Editor’s Letter

This issue of Pennsylvania Heritage marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into the First World War in April 1917. The focus comes as part of PHMC’s Pennsylvania at War initiative, a multiyear commemoration of the centennial of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II. The Keystone State contributed significantly to the Allied effort in World War I, with more than...
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2015 Trails

It is time once again to look back at the past year on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. What follows is a scrapbook for 2015, with highlights of events and programs at PHMC’s historic sites and museums.   Milestones and Anniversaries In May, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum held a much-anticipated ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly expanded visitor center. The building and community...
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Lebanon County: Small in Size – Rich in Heritage

Lebanon County is located in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the center of the beautiful Lebanon Valley, which is formed by the Blue Ridge of the Kittatinny range of mountains to the north and the South Mountains, or Furnace Hills, to the south. Covering an area of 363 square miles, the county is inhabited by ap­proximately 100,000 people. Between the shale...
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The Anthracite Iron Furnaces of Alburtis

As it stands today, the ruin of Lock Ridge Furnace at Alburtis, in Lehigh County, looks more akin to a misplaced Norman fortress than a nine­teenth century anthracite iron furnace. The partially re­stored walls, reinforced by heavy metal bolts, give the venerable Pennsylvania structure a false touch of the medieval. The productive history of the anthracite iron furnaces began in December 1866...
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The Dream of Security: Johnstown and Flood Control

They don’t take rain for granted in Johnstown anymore. Walking down Market Street or cruising Route 56, pedestrians may pause and drivers may slow as the first drops land. Anxious glances skyward reveal the unspoken thought: will it happen again? They are re­calling the terrible night in July 1977 when the rain fell and fell and the dream of a flood-free Johnstown shattered for­ever. That...
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Painting the Town: Bethlehem and its Artists

Since its founding in 1741, the city of Beth­lehem in eastern Pennsylvania has bene­fitted from the presence of artists associated with its Moravian founders and their educational institutions, specifically the Moravian Semi­nary for Young Ladies, founded almost as early as the city itself, and Moravian College. In the eighteenth century Valentine Haidt served as the city’s...
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A Music Student Bridges the World

Ralph Modjeski seemed destined­ – even at the age of seven – for an accom­plished, if not celebrated, career as a concert pianist. After years of intense training and practice as a music student, he dramatically changed his course of studies at the age of twenty in favor, oddly enough, of a career in civil engineering. He did not, however, abandon his talent and practiced several...
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Cambria County: Coming Full Circle

Located in the highlands of west­-central Pennsylvania and amidst forbidding mountains – the Allegheny escarpment and the Laurel Ridge standing sentinel on its eastern and western borders­ – the territory that would become Cambria County was not easily accessible to early Pennsylvanians. Migrants bound westward during the second half of the eighteenth century avoided its...
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Northampton County: From Frontier Farms to Urban Industries – and Beyond

Sweeping across southcentral Pennsyl­vania lies the Great Valley and nestled in its northeastern corner is mod­ern Northampton County. Bordered on the east by the Delaware River, on the south by South Mountain and the piedmont, and on the west by the valley of the Lehigh River, the three hundred and seventy-two square mile re­gion is one of gently rolling hills and wooded valleys, with...
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Carbon County: Stone Coal in the Switzerland of America

Carbon, the primary component of an­thracite coal, is also a county in eastern Pennsylvania – for the same reason. The value of anthracite to the burgeoning industrial revolution of the mid­-nineteenth century created in 1843 a new county from the northern fringes of the once­-immense Northampton County. Beginning in the nine­teenth century, an entire county of coal was carved and moved to...
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