Currents

To Be Modern In 1921, Philadelphia’s venerable Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts mounted the first comprehensive display of American modernist works in an American museum with the ground­breaking “Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings Showing the Later Tendencies in Art.” The exhibition’s selection com­mittee, composed of such “moderns” as Thomas Hart...
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Lost and Found

Lost Opened in 1938, the Bangor Park Swimming Pool was built by the Works Progress Administration and the Borough of Bangor, located in Northampton County’s “slate belt.” Its design, conceived by architect Wesley Blintz, was unusual: instead of being dug into the ground, the huge pool was built above the ground, and locker rooms, lobby, and concession stand were tucked below...
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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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September 2001 Meeting of Historic Preservation Board

In the dizzying aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans realized that their lives would be forever changed. Terrorism even impacted the routine – and frequently mundane – ways in which business had been conducted. For its September 2001 meeting-held, incidentally, on Tuesday, September 11 – the Commonwealth’s Historic...
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St. Gabriel’s Catholic Parish Complex

St. Gabriel’s Catholic Parish Complex in Hazleton, Luzerne County, is more than a collection of imposing ecclesiastical edifices. The complex is significant because it reflects the parish’s status as the city’s first Catholic parish, and is integrally associated with the growth of its Catholic population stimulated by the development of the anthracite industry. Hazleton grew...
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Fred Waring (1900-1984)

In her 1997 book, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, Virginia Waring declared her late husband “The Man Who Taught America How to Sing.” In his foreword to the book, Robert Shaw (1916-1999), world-famous choral conductor known for his classical and secular repertoire, wrote, “It is certain to me that tours of the Bach B Minor Mass and the Mozart Requiem would not have been...
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Trainloads of Goodwill and Gratitude

Pittsburghers, on the evening of Saturday, November 15, 1947, witnessed a ceremony at the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) Station that marked the beginning of an extraordinary occurrence: the journey of a Friendship Train across the Keystone State. By the time it reached Philadelphia, three days and seven stops later, the train hauled an additional fifty-one cavernous boxcars packed to capacity with...
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Sinking Valley Family Tree Project

Beginner family historians are counseled that going beyond their own direct line to find information about siblings of their ancestors­ – called “whole-family genealogy” – can help avoid and reduce errors, as well as add a rich dimension to their pedigree quests. More and more genealo­gists are ratcheting up the “whole-family genealogy” con­cept a few more...
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The Man Behind the Curtain: “Doc” Mishler and His Legacy

Isaac Charles Mishler (1862-1944) stepped off the train in Altoona, Blair County, on August 6, 1881, just before his nine­teenth birthday, with a suitcase crammed full of ambition. Like thousands of men from across America and throughout Europe, Mishler was drawn to the booming city founded and sustained by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR). Mishler spent the next year or two laboring as a...
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Grand Promenade Walk, Lakemount Park, Altoona, Pa.

Evidently subscribing to the classic cliché about a picture being worth a thousand words — or, perhaps, believing Altoona’s Lakemont Park to be a landmark known to one and all — a Mrs. C. T. Hartnell chose not to add her own remarks to a postcard depicting the park’s Grand Promenade Walk. Postmarked July 3, 1906, at Hollidaysburg, the Blair County seat located six miles south of Altoona, the...
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