Der Belsnickel: Nicholas in Furs or Hairy Devil?

“There was a rush of noise outside that broke the silence of the winter night — a clanking of chains and a scratching at the kitchen window. Mother encouraged my brother and me to leave the dinner table to see who was outside. At the window, a ghastly masked face greeted us with an unearthly cackle. Clad in a rumpled fur overcoat, the figure carried an old gunnysack in one hand and a bundle of...
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Editor’s Letter

Sometimes Pennsylvania history occurs outside the boundaries of the Keystone State. Throughout the past, Pennsylvanians have traveled to other parts of the U.S. or have gone abroad to make their marks in the commonwealth’s history. Pennsylvania’s involvement in World War I is a good example, when soldiers from the state joined their fellow American servicemen in the Allied fight against the...
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Baking Pennsylvania Dutch Style

Regional American cuisine is fast becoming the hottest trend on the food scene today, and while we still hear a great deal about Cajun or the Southwest, one of the richest areas for culinary diversity is Pennsylvania. The Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism, a nonprofit that has taken the lead in exploring the foods of our state, has identified five distinct culinary...
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Trails for the Holidays

As summer turns to fall and you start to wonder where the time went, rest assured that the Pennsylvania Trails of History still have much to offer before 2014 winds down. Take some time to explore your favorite site – or make a first visit – and see if the pace doesn’t slow just a bit. Between changing exhibits, special events and our regular offerings, it isn’t difficult to find...
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Pennsylvania’s Gift: The Decorated Tree

Tall, nearly touching the ceiling, its branches pungently spicing the room, the stately tree awaits its final array­ – twinkling lights, shiny ornaments, sparkling tinsel, as well as a few precious treasures from years gone by. The Christmas tree is Pennsyl­vania’s gift to the nation, and the story of its arrival, the struggle for its acceptance and the development of its decorations...
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A Colonial Christmas

The December holidays are ideal focuses for special exhibitions and activities at museums, historic sites, villages and history-oriented visitors attrac­tions throughout Pennsyl­vania. Eighteenth century Christmas observances are popularly re-created and inter­preted because many settle­ments on the East Coast were established prior to 1800. By interpreting this seasonal living history program,...
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Heritage Highlights

Brandywine Battlefield Park, Chadds Ford Christmas Candlelight Tours, December 4, 1993 Bushy Run Battlefield, Jeanette Lecture: “Civilian Clothing of the Ohio Valley, 1754-1764”, October 23, 1993 Daniel Boone Homestead, Birdsboro Daniel Boone Birthday Celebration, November 7, 1993 Eckley Miners’ Village, Weatherly Christmas in Eckley, December 4-5, 1993 Ephrata Cloister,...
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Currents

It’s a Zoo! When the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was organized at the home of Dr. William Camac (its first presi­dent) on March 21, 1859, it was the first of its kind in North America. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the early years of the Philadelphia Zoo – now touted as “America’s First Zoo”­ – were dampened by the Civil War, which not only...
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Heritage Highlights

Daniel Boone Homestead, Birdsboro Architectural Heritage Day, October 16, 1994 Bushy Run Battlefield, Jeanette Lecture: “British Treaties and Negotiations”, November 19, 1994 Drake Well Museum, Titusville Oil Country Christmas, December 10, 1994 Eckley Miners’ Village, Weatherly Children’s Christmas at Eckley, December 3, 1994 Graeme Park, Horsham Living History Day,...
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Washington Crossing Historic Park

History comes alive for visitors to Washington Crossing Historic Park, where George Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776 to attack the unsuspecting enemy forces at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington’s victory bolstered the morale of his tattered army, changing the course of the American Revolution. On December 25, an actor portraying the general reenacts the legendary...
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