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...
read more

A Tragic Day in Echo: The Southern Cambria Railway Trolley Accident

There are few hot days during the summer in Johnstown, Cambria County, but this day, Saturday, August 12, 1916, would be one of them. It was a good time to live in this bustling mill town nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Newspapers were reporting appalling numbers of soldiers killed and wounded in the Battle of the Somme, an ocean away, but the war was not yet a local...
read more

Preparing Teachers for Homestead Parochial School, 1888-1921

Teacher education was not a carefully systematized and regularized process in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centur­ies. Before the mandate for college de­grees, teacher examinations and certifi­cation, teachers in American classrooms would generally teach as they had been taught. This was particularly true in Ro­man Catholic parochial schools before diocesan administration of the...
read more

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...
read more

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...
read more

Mountain House, Cresson, Pa.

Leading a ‘Simple Life’ among the farmers,” wrote EBG on the reverse of a penny postcard depicting the Mountain House at Cresson, Cambria County, one hundred years ago, on August 10, 1908. The writer’s sentiments were obviously facetious — the Mountain House, built in 1880–1881, had been a grand hotel financed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR) that drew scores of affluent guests to the...
read more

Harnessing the Power of the Wind: A Contemporary Use for a Historic Energy Source

Much like the oil farms of the last century were for drillers and riggers, Pennsylvania’s wind farms are proving grounds for engineers and technicians as they harness wind power. The long-standing use of wind power that for centuries propelled sailing vessels has been transformed throughout the world to produce electricity. Farmers used wind power in the late nineteenth and early twentieth...
read more