A Dynasty Tumbles

The saga begins and ends with two com­monplace scenes: a teenaged immigrant alighting a ship in colonial Philadelphia with but two letters of introduction and three guineas to his name, and a gravesite ringed by a half­-dozen black-clothed mourn­ers. But during the century and a half that encapsulates these vignettes, a Pennsylva­nia dynasty rose and fell- and rose and fell again. From Robert...
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A Blast from the Past: Cornwall Iron Furnace

Driving on narrow sinuous back roads through lush, verdant forests – just a half dozen miles north of the busy Pennsylvania Turnpike – unsuspecting travelers can’t help being struck by an odd-looking complex of Gothic Revival-style buildings and structures. This place, this curious collection of buildings, both large and small, appears to have been literally plucked from a far...
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An Address for the Afterlife at Laurel Hill Cemetery

It all began in 1836, when architect John Notman (1810–1865) laid out a series of meandering walkways and terraces on the east bank of the Schuylkill River above Fairmount Park. With his design for Laurel Hill Cemetery, the twenty-six-year-old native of Scotland created the first architecturally designed cemetery in the country. He also established the nation’s second garden-type cemetery,...
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