John A. Mather’s Lens: The Unerring Eye of History

When the dapper Englishman John Aked Mather (1829-1915) stepped from the stage coach in Titusville, Crawford County, that October day in 1860, he had no idea that he was about to become the pre-eminent chronicler of a Pennsylvania phenomenon, petroleum. But for five and a half decades Mather recorded the birth and development of the new industry, one which would forever change the way the nation...
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Disaster – Or Murder? – In the Mines

In Winter 1959, after two days of drenching rain and unseasonably high temperatures, the frozen Susquehanna River began surging wildly. A recording station in Wilkes­-Barre, Luzerne County, measured the rise of the water level from 2.1 feet on Tuesday, January 20, to just below the 22-foot flood stage by Friday night. Wary Wilkes-Barre area residents kept a close watch, knowing that the river...
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My Memories of Harrisburg and the Flood of ’36

In 1923, I was four years old when my family moved from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. My father, Einar Barfod, had been appointed chief investigator in the securities department of Pennsylvania’s ban.king department by Governor Gifford Pinchot. My earliest memory of Harrisburg was a summer when my mother hired a farmer to plow the field next to our house, then having all the neighborhood...
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