Waynesboro Historic District

  Three miles from the Pennsylvania–Maryland border is the Keystone State’s most recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places: the Waynesboro Historic District, located along Main Street and Clayton Avenue in the borough of Waynesboro, Franklin County. The district’s period of historic significance dates from 1780 through 1965, beginning with the construction of a log building...
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Backcast: Pennsylvania’s Legacy of Split Cane Fly Rods

  It’s important not to rush this. A mistake will obliterate a month of work. I take care to make sure that my workbench is uncluttered, the lighting is adequate to the task, and the tools I’ll need are handy but not in the way. Before me is a tapered hexagonal shaft composed of Tonkin cane (Arundinaria amabilis McClure), a type of extraordinarily tough bamboo found mostly in southeastern...
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Harriet Lane Johnston: The Legacy of a White House Hostess

On the cool, overcast day of May 9, 2017, a dozen nurses from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center arrived by bus at Green Mount Cemetery, a leafy 19th-century oasis in center city Baltimore. They carried a generous bouquet of flowers to decorate the grave of Harriet Lane Johnston, niece of James Buchanan (1791–1868), Pennsylvania’s only U.S. president. “Without Harriet Lane, we don’t know what...
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Castanea … From Blight to Backcross Breeding

Not far from my home at the base of the South Mountain in Cumberland County, there is a wide spot in the road where you can park a couple cars at the edge of a block of public land. From that place, the visible but overgrown bed of a Colonial-era haul road ascends the mountain. Scattered along the road are the small, flat and circular remains of 18th- and 19th-century charcoal kilns that...
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A Century of Marking History: One Hundred Years of the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program

It’s a safe bet that when Susan Richard of Grantville, Dauphin County, comes across a historical marker for the first time, she’s going to stop her car, get out and read it, and then take a picture for her collection. Richard, a former museum docent, loves everything about historical markers. “Historical markers are so much fun!” she says. “This is history you will...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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Fulton County: Where Country is Still Country

When the first settlers wandered into the Great Cove – a deep basin formed by the southern ranges of the Kit­tochtinny and Tuscarora mountains – they discovered strikingly beautiful valleys, incised with sparkling streams, whose only intrusions were Indian trails and remote pack­ers’ paths. During the two centuries since its settlement, the picturesque mountain ridges and...
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Rebels’ Revenge: The Burning of Chambersburg

Out of the predawn mist thundered the enemy, their horses’ hooves pounding the town’s dusty streets apocalyptically. Al­though grimy, weary and starv­ing, the cavalrymen were formidable, battle-hardened veterans, ready to fight at a moment’s notice. They had come to this little town to execute an order – a command which, when carried out, would add another bitter meas­ure...
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Franklin County

Our forefathers never could have envisioned the Franklin County we live in today. The hardships and struggles to merely survive while trying to establish new homes in a new land on a new frontier created memories that will live as long as man cares to remember. Modern major highways, a wide diversification of indus- try, fertile farm lands and persons who still care help make Franklin County,...
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The French and Indian War and the Revolution

If in spite of all the Bicentennial reminders the Revolutionary War seems somewhat far away, the French and Indian War must seem so much more remote as to be irrelevant. The familiar Pennsylvania events of the Revolution – the battles of Brandywine and German­town, the Valley Forge encampment, the Declaration of Independence – took place in the settled parts of the State, the battles...
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