A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania: A Primer

Depending on the individual, historic preser­vation evokes a myriad of interpretations. To the local historical society, it’s restoring the town’s oldest structure to a house-museum showcasing collections of period antiques. To community planners, it often results in a challenge of saving the best while destroying the rest. And to many, historic preservation means little more than a...
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Mailbox

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, is compiling a comprehensive listing of works by Pennsylvania artist Lloyd Mifflin (1846-1921), hailed as the “Poet and Painter of the Sus­quehanna River.” Born in Columbia, Lancaster County, Mifflin studied in Europe in the early 1870s and returned to his home­town to devote his life to painting and poetry. In addition to his paintings,...
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J. Horace McFarland: A Thorn for Beauty by Ernest Morrison Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1995 (393 pages, cloth, $19.95) Three-quarters of a century ago, his was a name known throughout the na­tion. To some, he was ordained the “High Priest of the Rose.” To others, he was christened the “Father of the National Park Service.” And to even more, he was...
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A Wooded Watershed (1926) by Daniel Garber

Its whereabouts unknown to art historians and enthusiasts for nearly seventy years, a spectacular mural by acclaimed American artist Daniel Garber (1880-1958), one of the most famous members of the New Hope School, was recently rediscovered and returned to Bucks County, where it had been painted in 1926. Garber’s masterpiece, A Wooded Watershed, was originally commissioned by the...
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Lost and Found

Lost A century after its erection in 1870, and just one year after it was named to the National Register of Historic Places, Old Main, a landmark on the campus of what is today West Chester University of Pennsylvania in Chester County was demolished – despite protests by local, county, and state historical organizations, architects, even the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The...
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Saved for the People of Pennsylvania: Quilts from The State Museum of Pennsylvania by Lucinda Reddington Cawley, Lorraine DeAngelis Ezbiansky, and Denise Rocheleau Nordberg Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1997 ($14.95, paper, 67 pages) Since its founding in 1905, The State Museum of Pennsylvania has collected nearly two million artifacts and objects which docu­ment and interpret...
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Lost and Found

Lost The Smithton Bridge spanning the Youghiogheny River was fabricated in 1900 by the Pittsburgh Bridge Company and erected by Nelson and Buchanan, a Chambersburg, Franklin County, contracting firm which acted as an agent for the com­pany. An important engineering landmark, the Smithton Bridge was an example of a suspended cantilever truss, introduced in the United States about 1885. Such...
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Guide to the State Historical Markers of Pennsylvania By George R. Beyer Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2000 (456 pages, paper, $15.95) It is generally well known that the Commonwealth’s state historical marker program is among the most popular public history initiatives ever mounted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The program, also one of the...
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Chambersburg Civil War Ruins

On July 30, 1864, Confederate troops entered the southcentral Pennsylvania town of Chambers­burg. Their commander, General John McCausland, demanded that the residents turn over $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in cash to spare their community. When the residents refused to pay, he ordered his troops to bum the town. While this was not the first visit by the Confederates to the Franklin County...
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