Joseph Plavcan’s Wild Rice

  A species of wild rice, Zizania aquatica, grows on the shores of Presque Isle, the hooked peninsula that juts off the coast of the city of Erie into the Great Lake of the same name. The plant is also the titular subject of this acrylic-on-board painting of Pennsylvania’s only surf beach by legendary Erie artist Joseph Plavcan (1908-81). Plavcan is the link in a succession of...
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2016 Trails

In 2015 the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Galeton, Potter County, officially opened its expanded visitor center to the public. The museum also debuted Challenges and Choices in Pennsylvania’s Forests, an artifact-rich exhibit exploring the history of the lumber industry, the rise of the conservation movement and professional forestry, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and current best practices...
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250 Years on the Pennsylvania Trails of History

Two historic battles being commemorated late this summer bookend a fifty-year period that started with American colonists fighting to defend British interests and ended with the new United States defending its own interests and sovereignty against British attacks. Battle of Bushy Run 250th Anniversary In July 1763 during Pontiac’s War, British forces commanded by Col. Henry Bouquet marched west...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Summer 2013 Newsletter: Stories from the Homefront: Pennsylvania in the Civil War Opens in September New PaHeritage.org Website Trailheads: 250 Years on the Pennsylvania Trails of History Welcome New PHF Members Welcome New State Museum Affiliate Members PHF Board Harrisburg SciTech High School Docents Washington Crossing Historic Park Visitor Center Pennsylvania Lumber Museum...
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2013 PHMC By the Numbers Infographic

Each year the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, co-publisher of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, produces an annual report detailing its activities. In order to highlight some of our most interesting achievements and to quantify our successes we’ve put together a snapshot of these activities in the form of this infographic. Infographics are...
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Model of U.S.S. Michigan at Erie Maritime Museum

While she was being constructed, beginning in July 1842, the vessel known at her December 5, 1843 launch as U.S.S. Michigan (in honor of the Union’s newest state) and later as U.S.S. Wolverine (renamed in 1905 for Michgan’s state animal so the state name could be used for a new dreadnought battleship) was simply called “Lake Steamer” or “Iron Steamer.” Two...
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A Good Day’s Catch: Commercial Fishing in Erie

The view from the crest of Erie’s lower State Street is a powerful one. Framed by the tall masts and spars of Oliver Hazard Per­ry’s restored War of 1812 flagship, the Niagara, are the waters of Presque Isle Bay. In the distance, the Presque Isle Peninsula is visible as it curves around and shelters the bay, and beyond that looms the ocean-like expanse of Lake Erie. The bayfront area...
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U.S.S. Niagara Spans Over 160 Years

Erie’s claim to maritime fame came early in its history. And this was due mainly to its geographic location. War was declared by the United States against Great Britain on June 18, 1812. The British were much better prepared for the war. Along the Great Lakes they had military posts from Niagara to Sault Ste. Marie and, equally important, had a fresh water navy. The summer campaign of 1812...
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Washington’s Mission to Fort Le Boeuf

The Lands upon the River Ohio, in the Western Parts of the Colony of Virginia, are so notoriously known to be the Property of the Crown of Great-Britain; that it is a Matter of equal Concern and Surprize to me, to hear that a Body of French Forces are erecting For­tresses, and making Settlements upon that River, within his Majesty’s Dominions …. If these Facts are true, and you shalt...
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Bookshelf

Deep Water Sailors, Shallow Water Soldiers by Gerald T. Altoff The Perry Group, 1993 (203 pages, paper, $7.95) Subtitled Manning the United States Fleet on Lake Erie – 1813, this book exam­ines the composition of the crews of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet that took part in one of the most signifi­cant naval encounters during the War of 1812. According to the author, these...
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