Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1950-1981

As the last in a four-part series about Pennsylvania s architecture, this conclusion focuses on the develop­ments which have occurred in the field of preservation over the past thirty years. Although this temporal division may seem disproportionate when com­pared with the one hundred fifty years covered in rite preceding article. it has been dictated by both the incentives and challenges to...
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Driving Team In The Big Woods

During the early days of lumbering in Pennsylvania, small water-powered, up-and­-down sawmills were located wherever the best trees stood in the stream valleys. Only the best, most accessible trees were cut and hauled to the mill by oxen or horses or occasionally floated on the stream which powered the mill. The saw­ed boards were then carried out of the woods on wagons or sleds to villages...
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Unlikely Capitalists: Harmonists as Textile Manufacturers

At the end of the eighteenth century, George Rapp (1757-1847) planned to create a religious community in the wilderness as near to heaven on earth as was humanly possible. He succeeded to a large extent, but in the process achieved a different kind of success: he created one of the largest textile manufacturing enter­prises in the Pennsylvania of his time. While still in his native Württemburg,...
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History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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Graphic Arts of Harmony Society

You shall not make unto yourself any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in the heavens above or the earth beneath … (Exodus 20:4). How can you have art when you cannot have “graven images?” The Harmony Society (1785-1905) believed in the literal truth of the Bible and followed all of the injunctions carefully, including the third commandment quoted above....
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Butler County: A Story in Diversity

The story of Butler County is one of many stories. It is the story of an unusual religious commune. Of an engineer whose invention made the Brooklyn Bridge a reality. Of a European baron who con­structed a German castle he named Bassenheim. Of an oil boom town which sprang up­ – and crashed nearly overnight. Of the birthplace of that be­loved American automotive institution, the jeep. Of...
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Harmony in the Wilderness: A Walk through Old Economy Village

Imagine a band of religious zealots creating a community, furnishing households, and planting flowers on western Pennsylvania’s frontier with the absolute certainty that the second coming was imminent and that Jesus Christ would walk the garden paths and be made welcome in their homes. That’s what George Rapp (1757-1847) and his harmonist followers believed. Such was his confidence...
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Old Economy Village

Step back into another era – and a vastly different place – by visiting Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County. Founded in 1824 by visionary George Rapp (1757-1847), the village was the third and final settlement of the Harmony Society, one of the country’s most successful religious communal societies. The Harmonists were well known for their industriousness, piety, and...
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Presence from the Past: A Gift to the Future Through Historic Preservation

The United States is a nation and a people on the move. It is in an era of mobility and change … The result is a feeling of rootlessness combined with a longing for those land­marks of the past which give us a sense of stability and belonging … If the preservation movement is to be successful, it must go beyond saving bricks and mortar. It must go beyond saving occasional historic...
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Currents

Journey in Time Prom the first interior scenes of Pennsbury Manor, in which light seems to caress each object-pewter bowl, chair, blanket chest-viewers of “Historic Pennsylvania: A Journey to America’s Past” will know this is masterful cinematography. As the camera moves a short distance from the mansion’s front door to the lush banks of the Delaware River, a dazzling...
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