Executive Director’s Message

Caring for museum collections is one of the less visible, but among the most critical, functions of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. The recent acquisition of a rare Conestoga wagon by our Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster County reminds us of our responsibility to allocate resources carefully and preserve the objects and artifacts that reflect our rich heritage. The wagon was...
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Currents

Quilting Time Lancaster County is associated with many things, among them the “Pennsylvania Dutch,” barn raising, the horse and buggy, Amish and Mennonite farmsteads, shoo fly pie, and, of course, quilts. Quilts made in Lancaster County reflect the diversity of cultures and way of life in the region called – because of its verdant beauty and highly productive agricultural...
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Garden Temple at Old Economy Village

One of the earliest gardens in the United States, the garden at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County, symbolized the Garden of Eden for the Harmony Society, which occupied the complex from 1824 until it was dissolved in 1905. The nineteenth-century Christian community, best known for its piety and industrial prosperity, was founded by George Rapp (1757-1847) who believed that the...
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Lost and Found

Lost Although many farms were established in Lancaster County in the eighteenth century, most of the surviving barns and outbuildings were erected in the nineteenth century. Early log barns were replaced by wooden, stone, and brick barns. Of brick barns, the most impressive are those whose gable ends were laid in elaborate patterns of pierced or reticulated brickwork. These openings, commonly in...
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Old World Influences on Pennsylvania Gardens

Quaker merchants who followed founder William Penn (1644-1718) to his beloved colony planted formal, English-style gardens amidst the native forest landscape. An ornamental garden suitable for a family of means in Great Britain in the seventeenth century consisted of a residence with a series of three terraces descending from the rear elevation. The upper terrace, often used as an extension of...
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Harmony Society Silk Letter Book, 1842-1852

According to a letter penned by Charles Norris dated April 19, 1759 a pair of silk stockings made by Su­sanna Wright of Lancaster from the first eggs hatched and silk processed in the Province of Pennsylvania were pre­sented to General Jeffrey Amherst, commander of Britain’s forces in North America. In 1771, Susanna Wright won a £10 prize from the Philadelphia Silk Society for the largest...
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Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pa.

In the peaceful community of Beaver Falls in Beaver County, the 2000 census reported fewer than ten thousand people, two thousand less than when this postcard was mailed in 1910. The demise of the region’s steel industry and close prox­imity to Pittsburgh cannot diminish Beaver County’s scenic beauty and historic significance. Originally named Brighton, Beaver Falls was incorporated...
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If Looms Could Speak: The Story of Pennsylvania’s Silk Industry

On Friday March 3, 1989, the Catoir Silk Company Inc. in the Lehigh County seat of Allentown, ceased operation for the final time. The silence of the looms signaled the end of an industry the once dominated eastern Pennsylvania’s industrial landscape and economy. The closing captured a front-page story in Allentown’s daily newspaper, The Morning Call, which duly recorded the demise...
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New Deal Mural at Old Economy Village

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched the New Deal in 1933 to alleviate massive unemployment, stimulate industrial recovery, and create economic growth in the wake of the Great Depression. His relief programs gave work to millions of unemployed Americans including not only construction workers and laborers, but also artists, musicians, and writers. A 1932 graduate of the Art Institute of...
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PHMC Highlights

PHMC staff members Amanda Shafer, webmaster, Karen Galle, historic preservation specialist and coordinator of the state historical marker program, and Dean E. Winkelspecht, data applications developer, completed several important improvements and upgrades to PHMC’s Web site. A new state historical marker database includes improved graphic design along with options to browse or search for...
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