The Ship Hotel: Afloat with the Lincoln Highway’s Most Unusual Landmark

In 1931 the first and only baby was born at the Grand View Point Hotel, 18 miles west of Bedford, Bedford County. Little Clara was the pride of her grandfather Herbert J. Paulson (1874-1973), a Dutch immigrant who had built the hotel on the side of a mountain along the winding, two-lane Lincoln Highway. Clara grew up in the hotel, which “Captain” Paulson turned into the ship-shaped...
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Back to the Land! Pennsylvania’s New Deal Era Communities

The economic collapse of 1929 ushered in a decade fraught with deep, often tremu­lous, questioning of the na­tion’s development and future. Many were the cries to re­turn to the land. As a result, two all-new rural communities founded in Pennsylvania in the mid-1930s – Norvelt, in Westmoreland County, and Penn-Craft, in adjacent Fayette County – remain today as testimony to...
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A Brief Brilliance: Pennsylvania’s Early Automakers

Many Pennsylva­nians, born near the turn of the century, grew up during the infancy of the auto­mobile. Their earliest memo­ries, quite often, were from the seemingly far-removed horse­-and-carriage era, a world of dusty roadways, wooden hitching posts, watering troughs and musty stables. It is literally impossible for a young American, born into today’s fast-moving world, to appreciate...
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Currents

It’s a Zoo! When the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was organized at the home of Dr. William Camac (its first presi­dent) on March 21, 1859, it was the first of its kind in North America. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the early years of the Philadelphia Zoo – now touted as “America’s First Zoo”­ – were dampened by the Civil War, which not only...
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Radium City, U.S.A.

In the spring of 1921, the preeminent French physicist Marie Curie (1867-1934) traveled from her home in Paris to the United States where, on Friday, May 20, she attended a White House ceremony during which President Warren G. Harding presented her with a key symbolizing a gift of one gram of radium from the women of America. Costing one hundred thousand dollars, this tiny amount of radium would...
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Dr. Henry C. Mercer’s Fonthill

Henry Chapman Mercer (1856–1930), scion of a wealthy Doylestown, Bucks County, family was known for many characteristics and traits: well-bred, handsome, inquisitive, erudite, and — to townspeople — decidedly eccentric. He was known for his contributions as a master ceramicist, local historian, writer, archaeologist, ethnologist, museum curator, amateur architect, collector, horticulturist,...
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Hotel Washington

An unsigned postcard of the Hotel Washington in Chambersburg sent to Roland G. Smith at the Ligonier Motor and Machine Company in Ligonier, Westmoreland County, was postmarked October 19, 1913, nearly fifty years after Confederate forces decimated the Franklin County seat on July 30, 1864. Southern soldiers destroyed 550 buildings and structures in Chambersburg in addition to looting houses and...
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Heinz – Much More than 57 Varieties

The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago captivated spectators with dazzling sights and sounds. Among the innovators showcasing their celebrated products was a trio of Pittsburghers: George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. (1859-1896), George Westinghouse Jr. (1846-1914), and Henry John Heinz (1844-1919). A bridge engineer, Ferris built his famous wheel-shaped ride, this first one...
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