Editor’s Letter

Welcome to the first issue of the 45th volume of Pennsylvania Heritage. Since the publication of the premiere edition of December 1974, more than 750 features on Pennsylvania history, culture and natural history by leading authors in their fields, as well as hundreds of columns and news items, have been printed in our quarterly magazine. In this anniversary edition we continue our tradition of...
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A Country Seat on the Susquehanna: Wright’s Ferry Mansion

On the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania, ten miles west of Lancaster, Wright’s Ferry Man­sion was built in 1738 for a remarkable English Quaker, Susanna Wright. In 1726, when Susanna was twenty-nine, she purchased one hundred acres in this region on the fringes of Pennsylvania wilderness, then inhabited by a small tribe of Indians and known as...
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The Northwest’s Vintners

From an early Old Crusted Port to today’s popular – if not ubiquitous – wine cool­ers, Erie County wines have been a significant Pennsylva­nia commodity since 1864. There has been trouble along the way, but the county’s grapes, grown in profusion along the south shore of Lake Erie, have over­come many obstacles and today are a ma­jor element in the Commonwealth’s...
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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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Gardens Change with Time

William Penn’s wish that Philadelphia, the capital of his colony, should be a “Greene Country Towne” never was to come to fruition. The town’s settlers really preferred a re-creation of London in miniature. However, gardens and gardening have been an important aspect of the Pennsyl­vania heritage. Gardening has been practiced as a fine art and as a necessity based upon...
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Commemorating a Centennial by Revising a Vision

The American museum was and is an idea. The European museum was a fact. Almost without exception the European museum was first a collection. With few exceptions most American museums were first an ideal,” Philadelphian Nathaniel Burt wrote in his 1977 history of the American museum, Palaces for People. Unlike their European counterparts, which were usually created to house the great...
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Currents

White Elephants Baseball historians generally consider Connie Mack (1862-1956) the paragon of managers. His knowledge of the game, professional disposition, and ability to acquire and, more importantly, manage players captured the attention of sports enthusiasts during a time when the national pastime was riddled with scandal, permeated with intemperance, and punctuated by rowdyism. Connie Mack...
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Franklinia Alatamaha by John and William Bartram

To commemorate the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Bartram (1699-1777), Historic Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia launched a national survey of the Franklinia alatamaha, the most famous discovery made by the famous naturalist and his son, William Bartram (1739-1823). The census drew the participation of both botanical gardens and home gardeners while it recorded the...
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Currents

Capturing the Light Showcasing the work of local turn-of-the-century photographers, an ongoing exhibit at the Erie History Center features more than two hundred and fifty photographs made between 1890 and 1900, along with related documents, artifacts, and equipment. Entitled “Capturing the Light: Turn of the Century Photographs,” the exhibition offers a glimpse of work, amusements,...
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Growing Bigger and Better Year by Year

At noon on Saturday, November 24, 1827, fifty-three prominent Philadelphians gathered at the old Franklin Institute, then located on Seventh Street, in response to a newspaper advertisement calling for the formation of an organization devoted to the “highly instructive and interesting science” of horticulture. Since that inaugural meeting – nearly one hundred and seventy-five...
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