Somerset County: Paths through the Roof Garden

Referring to the high elevation and the scenic quality of the region, Gov. Martin G. Brumbaugh called Somerset County “the Roof Garden of Pennsylvania” at an annual Farmers’ Day picnic in 1916. Since then. the description has become a familiar and respected title; the words “Roof Garden” have been in­corporated in the names of various businesses, and the complete...
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Fayette at the Crossroads

Fayette County has always been at the crossroads, both literally and figuratively, its destiny shaped by its location, the incredible riches of its natural resources and the vi­tality of a people descended from al­most every nation of Europe. It has a son of dual personality, geo­graphically divided between mountains and lowlands, historically divided into two almost equal eras of economic...
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McKean County: Where the Gold is Green

The great gold and silver rushes of the late nineteenth century to places such as the Black Hills, Colorado, Arizona, California and Alaska have long been hailed in story and song for their excite­ment, riches and heartbreak. But, the rush for “green gold” to McKean County during the same century was equally or more exciting. First, there were the forests – immense forests of...
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Schuylkill County: Built on Coal

The history of Schuylkill County is inextricably bound to the story – and drama – of the great anthracite industry in the United States. Despite nearly two centuries of active mining, the county’s 783 square miles still boast the largest accessible reserves of hard coal known in the world. Its lives and lifestyles have been quasi-fictionalized by two of the county’s best...
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Bedford County: From Indian Trails to Tourist Resorts

In the summer of 1728, thirteen brave pioneers made their way north through the wilderness from Virginia. The trail brought these Virginians into the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, where they set­tled, only returning to Virginia to bring their families north. The area was rich with game and several trapped along the streams. One built a gristmill and another a trading post. These members...
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Cambria County: Coming Full Circle

Located in the highlands of west­-central Pennsylvania and amidst forbidding mountains – the Allegheny escarpment and the Laurel Ridge standing sentinel on its eastern and western borders­ – the territory that would become Cambria County was not easily accessible to early Pennsylvanians. Migrants bound westward during the second half of the eighteenth century avoided its...
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Lehigh County: The Land and Its People

Lehigh County encompasses the western half of the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania. Bounded on the east by the Lehigh River, the main geographical feature of the larger valley, and on the north by the Blue Mountain range, the land is a mosaic of lime­stone plain, sinks and rolling hills. While the southern region of the county lies astride the so-called South Moun­tain and the hills of the...
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Lawrence County

Bart Richards, the unofficial historian of Lawrence County, indicates that little of historical significance has occurred in the county. He points out that it has had no wars, Indian uprisings, or great discoveries to its credit. Very few of its citizens have qualified for the pages of Who’s Who. Therefore, this history is the story of average, ordinary people striving to make a better...
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Pike County: A Peak of Natural Perfection

“I went through a constant succession of scenery that would have been famous had it existed anywhere in Europe.” – Washington Irving   Shaped roughly like a diamond, Pike County is situated in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, bordering the Delaware River on the cast across from the states of New York and New Jersey. The northwestern side of the diamond lies in Lake...
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The French in Northwest Pennsylvania, 1753-1759

Every summer numerous va­cationers from both within and beyond Pennsylvania’s borders come to the northwest comer of the state to use the recreational facilities of Presque Isle State Park. Probably few of the summer visitors sunning themselves along the state park’s beaches, or swimming in Lake Erie, pause to ask themselves how the park and peninsula came to bear a French name. It...
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