PHMC Highlights

Art of the State 2016 More than 500 guests visited The State Museum of Pennsylvania on June 26 to attend the opening of the 49th annual Art of the State. The juried exhibition, cosponsored by The State Museum and the nonprofit Jump Street, with WITF as a media sponsor, showcases 122 pieces from artists around the state. At the opening, 20 artists received awards in five categories: craft,...
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Camp Beaver

  “Hello Mary” wrote Frank Lloyd. “I’m in camp and have a fine time. You should be here.” Lloyd was at Camp Beaver, a 1914 National Guard encampment at Indiana, Indiana County. The camp was named in honor of James A. Beaver (1837-1914), decorated Civil War officer, judge of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court and governor of the Commonwealth, 1887-91. The entire National Guard of Pennsylvania was...
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Whiskey Run: Where Coal Dust Mixed with Murder

In an overgrown valley about 12 miles west of Indiana and one mile from West Lebanon lies the site of a mysterious R&P (Rochester and Pittsburgh) coal town known as Whiskey Run. For over fifty years, the community of Whiskey Run has been synonymous with violence, secrecy and unsolved murder. Even the source of the town’s name is uncertain, with several versions vying for authenticity....
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Women Go to Work!

The illusion of the Victorian woman – a creature accustomed to leisure and com­fort- was alive and well in Indiana County at the turn of the century. Newspaper columns reported a variety of social activities in which women participated, including temperance and missionary societies, social and reading clubs. Advertisements for medicines appealed to women who considered themselves delicate,...
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Ernest: Life in a Mining Town

In 1904, the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company began deep mining in Ernest, Pennsylvania. In 1965, the industry there came to an end. Between these two dates, people lived out their lives in this small community northwest of Indiana, where for over sixty years every facet of existence revolved around the digging of coal from the hillsides surrounding the town. But what was life like in a...
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A Woman’s Day: Work and Anxiety

Many books and articles have been written about the lives of early Pennsylvania coal miners and their involvement in labor-management strife, unionization problems, and mine disasters. But has anyone remembered the women who packed the miners’ dinner pails, washed their blackened clothing, and waited in anguish outside the mines when disaster struck? The lives of these women also were...
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The Depression Strikes Indiana County

The Great Depression of 1929-32 without question was one of the watershed periods in American history. Joseph Alex Morris once wrote that “people later would speak of ‘before 1929’ or ‘after 1929’ as Noah’s children may have spoken of the days before and after ‘The Flood.'” The personal deprivation and social upheaval of those times sent shock...
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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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Mailbox

For continuing research, as well as a forthcoming article in Pennsylvania Heritage, on Philadelphia’s historic Fairmount Water Works, information and ephemera relating to the Fairmount Park Aquarium are being collected. The attraction, one of the first aquariums in the United States, opened to the public in 1911 in the engine house, began deteriorating after World War II, and finally dosed...
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Soft Coal’s Soft-Spoken Diplomat

Wearing a straw boater, he rode in the passenger seat of the Cadillac, and forlornly surveyed the pick­eting miners who blocked the lane leading into the village of St. Benedict in Cambria County. He sig­naled his manservant – serving now as bodyguard and chauffeur as well – to proceed through the human blockade. Angry strikers taunted them, shouting obscenities, as they drove up the...
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