Benjamin Henry Latrobe: The Artist as Commentator

Benjamin Henry La­trobe (1764-1820) is generally acknowl­edged to be America’s first professional architect and engineer, practicing in the United States from 1796, when he immigrated from England, until his untimely death from yellow fever in New Orleans in 1820. He worked, during that period, in cities as diverse as Richmond, Philadelphia, Balti­more, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and...
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Siegmund Lubin: The Forgotten Filmmaker

In Philipsburg, the summer of 1914 ended with a crash that could be heard for miles and seen around the world. On the slopes of Centre County’s Collision Field, a stadium formed by nature, five thousand festive, flag-waving spectators gathered to watch the wrecking of two great Pittsburgh & Susquehanna Railroad locomotives. Bands entertained the Labor Day celebrants with musical...
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The Molly Maguires: Fighting for Justice

Early on the morning of Wednesday, Septem­ber 1, 1875, a young English-born mine foreman started from his Schuylkill County residence to the Shenandoah coal colliery where he was employed. A gunshot pierced the air. Scrambling for cover behind a neighbor’s house, he was met by another assassin who drew his revolver and fired. Struck in the groin, the young man staggered blindly and fell to...
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Wyoming County: A Portrait of the Picturesque

The Endless Mountains region of northeastern Pennsylvania contains the rurally unspoiled and uncrowded Wyoming County, attracting both visitor and sports enthusiast with its picturesque valleys and charm­ing villages. Fed by the waters of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, which diagonally bisects the three hundred and ninety-six square mile county, this county lies at the northern end...
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Northampton County: From Frontier Farms to Urban Industries – and Beyond

Sweeping across southcentral Pennsyl­vania lies the Great Valley and nestled in its northeastern corner is mod­ern Northampton County. Bordered on the east by the Delaware River, on the south by South Mountain and the piedmont, and on the west by the valley of the Lehigh River, the three hundred and seventy-two square mile re­gion is one of gently rolling hills and wooded valleys, with...
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Samuel Yellin: With a Hammer for a Pencil

When Samuel Yellin opened his Arch Street Metal worker’s Studio in Philadelphia in 1920, most who shared his ancient craft had abandoned their tools in favor of other pursuits. Yellin was a blacksmith – he insisted on calling himself that, although clients flocked to him for his sculptural and artistic skill, rather than to have horses shod or plows mended. From his shop poured the...
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A Dynasty Tumbles

The saga begins and ends with two com­monplace scenes: a teenaged immigrant alighting a ship in colonial Philadelphia with but two letters of introduction and three guineas to his name, and a gravesite ringed by a half­-dozen black-clothed mourn­ers. But during the century and a half that encapsulates these vignettes, a Pennsylva­nia dynasty rose and fell- and rose and fell again. From Robert...
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Huntingdon County: Molding Character and Countians

When Philadelphia land speculator William Smith laid out the town of Huntingdon in 1767, it is possible that even then he saw its potential as a county seat. On the one hand, the idea seems preposterous: the area surrounding his prospective town was a wilderness accessi­ble only by a scanty network of undeveloped Indian paths. This unsettled part of Pennsyl­vania had been included in a vast...
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Adams County: Tranquility Regained

One of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, both in size and population, Adams County developed much the same as similar settlements along the Atlantic Seaboard. Its growth during the past two and a half centu­ries has been governed by its own particular circumstances, including location, terrain, soil, climate, vegetation, min­eral resources and the accom­plishments of the immigrants and...
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The Boals of Boalsburg: Two Hundred Years of a Pennsylvania Heritage

What is the story of America? The question stirs the imagina­tion, conjuring romantic im­ages of stalwart pioneers stalking the vast wilderness, of hardworking farming families toiling from sunrise long past sunset, and of village mer­chants eking out meager livelihoods in America’s heartland. Much of the story is devoted to the fledging hamlets and em­bryonic communities and their...
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