Historic Districts in Pennsylvania: An Evolving Sense of Place

Jim Thorpe, originally named Mauch Chunk, is a small and picturesque borough of well-preserved 19th-century buildings perched on the side of a mountain along the Lehigh River in Carbon County. It once served as an important railroad and coal shipping center. As these industries waned in the 20th century, the town sought new economic purpose by marketing its scenic appeal as the “Switzerland of...
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Letter to Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin

Casualties in the American Civil War were enormous on both sides of the four-year conflict. Reuben Kemmerer (also spelled Kemerer), of Company I, 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, suffered wounds to his right hand during the Second Battle of Deep Bottom in August 1864. He was one of approximately 2,900 Union soldiers wounded in the engagement which took place in Henrico County, Virginia,...
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From Wilkes-Barre to the Wild West: George Catlin, Indian Painter

His early exposure to American Indians indelibly impressed northeastern Pennsylvania native George Catlin (1796–1872). His mother Mary “Polly” Sutton Catlin (1770–1844), married in 1789 to Putnam Catlin (1764–1842), formed his earliest impressions of Native Americans. With her mother Sarah Smith Sutton (1747–1834) she was captured and held captive at the age of seven by Iroquois. The day was...
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Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1950-1981

As the last in a four-part series about Pennsylvania s architecture, this conclusion focuses on the develop­ments which have occurred in the field of preservation over the past thirty years. Although this temporal division may seem disproportionate when com­pared with the one hundred fifty years covered in rite preceding article. it has been dictated by both the incentives and challenges to...
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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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A Walk of Injustice

Just before sunrise on Monday, September 19, 1737, a strange gathering of Indians, white settlers and professional woodsmen assembled beneath a mam­moth chestnut tree along the Durham Road in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The Indians were Minsi and Shaw­nee of the Delaware Nation, along with two of their chiefs, Tisheekunk and Nutimus; the white settlers were men anx­ious for Pennsylvania to...
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Carbon County: Stone Coal in the Switzerland of America

Carbon, the primary component of an­thracite coal, is also a county in eastern Pennsylvania – for the same reason. The value of anthracite to the burgeoning industrial revolution of the mid­-nineteenth century created in 1843 a new county from the northern fringes of the once­-immense Northampton County. Beginning in the nine­teenth century, an entire county of coal was carved and moved to...
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A King Crowns the World’s Greatest Athlete

On a sun-drenched July afternoon in 1912, thirty thousand spectators thronged the closing ceremonies of the fifth Olympiad held that year in Sweden’s capital of Stockholm. The event was quite a spectacle, punctuated by pomp and circumstance befitting a royal pageant. The stadium, especially constructed for the games, was electric with excitement. As a chorus of four thousand voices filled...
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Bookshelf

Historic Houses of Philadelphia by Roger W. Moss University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998 (256 pages, cloth,$34.95) Sumptuous, a word frequently used by restaurant reviewers and critics of haute cuisine, aptly describes Historic Houses of Philadelphia, the latest fare by Roger W. Moss, known widely for his books on Victorian era architecture and ornamentation. Fifty historic houses, mansions, and...
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“Your Future Depends on Yourself”: Asa Packer as the Self-Made Man

Nineteenth-century literature abounds with stories of men who rose from humble circumstances to great wealth by virtue of their own diligence, perseverance, and courage. Several of the most famous such works, novels written by Horatio Alger Jr. (1832-1899), became best-sellers because the American public relished his stories about plucky boys achieving their goals against all odds. In his first...
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