The Old Stone Arch Bridge over Jack’s Creek

The Old Stone Arch Bridge over Jack’s Creek in Derry Township, Mifflin County, captured in this c.1937 postcard, has been enhancing travelers’ journeys ever since 1813, when it was built as part of the first turnpike to connect Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Construction of this segment of the road began in Lewistown and was completed to Harrisburg in 1825. The single-span, semielliptical stone...
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Lewistown Narrows

  The contrasting relief of Shade and Blue mountains with the Juniata River Valley creates a magnificent landscape near the border of Juniata and Mifflin counties. That splendor belies the obstacles that the topography has presented for engineers throughout the centuries. Archaeological excavations of the Lewistown Narrows within Juniata County have revealed artifacts dating back nearly...
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Juniata’s Hills: “Rolling Over Crags to Woodlands”

Oh, the hills of Juniata, Oh, her stony wooded hills, and her flower-scented valleys and her crystal streams and rills, Rolling over crags to woodlands, ‘Tis a sight worth far to go, Sun-kissed hills of Juniata, Oh, they thrill and still me so. The above lines are taken from the county poem (officially accepted as such during the 1981 Tercentenary celebration), written by the late Dr....
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The Great Escape: Camping in the 19th Century

During the turbulent nineteenth century, Americans were as mobile as wheels, waterways and ambition could make them. The population was preoccupied with carving out a new nation, emigrating, pioneering, surveying, sod busting, prospecting for gold and, fundamentally, attempt­ing to preserve body and soul. With the surge westward and the consuming desire to push on to the frontiers, there was a...
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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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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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Perry County: A Sportsman’s Paradise

Despite its proximity to Pennsylvania’s bustling and heavily urbanized capital city, Perry County remains a sportsman’s placid paradise with its thickly forested moun­tains and lushly verdant val­leys. Much like its neighboring counties – Franklin, Cumber­land, Juniata and Dauphin­ – Perry County claims a topogra­phy that is neither unique nor unusual: its mountains give...
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Mifflin County: The Crossroads of the Commonwealth

Mifflin County will celebrate its two hundredth birth­day on September 19, during a customarily beau­tiful month when glowing foliage sweeps over four hun­dred and thirty-one square miles of farms, small towns and wooded mountains. Ex­tending from Bear Gap to Kistler Borough through rug­ged and scenic valleys to the banks of the Juniata River, it’s just fifteen miles from the Seven...
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Blair County: Center of Transportation

Blair County was among the last counties created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. One factor which delayed the establishment of an additional county in the southern portion of central Pennsylvania was geography. The rugged, eastern slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, in which Blair County was eventually located, diverted settlers to other areas. Only after the discovery of iron ore...
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Burnt Cabins

On July 18, 1749, Seneca representatives complained to the Provincial government that white settlers were violating a treaty by building houses on land belonging to the Six Nations. In response, Lieutenant Governor James Hamilton issued a proclamation. “I … do hereby, in His Majesty’s Name,” Hamilton ordered, “strictly charge, command, and enjoin all & every the...
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