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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Worthy of Preservation? Considering the Future of Architecture in Historic Preservation

The roots of historic preservation run deep in this country, especially in Pennsylvania. Taking hold in the 19th century as a response to unchecked modern development, the field has grown into a multidisciplinary profession, but what galvanizes concerned citizens to oppose the demolition of historic properties for new construction remains much the same today as two centuries ago. After the U.S....
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Craft Brewing: Another Revolution in Pennsylvania

The history of brewing beer in Pennsylvania has seen heights of success and pits of disaster. The commonwealth grew from colonial home-brewing roots to become a recognized industrial center, home to some of the most notable brewers in America before the disaster of Prohibition. After bouncing back with Repeal, Pennsylvania clung to its established favorites longer than any other state, savoring...
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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 Circus Train Wreck of 1893

Six-year-old Harry Snyder had slept fit­fully and awoke at dawn to the first silts of sunlight piercing his bed­room window. He heard the softly muffled rumble of a train descending the nearby mountain. The sound grew alarmingly louder with an ur­gency that sent a chill through the young boy’s body. He leaped out of bed and rushed to the window to see the train gliding around the curve in...
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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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Art with a Purpose: Pennsylvania’s Museum Extension Project, 1935-1943

Like other relief programs launched during the Great Depression under the aegis of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the goal of federal arts programs of the 1930s was two-fold: to rescue unemployed Americans from poverty and to produce something of public benefit. One of the unintended byproducts was controversy. In 1937, the Federal Art and Theatre Project unintentionally...
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The Union’s Forgotten First Defenders

Throughout the four years of the American Civil War, more than two million men served the Union, some for months, others for years. The vast majority were volunteers, young boys and aging men who willingly left home behind to fight for the preservation of the Union and the eradication of slavery.1 Historians have documented the stories of countless citizens-turned-soldiers, recalling the...
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When the Susquehanna River Was Pennsylvania’s Flour Highway

The flour trade industry in the Susquehanna River watershed is one of the lesser known stories in Pennsylvania’s history, but it is among its most significant sagas. Millers were among the first tradesmen to arrive in the New World to sustain the settlers. The Keystone State’s rich farmlands produced abundant flour for local and regional markets with a consistent surplus for export to foreign...
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A Forgotten Hero of the Civil War

At seven o’clock on Thursday evening, April 18, 1861, approximately 475 Pennsylvania citizens-turned-soldiers, comprising the ranks of five volunteer militia companies, arrived in Washington D.C., to protect the nation’s capital. The first shots of the American Civil War were fired less than a week earlier at Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and it had been just...
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