Lackawanna Mills and Scranton Button Historic District

At the crossing of Cedar Avenue over Stafford Meadow Brook in southern Scranton, Lackawanna County, lies a roughly 5-acre city block of industrial buildings that contains a history just as dense and layered as the location itself. In 1887 Scranton industrialist William Connell (1827-1909) founded two separate businesses at the site: Lackawanna Mills, a major manufacturer of wool and cotton...
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The Road to Resorts: Transportation and Tourism in Monroe County

Monroe County flourishes today as a lush, verdant resort and popular recreational area on the periphery of metropolitan centers. Tourism is sup­plemented by light industry which has left the largely rural setting relatively intact. Essentially, the county offers open countryside through which travelers make good time on interstate highways on their way to or from major cities and in which they...
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Crawford County: Welcoming the 21st Century

We passed over some good land since we eft Venango, and through several extensive and very rich meadows, one of which, I believe, was nearly four miles in length, and consid­erably wide in some places. Twenty-one year old George Washington, who would in time become a major landholder and land specula­tor, described Crawford County in 1753 as he carried a dispatch demanding the com­mander of the...
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Noble Ambitions: The Founding of the Franklin Institute

In the minds of its founders, the Franklin Institute was built on noble ambitions,” historian Bruce Sinclair has written. And born of a young man’s fury, it might be added. In 1823, twenty-two year old Samuel Vaughan Merrick was denied membership in a Philadelphia mechanics’ asso­ciation. A number of similar organizations had sprung up in the early part of the nine­teenth...
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Harmony in the Wilderness: A Walk through Old Economy Village

Imagine a band of religious zealots creating a community, furnishing households, and planting flowers on western Pennsylvania’s frontier with the absolute certainty that the second coming was imminent and that Jesus Christ would walk the garden paths and be made welcome in their homes. That’s what George Rapp (1757-1847) and his harmonist followers believed. Such was his confidence...
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Wanted: Women to Meet the Wartime Challenge! A Pictorial Essay

A woman’s place is in the home. That time-honored maxim certainly held true until the out­break of World War II. This selection of photographs and posters – some startling, some engaging – tells the story of a world turned topsy-turvy. Drawn from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Bureau of Archives and History, the Charles L. Blockson Afro­-American...
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Milwaukee Iron, Pennsylvania Style

What takes two and a half hours to make, costs at least sixteen thousand dollars to purchase, is assembled in a former military and bowling equipment facility in York, Pennsylvania, and bears the nick­name “Milwaukee Iron”? “What” is a motorcycle. More precisely, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Created in 1903 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and revered as the quintessential...
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Maurice K. Goddard: The Commonwealth’s Conservation Czar

There is a point in crossing the top of the Allegheny Mountains between Pittsburgh and Harris­burg at which a traveler sees, at every turn, only trees. It is one of the most spectacular views on the North American Continent. The scene lacks the frenetic energy of Niagara Falls, or the awe-filling majesty of the Grand Canyon, but this several­-hundred-square-mile panorama of second-growth forest...
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All in the Family: The Riches in Woolrich

John Rich II received a “warm” welcome when he visited winter logging camps in the dense forests of northern Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century. Tough, hardened lumberjacks valued the one bit of comfort and protection from frostbite that Rich proffered from the back of his mule cart: a simple pair of woolen socks. From those humble beginnings, Rich engaged in a trade that...
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Built by the New Deal

With the nation mired in the grim depths of the Great Depression, industrial Pennsylvania was far from being immune to the financial instability with the closing of 5,000 manufacturing firms and the loss of 270,000 factory jobs by 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched his New Deal, a series of innovative programs targeted to giving work to the unemployed, stabilizing a downward...
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