Finding Truth in the Frame: Leah Frances’ Discovery of Pennsylvania’s Historic Places

The National Park Service describes historic preservation as “a conversation with our past about our future.” Historic places are vital to this conversation, revealing the stories about the events, people and developments of a community’s past and representing its identity. In 1935 Verne E. Chatelain, a pioneer of public history and the first National Park Service historian, wrote the paper...
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Pleistocene Preserved: The Lost Bone Cave of Port Kennedy

On October 29, 1895, more than 90 members attended a meeting at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Following the routine business of the publication committee’s report and the announcement of one member’s death, Henry Chapman Mercer (1856–1930) rose to speak about the ongoing exploration of a geological feature known as Irwin’s Cave in Montgomery County. The Philadelphia Inquirer...
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Loleta Recreation Area

Upon his inauguration on March 4, 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt set about combating the economic crisis of the Great Depression with his New Deal program of economic reforms and public work projects. One of the most popular programs established that year was “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was part of the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) Act....
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From the Executive Director

Why do we tell stories? And why do we read them? Of course, they may be interesting, but how do they inform our lives today? Within this issue of Pennsylvania Heritage, you will find stories illustrating the best of human spirit — determination, curiosity, resourcefulness, bravery, loyalty and generosity. The Pennsylvanians featured in this issue — Charles Willson Peale, the Pennsylvania...
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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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The Pennsy Guns at the Pennsylvania Military Museum

State Museum curator Robert D. Hill’s article about the USS Pennsylvania (see “Keystone Flagship: USS Pennsylvania Leading the Navy through Two World Wars”) mentions that the ship underwent a significant refit in 1945. The ship’s wartime armament included a dozen 14-inch guns, arrayed in four 3-gun turrets (“14-inch” refers to the diameter of the projectile). Among other work, the...
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Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Disaster Planning for Historic Properties

In October 2012 Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the northeastern coast of the United States, leaving in its wake a path of destruction. To streamline aid to historic properties in areas hardest hit by the superstorm, the National Park Service (NPS) awarded more than $7.6 million to eight states to help repair and stabilize the damage. Of those states, Pennsylvania received the most funds in...
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Gosztonyi Savings and Trust

The Gosztonyi Savings and Trust represents the Eastern European immigrant community’s financial investment in America and the singular vision of a woman determined to continue and expand her husband’s legacy. The bank building at 530 East 3rd Street, Bethlehem, Northampton County, was constructed around 1922, well into the evolution of the Gosztonyi family’s successful...
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Preserving Bartram’s Garden: Recent Restoration of the House, Garden and Riverfront

Sitting on 45 acres of pastoral landscape, the Colonial-era house at Bartram’s Garden has long been recognized as a Philadelphia architectural landmark and one of the first historic buildings preserved as a public park in Pennsylvania. John Bartram (1699-1777), the first American-born botanist, began construction shortly after he purchased the farm of 102 acres in the fall of 1728 in what...
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Before and After the Act: Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania

In 1816 the City of Philadelphia purchased Independence Hall to save it from demolition. This was the first historic preservation effort in the United States. One hundred and fifty years later, the historic preservation movement found its footing as a national priority when President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Historic Preservation Act into law on October 16, 1966. The act codified the...
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