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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Thomas Say: Pennsylvania Entomologist

Thomas Say was a keen observer of living things. In a scientific era that cherished primacy in classification and description, Say was renowned for his work. He named approximately 1,500 North American insects and scores of other species. This accomplishment alone could justify scientist Benjamin Silliman’s assertion that Say “has done more to make known the zoology of this country,...
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Pennsylvania Icons: State Treasures Telling the Story of the Commonwealth

  Pennsylvania Icons is a landmark exhibition at The State Museum of Pennsylvania that tells the story of the commonwealth and its people, places, industries, creations and events with more than 400 artifacts and specimens from the museum’s collection. The State Museum contains the largest and most comprehensive Pennsylvania history collection in the world, with a diverse array of objects...
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Piney Island Face Rock

Is this face carved into a 5-inch-diameter river cobble a sort of ancient emoticon? Perhaps. It is more likely a ceremonial figure used by a shaman during tribal rituals. But it may be a purely decorative object. Archaeologists are not quite sure. What is known is that the artifact, called “Face Rock,” is the earliest of its kind found in Pennsylvania. Face Rock was unearthed on Piney Island,...
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Art of the State 2015 / First Pennsylvanians

Art of the State 2015 Twenty-one artists received awards for their work at The State Museum of Pennsylvania on June 28 at the opening for this year’s Art of the State. The annual juried exhibition, now in its 48th year, is cosponsored by the museum and Jump Street, a nonprofit organization in Harrisburg. Judges honored exhibitors in five categories: craft, painting, photography, sculpture and...
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250 Years on the Pennsylvania Trails of History

Two historic battles being commemorated late this summer bookend a fifty-year period that started with American colonists fighting to defend British interests and ended with the new United States defending its own interests and sovereignty against British attacks. Battle of Bushy Run 250th Anniversary In July 1763 during Pontiac’s War, British forces commanded by Col. Henry Bouquet marched west...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Summer 2013 Newsletter: Stories from the Homefront: Pennsylvania in the Civil War Opens in September New PaHeritage.org Website Trailheads: 250 Years on the Pennsylvania Trails of History Welcome New PHF Members Welcome New State Museum Affiliate Members PHF Board Harrisburg SciTech High School Docents Washington Crossing Historic Park Visitor Center Pennsylvania Lumber Museum...
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Alfred King’s Forgotten Fossil Footprints

The science of paleontology – the study of ancient life based on fossils – began in Western Europe about 1800. It soon cropped up in the United States, as the populace of a young and growing nation discovered many fossils. Among these early discoveries were those of fossil footprints, most famously found during the early 1800s in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts and...
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A Century of Marking History: One Hundred Years of the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program

It’s a safe bet that when Susan Richard of Grantville, Dauphin County, comes across a historical marker for the first time, she’s going to stop her car, get out and read it, and then take a picture for her collection. Richard, a former museum docent, loves everything about historical markers. “Historical markers are so much fun!” she says. “This is history you will...
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Indian Hannah

Hannah Freeman is a name rarely found in history books, although her story and legend live on in southern Chester County. Known more popularly as “Indian Hannah,” Freeman is remembered in local lore as the last Lenape living in Chester County at the time of her death in 1802. She was born about 1730 on the Webb farm in Kennett Township not far from the Delaware border. Today the farm is part of...
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