PHMC Highlights

Art of the State 2019 On June 23, 2019, Pennsylvania’s finest artists mingled with guests at the opening of Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2019 at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. The 52nd annual juried exhibition, presented by the museum in association with the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, PHMC’s nonprofit partner, showcased 110 works of art by 103 artists from 35 counties...
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Tioga County: A Last Frontier

Fallbrook, Hoytville, Landrus and Leetonia are names that evoke memories of the past for some Tiogans, while for others, build­ings or a place on a map serve as re­minders of what has been. These names are evidence of the establish­ment, growth and demise of economic centers – coal mines, lumber mills and tanneries – important in Tioga County’s past. Today, these enterprises...
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Historical Sketch of Greene County

Greene County lies in the southwestern corner of the state. Its many hills, the distinguishing feature of the countryside, grow more pronounced as one travels from the eastern to the western areas. The old Washington Waynes­burg Railroad, traveling through the hills, was famous for its 178 sharp turns, each of which jolted the passengers. There were some who took the trip just for the roller...
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A Historical Sketch of Indiana County

Indiana County was named for the native Indians. During historic times the two principal tribes were the Delawares and Shawnees. Being reluctant to give up their lands, the Indians struggled desperately to keep out the tide of European settlers. Perhaps the first white settler to enter Indiana County was James LeTort, an Indian trader, about 1726-27. A place called “Letart’s...
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The Depression Strikes Indiana County

The Great Depression of 1929-32 without question was one of the watershed periods in American history. Joseph Alex Morris once wrote that “people later would speak of ‘before 1929’ or ‘after 1929’ as Noah’s children may have spoken of the days before and after ‘The Flood.'” The personal deprivation and social upheaval of those times sent shock...
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Historical Sketch of Elk County

Elk County is named for that noble animal that once abounded in the region in great numbers. The last native elk, however, was shot in 1867 in Elk County by an Indian, Jim Jacobs. Today, Pennsylvania’s only Elk herd roams freely over the area bounded by Elk and Cam­eron Counties. It is descended from the Elk herd imported into Pennsylvania in 1913 from Montana and Wyoming. The history of...
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Rural Bust and Boom: Snyder County, 1880-1920

Between 1880 and 1920 a dialectic of sorts operated in Snyder County. These were years of decline. This decline was both absolute, in population and the generation of wealth, and relative, when compared to the growth in numbers, wealth and cultural richness occuring elsewhere. The area did not have easily tilled fertile soil; its minerals were neither accessible nor rich; its population was...
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1931 Report of Penn Central Light and Power Company

A 1931 report of the Penn Central Light and Power Company, of Altoona, Blair County, is contained in Record Group 14, Records of the Department of Internal Affairs, in record series 14.10, Annual Reports of Manufactured Gas Companies, 1931-1936, 1939-1955, at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. According to these annual reports, forty-four manufactured gas companies were operating in...
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Dan Desmond, Eyewitness to Energy History

Pennsylvania news writers have crowned him Pennsylvania’s Energy Czar and legions of admirers look to him as the Keystone State’s energy guru. And it’s little wonder why. Daniel J. Desmond served the Commonwealth for nearly two decades and helped guide the growth of Pennsylvania’s renewable energy industry. He joined the Pennsylvania Energy Office in 1983 and served as...
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Barbara T. Zolli on “A Drop of Oil”

Crude oil, found in abundance in northwestern Pennsylvania, held out many possibilities by the mid-nineteenth century. It burned when ignited, served as a practical lubricant, was thought to have medicinal properties, and had been used for various purposes by generations of Native Americans. That it might be in ample supply became apparent to many locals when it oozed from the ground and...
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