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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A New Look at the Pennsylvania Continental Soldier

The Bicentennial’s focus on pageantry and commemoration has given us a clear image of what the Pennsyl­vania Continental soldier looked like – at least, at his best. But who was this keen-eyed, square-jawed stalwart, dressed in fringed hunting shirt and leggings, or sporting smart blue regimentals with red facings and gleaming white small-clothes? Where did he come from? What was his...
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One Should Not Overlook Union County

Union County on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River is one of Pennsylvania’s smaller counties, encompassing a bare 258 square miles, with a population of 30,000, including 3000 college stu­dents and 1900 inmates of two federal prisons. Few of its residents have held high political office and fewer of its names have appeared in Who’s Who in America. Yet the historical...
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“A New County to Be Called Snyder”

Snyder is a small rural county covering 327 square miles with a population exceeding thirty thou­sand. Situated near the center of the Commonwealth, it is bounded on the northwest by Jack’s Mountain, on the southeast by the Mahantango Creek and on the en­tire eastern end by the beautiful Susquehanna River. Most of the remaining boundaries are unrelated to natural features. Geologically,...
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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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Northumberland County: The Mother County

Although named for the most northern of England’s shires, Northumberland County has been often called by many the “Mother County.” Organized on March 21, 1772, as Pennsylvania’s tenth county, at one time it encom­passed eighteen thousand square miles! The county once extended from the Lehigh to the Allegheny rivers, with the New York border as its north­ern boundary. Its...
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Lycoming County: Many Call It Romantic

Its heritage is so rich that it’s hard to adequately­ – and accurately – portray the roles Lycoming County has played in the Commonwealth’s history. Since its settlement in the mid­-eighteenth century, it has had, according to Sylvester K. Stevens, author of the 1946 guide to the Keystone State’s sixty-seven counties, My Penn­sylvania, “one of the most...
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Shorts

The distinctively decorated furniture of Soap Hollow in Somerset County (see “Makers’ Marks and a Master’s Touch” by Edna V. Brendlinger and Robert B. Myers in the winter 1986 edition) is on view at the Southern Alleghenies Mu­seum of Art, Loretto, from Saturday, March 27, through Monday, May 31, 1993. Soap Hollow furniture, made during the second half of the nine­teenth...
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Executive Director’s Message

The two hundredth anniver­sary of Joseph Priestley’s arrival in Pennsylvania presents a time to reflect on the life and work of an individual who was truly a unique citizen of our state, nation, and the world. During his lifetime, Priestley was the representative man of the Age of Enlightenment in England and America. His discovery of oxygen in 1774 established his reputation worldwide as...
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Finding the Fabulous Furniture of the Mahantongo Valley

The exuberantly decorated furniture made during the first half of the nineteenth century in the Mahantongo Valley of south central Pennsylvania continues to attract considerable attention. The Mahantongo Valley, roughly seventeen miles long and four miles wide, lies about twenty-five miles north of Harrisburg, and its topography is formed by a series of sharp ridges, meandering creeks, and steep...
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