From the Executive Director

For almost six years it has been my privilege and honor to serve as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC). This July I will complete my 50th year of public service as an educator, historian, museum director and preservationist. I can think of no better way to spend a life than in promoting and protecting America’s history and culture. It is very...
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Artful Trails

In honor of the 50th Art of the State exhibition, open through September 10, 2017, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, we’re exploring art at other historic sites and museums along PHMC’s Pennsylvania Trails of History. As visual storytellers, our sites employ a multidisciplinary approach to documenting and sharing Pennsylvania heritage. Artworks frequently play a role in the study...
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Pithole City

At first sight, there is not much to Pithole City 150 years after it was established. There are cellar holes, a grass-covered but visible street grid, a 1972 visitor center and interpretive guideposts. The property today looks much the same as when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 20, 1973, for its significance to industrial history. It is amazing to think that...
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Civil War Frying Pan at Drake Well Museum

The Reverend Darius S. Steadman (1831–1907), born in Columbus, Warren County, along U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, was licensed to preach in 1857. He served congregations in Clarion County before being commissioned, on October 7, 1861, a captain and chaplain of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (PVI) known as the Wild Cat Regiment. The unit was raised in Jefferson, Clarion...
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Warren County: Gem of the Alleghenies

“To the south … an expanse of arable land upon the gentle slope from the volley to the distant heights, dotted with green fields, waving grain, fruitful orchards and farm buildings with ever and anon an oasis of growing timber, remnants of the dense growth of stately pine and hemlock that formerly forested the region, present an alluring scene of beauty and grandeur, excelling...
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Pennsylvania Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1800-1950

The primary focus of this series of four articles is the architectural heritage of Pennsylvania through the past three centuries. However, in the context of history, architecture is neither an isolated creation nor an assured cultural resource for the future. As buildings ore the products of the interaction of many facets of a society, so. too, the preservation of architecture is the result of...
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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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John Wilkes Booth and the Land of Oil

Beginning about 10:25 on the evening of April 14, 1865, the time and date President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Washington’s Ford Theatre by John Wilkes Booth, a mass of information including evidence and myths has accumulated regarding the act and those connected with it, particularJy about the assassin him­self. John Wilkes Booth was the ninth of ten children born to Junius...
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Geography and Resources: The Story of Adaptation

The country itself, in its soil, air, water, seasons, and produce, both natural and artificial, is not to be despised. – William Penn Man is a creative and inventive creature capable of either adapt­ing to the environment, when need be, or adapting the environment to suit his particular needs. In the words of Max Savelle, “the history of the Anglo­American colonies is . . . a history...
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The World Petroleum Industry: It All Started in Pennsylvania

The modern petroleum industry is a vast and complex association of multinational corpora­tions, producing countries, consumers and other inter­acting elements. The petroleum milieu is often identified and equated with the largest oil companies, “the seven sis­ters”: Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Gulf, British Petroleum, Mobil, Standard of California, and Texaco. As if to empha­size the...
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