Wyalusing Rocks and the Federal Writers’ Project

Peering northwest at the Lehigh Valley Railroad and surrounding farmland from Wyalusing Rocks, several hundred feet above the Susquehanna River in Bradford County, these four observers are likely Federal Writers’ Project field workers. A spectacular lookout first revered by the region’s native inhabitants, Wyalusing Rocks is an outcropping of red sandstone located along the Warrior’s Path, a...
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Executive Director’s Letter

On Wednesday, March 19, Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan M. Corbett unveiled a portrait of Hannah Callowhill Penn (1671–1726) to hang in the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol with the Commonwealth’s early leaders and governors. This corrects an omission dating to the original furnishing of the Capitol in 1906. It also reflects the increasing scholarship about the proprietor’s...
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History Cast in Iron: Rediscovering Keystone Markers

From Airville to Blooming Valley, from Camptown to Dornsife, and all the way to Wysox, York Haven and Zion View, Pennsylvania literally claims unusual – as well as unique – place names from A to Z. Most of the Commonwealth’s cities, towns and villages were once marked with cast iron name signs, painted in the rich blue and gold colors associated with Pennsylvania. Manufactured in an...
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In the Public’s Best Interest

Edward Martin distin­guished himself as soldier, governor, senator and, above all, as honored citizen of the Ten Mile area in Pennsylvania, the small rural community in which he was born. His full and varied life had led him from the front lines of battle to the diplomatic circles of the nation’s capitol. The people whose lives he touched knew him as a dignified, loyal and honest...
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Expanding A Vision: Seventy-Five Years of Public History

Three-quarters of a century ago, it proba­bly surprised no one that the first act of the Pennsylvania Historical Com­mission, not long after its creation in 1913, was to survey all monuments and memorials in the Commonwealth’s sixty­-seven counties. At that time it was universally assumed that public history involved com­memoration and the rituals associated with recognizing significant...
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Shenks Ferry Revisited: A New Look at an Old Culture

In their efforts to trace the changing ways of life of ancient human societies, archaeologists have had to devise labels for each individ­ual culture they discovered. Often, these names seem strange and confusing. For example, in the Eastern United States, the term Late Wood­land Period has been given to all Indian cultures which prac­ticed large scale agriculture, and which existed between...
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Celebrating Fifty Years of State Historical Markers

On a September day in 1946, three men stood alongside U.S. Route 22, fourteen miles east of Harrisburg, inspecting a distinctive blue and gold sign that had just been erected. They were James H. Duff, chairman of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (who in four months would be inaugurated the Commonwealth’s thirty­-fourth governor), and Commission members Charles G. Webb and...
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Grave Sites, Petroglyphs, and Relics: The Turn of the Century Archaeology of David Herr Landis

Thousands of years ago, travelers from northeastern Asia­ – ancestors of Native Americans – followed the animals they hunted into what had once been inaccessible regions of Alaska. Over the newly-formed land bridge at the Bering Strait they came, eventually spreading across the North American continent, including the territory that became Pennsylvania. In the Commonwealth, as...
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Pushing William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” to Its Limits: Ephrata Cloister

On the banks of the Cocalico Creek in northern Lancaster County a group of remarkable individuals established Ephrata, one of colonial Pennsylvania’s most unusual communities. A place of intense spirituality, unconventional way of life, literary and artistic brilliance, and medieval-style architecture, Ephrata was the center of a religious society whose principles gave William Penn’s...
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Presence from the Past: A Gift to the Future Through Historic Preservation

The United States is a nation and a people on the move. It is in an era of mobility and change … The result is a feeling of rootlessness combined with a longing for those land­marks of the past which give us a sense of stability and belonging … If the preservation movement is to be successful, it must go beyond saving bricks and mortar. It must go beyond saving occasional historic...
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