Pepper Hill Fire of 1938

In 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a New Deal program, and several camps were located in Pennsylvania. The CCC was charged with various types of projects including structural improvements, transportation enhancement, wildlife preservation, flood control and fire protection. When several forest fires broke out in the vicinity of...
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The Kinzua Bridge

Once the highest and longest viaduct in the world, the Kinzua Bridge in McKean County was built in 1882 for the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad. Designed to carry heavy railroad cars filled with coal, lumber and oil across the deep Kinzua Creek gorge, the bridge was created from more than 3 million pounds of wrought iron by the Phoenix Bridge Co., a subsidiary of the Phoenix Iron Co....
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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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Jackie Ormes, African American Woman Cartoonist

Born Zelda Mavin Jackson in Pittsburgh in 1911 and raised in Monongahela, Washington County, Jackie Ormes was the first African American woman cartoonist. At the height of her career, her cartoons and comics reached more than a million readers across the nation through the black press. When the Jim Crow era was in full swing and racial stereotypes were prevalent, Ormes broke down barriers of...
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Anna Wagner Keichline: Architect, Inventor, Suffragist and World War I Special Agent

The Pennsylvania Historical Marker for Anna Wagner Keichline (1889–1943) is prominent among a growing number of markers related to women’s history in the state. Keichline is known as one of the first women to practice architecture professionally in the United States, but she had multifaceted interests and achieved distinction in several fields. Born and raised in Bellefonte, she exhibited...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation Newsletter

Topics in the Spring 2017 Newsletter: PHF Board Meets at Pennsbury Manor The Giving Circle PHF Welcomes Three New Board Members Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt at Pennsylvania Farm Show Join the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation  ...
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From the Executive Director

You may have noticed some changes to the masthead in Pennsylvania Heritage. That is because in July Governor Tom Wolf appointed five new citizen members to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC), as well as a new chair. Fourteen commissioners play a vital role in the governance of PHMC, but you may be unaware of what they do or how they are chosen. The composition of the...
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Julia C. Collins

Recognized as one of the first African American women to have published a novel, Julia C. Collins is an enigma. Little information is available about her life. Her maiden name and the date and place of her birth are all unknown. Her education is a mystery. One record that does exist appeared after her marriage to S. (Stephen or Simon) C. Collins of Williamsport, Lycoming County, indicating that...
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Shawnee-Minisink Archaeological Site

The Shawnee-Minisink site in Monroe County contains some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in eastern North America, carbon-14 dated to around 11,000 BCE. While other sites from the Paleoindian period have been found, very few have been undisturbed. Buried beneath nearly 8 feet of sediment, the archaeological deposits of Shawnee-Minisink remained protected for ages. Archaeologists...
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Humphry Marshall, Father of American Dendrology

Humphry Marshall (1722-1801) has been called the Father of American Dendrology, the study of wooded plants. In 1785 he authored Arbustum Americanum, a catalog of American trees and shrubs following the Linnaean system of plant classification, the first publication of its kind. A stonemason by trade, Marshall took an early interest in botany. His cousin John Bartram (1699-1777), who had created a...
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