Colonel Fred: The Handsomest Man in the Pennsylvania National Guard

A surprising number of the residents of Warren, Pa., remember Fred E. Windsor (1859-1936), though his name as well as his exploits have been long – if not deservedly – forgotten beyond the corporate limits. In the memory of Warrenites, he is the man on the borrowed white horse who led the Memorial Day parades in their youth, a relic and a reminder of the exhibitionistic optimism of...
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Schuylkill County: Built on Coal

The history of Schuylkill County is inextricably bound to the story – and drama – of the great anthracite industry in the United States. Despite nearly two centuries of active mining, the county’s 783 square miles still boast the largest accessible reserves of hard coal known in the world. Its lives and lifestyles have been quasi-fictionalized by two of the county’s best...
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The Molly Maguires: Fighting for Justice

Early on the morning of Wednesday. Septem­ber 1, 1875, a young English-born mine foreman started from his Schuylkill County residence to the Shenandoah coal colliery where he was employed. A gunshot pierced the air. Scrambling for cover behind a neighbor’s house, he was met by another assassin who drew his revolver and fired. Struck in the groin, the young man staggered blindly and fell to...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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Steel on the Susquehanna

Endless miles of steel track emerge from the gaping jaws of the roaring rail mill. Oper­ators in the cab above the line manipulate levers, as if pains­takingly choreographed, while red-hot rails shoot off the line, destined for the railroads of the world. What makes this scene unusual, is that it is occurs today. Far from the rusting hulks of the giant steel works of Pittsburgh, the Beth­lehem...
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“The Public Is Entitled to Know”: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick

On Saturday, July 23, 1892, Russian immi­grant and New York anarchist Alexander Berkman burst into the office of Henry Clay Frick in down­town Pittsburgh, stabbed him three times, and shot him in the ear and neck. Frick fought back and, with his secretary’s assistance, eventually subdued his assailant. Although he had sustained several serious wounds to his legs and chest, Frick insisted...
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Letters to the Editor

Homestead Revisited Thank you for the contribution by Brent D. Glass in the winter 1992 issue, “‘The Public is Enti­tled to Know’: Fighting for the Public Memory of Henry Clay Frick.” Many Pittsburgh resi­dents with three generations of local family knew that his reputation was built on the backs of coal miners and steel workers whose wretched lives he ignored. An...
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Martin Ritt Takes on The Molly Maguires

Far from the glitter and glamour of Hollywood, in a remote mountain range of Pennsylvania, the film industry’s best and brightest gathered in the late 1960s to make a film that has been described as a dismal financial failure and, ironically, an extraordinary critical suc­cess. Before cameras whirred in and around the communities of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Jim Thorpe, Carbon County,...
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The Shooting Stars of Drake Well

Much like other important industries in the Commonwealth – coal, iron, steel, timber, and railroading – the production of oil in northwestern Pennsylvania was fraught with danger. Among the perils petroleum speculators and drillers faced were fires, explosions, and fatal jams while shipping crude oil to market on waterways. One of the most dangerous tasks in extruding oil from the...
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The Rise and Fall of “Young Napoleon”

On Wednesday evening, November 13, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln paid a visit to the residence of George Brinton McClellan (1826–1885), who he had recently appointed general in chief of the Union Army. Located on Lafayette Square, near the White House, McClellan’s luxurious dwelling also served as his Washington, D.C., headquarters. Accompanied by Secretary of State William H. Seward...
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