The Pennsylvania Turnpike, From Tollbooths to Tunnels: Rediscovering America’s First Superhighway at 75

Few Pennsylvania-born celebrities have made the kind of splash that the Pennsylvania Turnpike did when it first arrived on the scene in October 1940. Its 160 miles of limited-access, four-lane paved highway across the Alleghenies were hailed as America’s answer to the Autobahn, Germany’s highly regarded network of high-speed “super roads.” After the war, as the United States’ population expanded...
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“The Greatest Thing That Ever Happened to Us Country People”

On a Halloween night early in the 1930s, a barn caught fire a few miles from Corry, Erie County. A passer by, Harry Burrows, hurriedly tied his horse and ran to help free the trapped animals. In the excitement no one noticed that the farm’s hired man was missing, but later they learned that his kerosene lantern was the cul­prit in starting the fire. “Some time, some way, he knocked...
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America’s Dream Highway

Almost no one could have foreseen, fifty years ago, that an experiment in trans­portation engineering mean­dering across the rugged southern Alleghenies could profoundly affect the way tens of millions of Americans tra­vel. But from the very day it opened on October 1, 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike did just that – despite the fact that its first section ran from nowhere to nowhere. The...
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An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s “Little New Deal”

Despite substantive efforts by Governor Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) during his second non-consecutive term, from 1931 to 1935, unemployment, underemployment, and poverty continued to plague the Commonwealth. The Great Depression had crippled the nation and Pennsylvania – America’s workshop – was hard hit as unemployment soared to nearly 40 percent in several industrial...
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Pennsbury Manor Architectural Drawing

Works of art featured in “Rediscovering the People’s Art: New Deal Murals in Pennsylvania’s Post Offices” by David Lembeck, beginning on page 28, are some examples of the legacy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal in Pennsylvania. Another is the reconstruction of William Penn’s Pennsbury Manor overlooking the banks of the Delaware River in Bucks County. A popular attraction along...
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From the Editor

This issue of Pennsylvania Heritage concludes our year-long observance of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New Deal in Pennsylvania. The milestone was adopted by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) as our annual theme for 2008, and we learned much about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ambitious economic relief programs and their impact on the Commonwealth and...
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Built by the New Deal

With the nation mired in the grim depths of the Great Depression, industrial Pennsylvania was far from being immune to the financial instability with the closing of 5,000 manufacturing firms and the loss of 270,000 factory jobs by 1933. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched his New Deal, a series of innovative programs targeted to giving work to the unemployed, stabilizing a downward...
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