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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Mount Gretna’s Spirit Lives On

Mount Gretna in Lebanon County is an enduring gem of a historic village that offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience an unembellished, Victorian-era lifestyle that shuffles on in similar fashion today. Cloistered within a 16-mile slice of forested rocky hills surrounded by a patchwork expanse of farmland between Lancaster and Hershey, Mount Gretna came to life in 1892 as a village (now...
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A Tragic Day in Echo: The Southern Cambria Railway Trolley Accident

There are few hot days during the summer in Johnstown, Cambria County, but this day, Saturday, August 12, 1916, would be one of them. It was a good time to live in this bustling mill town nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. Newspapers were reporting appalling numbers of soldiers killed and wounded in the Battle of the Somme, an ocean away, but the war was not yet a local...
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Historic Districts in Pennsylvania: An Evolving Sense of Place

Jim Thorpe, originally named Mauch Chunk, is a small and picturesque borough of well-preserved 19th-century buildings perched on the side of a mountain along the Lehigh River in Carbon County. It once served as an important railroad and coal shipping center. As these industries waned in the 20th century, the town sought new economic purpose by marketing its scenic appeal as the “Switzerland of...
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The Lindbergh Engine: Racing through Time with Pennsylvania Railroad Locomotive No. 460

Sometimes an artifact can convey tremendous information simply by its presence. That is certainly the case with Pennsylvania Railroad Locomotive No. 460, housed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Lancaster County. Even without a label to read or any other type of interpretation to take in, a visitor will instantly comprehend the power the 243,000-pound steam locomotive is...
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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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Lebanon County: Small in Size – Rich in Heritage

Lebanon County is located in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the center of the beautiful Lebanon Valley, which is formed by the Blue Ridge of the Kittatinny range of mountains to the north and the South Mountains, or Furnace Hills, to the south. Covering an area of 363 square miles, the county is inhabited by ap­proximately 100,000 people. Between the shale...
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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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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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