The Spirited History of Pennsylvania Saloons

In 1905 and 1906 Charles and Linnie Ross of Stroudsburg traveled throughout Pennsylvania, photographing residents and buildings in communities they passed. Hoping to sell their prints for a handsome profit, they made sure to shoot the most popular spots in each town. Unsurprisingly, the Rosses photographed dozens of saloons in their travels, including this one in Williamsport. By 1851 saloons...
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Fighter’s Heaven: Muhammad Ali’s Training Camp in the Pennsylvania Wilderness

On a mountainside overlooking Deer Lake, in Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill County, is a restored boxers’ training camp called Fighter’s Heaven, originally built by Muhammad Ali (1942–2016) in 1972. The Champ, as he boastfully called himself, designed the boxing haven during the early phase of his post-three-year-suspension comeback tour in order to escape the hullabaloo of civilization as he trained...
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Editor’s Letter

In 2016 the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) presented its first Community Initiative Awards to recognize organizations, agencies, municipalities and individuals throughout the commonwealth for their historic preservation successes. The program has become a key component of PA SHPO’s statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere, encouraging...
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The Easter Egg: A Flourishing Tradition in Pennsylvania

The hen cackled in the early morning light as the door of the chicken coup opened and the boy walked in with his basket. He had risen before dawn to help with the farmwork as usual. But on this most suspicious of days, Karfreidaag, or Good Friday, gathering the eggs was no mere ordinary task. As on all other mornings, the boy deftly reached under the clucking hens, soothing the birds with a few...
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Butter v. Margarine

Butter and margarine have been at war since the latter was invented in France in 1869. Made from beef tallow, “oleomargarine,” as it was originally called, arrived in the United States in the 1870s. It was marketed as a cheaper and less perishable alternative to butter. This threat to butter sales led many American dairy farmers to wage campaigns against the new product in legislatures and...
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Community Initiative Award Recipients Featured in PA SHPO Videos

A core mission of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) is to educate the public regarding state and federal preservation programs. The production of testimonial videos is one way in which PA SHPO shares preservation’s positive outcomes and its importance for Pennsylvania’s many diverse communities. In 2018 PA SHPO honored three organizations with Community Initiative...
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Pennsylvania Stories – Well Told by William Ecenbarger

Pennsylvania Stories – Well Told by William Ecenbarger Temple University Press, 244 pp., cloth $25 Ecenbarger has earned well-deserved praise and admiration for his work as a newspaper staff writer and freelance writer over the course of a Pennsylvania-based career of nearly 50 years. His previous book, Kids for Cash (New Press, 2012), detailed the corrupt juvenile justice system in northeastern...
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Powwowing: Ritual Healing in Pennsylvania Dutch Country

It was just after dark when the powwow doctor arrived at the elderly woman’s home in Lebanon County. The woman had been suffering from swelling in her legs that made walking difficult. Regular medical treatment had proven to be unsuccessful, so after enduring several months of painful discomfort, she called a powwower on the advice of a friend. Tonight would be the third successive...
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Baking Pennsylvania Dutch Style

Regional American cuisine is fast becoming the hottest trend on the food scene today, and while we still hear a great deal about Cajun or the Southwest, one of the richest areas for culinary diversity is Pennsylvania. The Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism, a nonprofit that has taken the lead in exploring the foods of our state, has identified five distinct culinary...
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How They Served: Recovering the Experiences of Five Pennsylvanians in the American Civil War

Pennsylvania supplied approximately 362,000 soldiers to the Union effort in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. This was more than any other Northern state except New York. The Keystone State suffered the loss of 33,183 sons to death while in war service, and virtually every aspect of Pennsylvania society was affected by the pervasive nature of the great conflict and its staggering cost in terms of...
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