Chicken and Waffles: The Pennsylvania Story

In his 1861 local-color novel The Young Parson, German Reformed minister Peter Seibert Davis (1828–92) described chicken and waffles as the “stereotypical” Sunday supper among the Pennsylvania Dutch. How this dish moved from a regional identity food into mainstream American cookery is indeed a complicated story, especially since chicken and waffles reached its height of popularity during the...
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Pleistocene Preserved: The Lost Bone Cave of Port Kennedy

On October 29, 1895, more than 90 members attended a meeting at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Following the routine business of the publication committee’s report and the announcement of one member’s death, Henry Chapman Mercer (1856–1930) rose to speak about the ongoing exploration of a geological feature known as Irwin’s Cave in Montgomery County. The Philadelphia Inquirer...
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Backcast: Pennsylvania’s Legacy of Split Cane Fly Rods

  It’s important not to rush this. A mistake will obliterate a month of work. I take care to make sure that my workbench is uncluttered, the lighting is adequate to the task, and the tools I’ll need are handy but not in the way. Before me is a tapered hexagonal shaft composed of Tonkin cane (Arundinaria amabilis McClure), a type of extraordinarily tough bamboo found mostly in southeastern...
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Stockings, Cap Braids and Bomber Turrets: Wyomissing Industries Mobilizes for World War II

  “Textile Machine Works suspends production of knitting machines for the duration.” – The Yarn Carrier, October 1942 The Textile Machine Works was one of a handful of companies with common ownership that became known as Wyomissing Industries, located just west of Reading in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The 13,430th and last knitting machine, a “Reading” model, was the embodiment of 40 years...
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2017 Trails

Another year has passed on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Exhibits, special events, thousands of visiting schoolchildren, more than a few beer and wine festivals, and several battle reenactments are now recorded in the books. As a way of wrapping up the year, we look back at a few milestones along the way. But before we turn our attention to the World War I centennial and an overview of...
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Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

The Philadelphia Navy Yard was established in 1801 on Federal Street in the Southwark District of Philadelphia, an area along the Delaware River roughly 2 miles southeast of City Hall (part of this area was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Southwark Historic District in 1972). In 1868 the Navy Yard, later renamed the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, was moved to League...
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Boathouse Row by Dotty Brown

Boathouse Row: Waves of Change in the Birthplace of American Rowing by Dotty Brown Temple University Press, 273 pages, cloth $35 Mention “Pennsylvania” and “navy” in a game of word association, and history-minded folks might mention U.S. Brig Niagara, Oliver Hazard Perry’s War of 1812 flagship that fought in the Battle of Lake Erie. Another guess might be the USS...
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City in a Park by James McClelland and Lynn Miller

City in a Park: A History of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System by James McClelland and Lynn Miller Temple University Press, 392 pp., cloth $39.50 A substantial, richly illustrated book highlighting the significance of Fairmount Park and its place in the larger urban parks movement has been long overdue. City in a Park has finally arrived to fill that void. Augmented with 150...
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The Philadelphia Country House by Mark Reinberger and Elizabeth McLean

The Philadelphia Country House: Architecture and Landscape in Colonial America by Mark Reinberger and Elizabeth McLean Johns Hopkins University Press, 464 pp., cloth $69.95 Architectural historian Reinberger and garden specialist McLean’s Philadelphia Country House is the most complete study ever of the city’s colonial rural residences. It is likely to remain the definitive word on...
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Preserving Bartram’s Garden: Recent Restoration of the House, Garden and Riverfront

Sitting on 45 acres of pastoral landscape, the Colonial-era house at Bartram’s Garden has long been recognized as a Philadelphia architectural landmark and one of the first historic buildings preserved as a public park in Pennsylvania. John Bartram (1699-1777), the first American-born botanist, began construction shortly after he purchased the farm of 102 acres in the fall of 1728 in what...
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