Looking Back at 2018

This past year marked the centennials of the end of World War I and the start of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Of special significance to Pennsylvania was the 300th anniversary of the death of founder William Penn. What follows is a brief glimpse of 2018 on the Pennsylvania Trails of History, a few highlights among many.   William Penn’s Legacy To commemorate the 300th anniversary of...
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Coal Patch, Take Two: The Preservation of Eckley Miners’ Village

“A ghost town surrounded by strip mines.” That was how Eckley was described in the 1960s, a far cry from its heyday in the late 1800s when the coal-mining “patch town” had boasted a population of 1,500. At Eckley’s peak, more than 350 men and boys were engaged in mining nearly 144,000 tons of anthracite coal a year from local seams. By the 1960s, however, mining...
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A Jewel in the Crown of Old King Coal: Eckley Miners’ Village

It survives – somewhat miraculously – as a vestige of Pennsylvania’s coal mining heritage, a link in what was once a chain of little coal communities, or patch towns, that dotted the anthracite region. “Eckley is part of the puzzle, but not a unique part. There were numerous, almost identical, mining patch towns like Eckley,” explains Vance Packard, site...
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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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PHMC Highlights

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, will host “Railway Heritage in the Heart of Penn­sylvania Dutch Country,” the forty-fifth annual conference of the Association of Railway Museums from Wednesday through Sunday, October 5-9. Conference topics include steel car preservation, oral history programs, historical writing, and linking railroading and the public school...
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Sampling a Taste of the Past Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

One of the best ways to experience the Keystone State’s history and heritage is to travel the Pennsylvania Trails of History®, a network of two dozen exciting historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency. PHMC has organized its popular destinations into four main trails – Military...
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