Delaware County: Where Pennsylvania Began

Delaware County is part of the densely populated belt around Philadelphia, stretching from the city’s western boundary to the circular Delaware state line. Covering approx­imately 185 square miles, it is the third smallest Pennsylvania county yet the fourth largest in population. Its southern boundary is formed by the Delaware River, from which the county takes its name. The site of early...
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History is Alive and Well in Beaver County

On June 6, 1824, the steamboat Ploughboy with the first contingent of Harmony Society members came around the bend in the river at Legionville; the skipper gave a cannon salute. After dropping anchor, the passengers disembarked and made camp. The following day, Father Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, wrote to the remaining members at New Harmony: “I consider this place the most healthful in...
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Erie County: Where Geography Has Shaped History

Erie County forms the northwest corner of the state, bounded by Lake Erie on the northwest, the states of Ohio and New York on the west and east respectively and parts of Warren and Crawford counties on the east and south. Historically the county was divided into two sections. The sou them region of 259 ,000 acres fell within the original land grant to William Penn. The northern portion of...
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Poor John Fitch, The Inventor Few Remember

Philadelphia, August 22, 1787. With the promise of some relief from their intense debate and the heavy summer air, delegates to the Constitutional Convention strolled a few blocks from the State House (now Indepen­dence Hall) to the banks of the Delaware River. Along the river puffed an oddity, a curiosity that the statesmen had never before seen: a steam-operated boat­ – the first of its...
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Sail On, O Ship of State: An Interview with Capt. Walter Rybka of the U.S. Brig Niagara

Summer 1992 marked the longest and most ambitious voyage of the historic United States Brig Niagara. Originally built for the fleet of Commo­dore Oliver Hazard Perry (1785-1819), the ship carried the twenty eight year old commandant to a decisive victory over the British during the bitter War of 1812 on September 10, 1813 (see “The Battle of Lake Erie: A Victory for Commodore Perry”...
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A Farewell to Arms: The Passing of the Philadelphia Navy Yard

Not only is the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, established in 1794, the oldest naval shipyard in the country’s history, but it is distinguished as the oldest continually operated public – that is, government – shipyard in the United States. The history of this sprawling complex is an integral part of both state and local heri­tage, as well as of the founding of the United States...
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