Trailheads

What is there left to say about 2020? In previous issues, we’ve chronicled the response of PHMC’s Trails of History sites to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of early October, it looked unlikely that sites would reopen by the end of the year. The uncertainty surrounding reopening sites and welcoming visitors in person has caused a great deal of frustration on all fronts. Nevertheless, our staff and...
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Fort Dewart on the Forbes Road

Fort Dewart, which straddles the border of Bedford and Somerset counties in southern Pennsylvania, was a British military redoubt built in August 1758 during the French and Indian War, the North American conflict in the global Seven Years’ War (1756–63) between Great Britain and France. The small fortification was part of a chain of defensive forts and supply stops built by the troops of Gen....
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William Curtis Truxal’s Footlocker

William Curtis Truxal (1882–1960) was a 34-year-old attorney residing in Somerset when the Pennsylvania National Guard unit he commanded, Company C of the 10th Infantry Regiment, was mustered into federal service for World War I on July 15, 1917. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, he had first enlisted in the guard as a private in February 1914, and by October of that...
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The Sacrifices of Company C: Somerset County’s Valiant Soldiers in the Great War

In spring 2004 a resident of Somerset in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, chanced upon an aged postcard that had fallen behind a dresser many years before. Dated November 7, 1918, the postcard had been sent by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, and was addressed to “the Family of Herbert Foust,” a soldier of Company C, 110th Infantry Regiment, a Pennsylvania...
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Editor’s Letter

Forty some years ago, when I was in elementary school, I took a field trip with my science class to The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg to see the dioramas of Pennsylvania’s wildlife in Mammal Hall. Walking around the dark, circular gallery, I peered through windows into the fascinating, realistic habitats of 13 mammals, from the common to the locally extinct, and was transported to...
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From Memory to Memorial by J. William Thompson

From Memory to Memorial: Shanksville, America, and Flight 93 by J. William Thompson Penn State University Press, 200 pp., paper $19.95 The crash site and memorialization of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Somerset County, hasn’t received as much attention as the other sites touched by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This short, thoughtful and exceptionally well-written book brings...
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The Ship Hotel: Afloat with the Lincoln Highway’s Most Unusual Landmark

In 1931 the first and only baby was born at the Grand View Point Hotel, 18 miles west of Bedford, Bedford County. Little Clara was the pride of her grandfather Herbert J. Paulson (1874-1973), a Dutch immigrant who had built the hotel on the side of a mountain along the winding, two-lane Lincoln Highway. Clara grew up in the hotel, which “Captain” Paulson turned into the ship-shaped...
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Somerset County: Paths through the Roof Garden

Referring to the high elevation and the scenic quality of the region, Gov. Martin G. Brumbaugh called Somerset County “the Roof Garden of Pennsylvania” at an annual Farmers’ Day picnic in 1916. Since then. the description has become a familiar and respected title; the words “Roof Garden” have been in­corporated in the names of various businesses, and the complete...
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Fayette at the Crossroads

Fayette County has always been at the crossroads, both literally and figuratively, its destiny shaped by its location, the incredible riches of its natural resources and the vi­tality of a people descended from al­most every nation of Europe. It has a son of dual personality, geo­graphically divided between mountains and lowlands, historically divided into two almost equal eras of economic...
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Siegmund Lubin: The Forgotten Filmmaker

In Philipsburg, the summer of 1914 ended with a crash that could be heard for miles and seen around the world. On the slopes of Centre County’s Collision Field, a stadium formed by nature, five thousand festive, flag-waving spectators gathered to watch the wrecking of two great Pittsburgh & Susquehanna Railroad locomotives. Bands entertained the Labor Day celebrants with musical...
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