Lebanon County: Small in Size – Rich in Heritage

Lebanon County is located in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the center of the beautiful Lebanon Valley, which is formed by the Blue Ridge of the Kittatinny range of mountains to the north and the South Mountains, or Furnace Hills, to the south. Covering an area of 363 square miles, the county is inhabited by ap­proximately 100,000 people. Between the shale...
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Paesano: The Struggle to Survive in Ambridge

For nearly three-quarters of a cen­tury, Lucy Derochis, my grandmother, has struggled successfully to preserve and convey her Italian heritage while living in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Her cultivation of familial closeness was rewarded when family members gath­ered to celebrate her eighty-ninth birthday on March 13, 1980. The dur­ability of the tight and close structure of an Italian-American...
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Washington County: From Ice Age to Space Age

Southwestern Pennsylvania was for centuries a happy hunt­ing ground for Indians who were living there as long as two thousand years ago. In fact, as the result of archaeological discoveries made at the Meadowcroft Rock Shelter near Avella between 1973 and 1975, University of Pittsburgh anthropologists have proven conclusively that Ice Age people roamed the forests of Washington County even...
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The Stetson Company and Benevolent Feudalism

Philadelphia, during the first three decades of the twentieth century, was known for its great industrial enterprise. The city called itself the World’s Greatest Workshop and was a leader in the manufacture of more than 200 different items. It ranked first in the nation in the pro­duction of hosiery and knit goods, carpets and rugs, locomotives, street railway cars, saws, surgical...
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Geography and Resources: The Story of Adaptation

The country itself, in its soil, air, water, seasons, and produce, both natural and artificial, is not to be despised. – William Penn Man is a creative and inventive creature capable of either adapt­ing to the environment, when need be, or adapting the environment to suit his particular needs. In the words of Max Savelle, “the history of the Anglo­American colonies is . . . a history...
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A Glimpse of Mercer County

Mercer County, situated on the western edge of the state about midway between Erie and Pittsburgh. takes its name from Hugh Mercer, who emi­grated to Pennsylvania from Scotland. Mercer settled in Franklin County where he established a medical prac­tice, but he achieved prominence as a military man fighting in the French and Indian War and serving with Gen­eral Washington in the early campaigns...
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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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Pithole City: Boom Town Turned Ghost Town, An Interview with James B. Stevenson

One hundred and twenty-five years ago this summer, the placid calm of northwestern Pennsylvania’s sparsely populated but panoramic vista was ruptured when “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake’s well coughed up rich, black crude oil on August 28, 1859. The following boom years of the oil industry gave rise to numerous towns and cities, some of which were short-lived ghost towns. The...
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Life in an Industrial Boom Town: Monessen, 1898-1923

In reading about our nation’s past, we often forget how different life was for our ancestors. We read about historical figures and movements, but rarely – except in excellent historical novels – do we gain a glimpse into the living environment. We also tend to for­get that there are many past environ­ments, each producing its own style and pace of living. During the late...
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Dauphin County: Chocolates, Coal, and a Capital

Dauphin County celebrates its two hundredth anniver­sary this year. The events and themes that are the history of the county reflect the experience of Pennsylvania and the United States. Dauphin County has never been a homogeneous commu­nity; indeed, it is difficult to consider it as a single commu­nity. From the beginning it has comprised individuals of diverse ethnic, national and religious...
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