Tough and Determined: Pioneering Newspaper Editor Rebecca F. Gross

On a night in the winter of 1947-48, Rebecca F. Gross, 42 years old and the editor of a 10,000-circulation daily newspaper in the small town of Lock Haven, Clinton County, was scheduled to have dinner with two luminaries of the time: Robert Capa, the internationally famous war photographer, and John Steinbeck, the novelist and future Nobel laureate. The dinner was an event set up for members of...
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From the Executive Director

As a trained historian who has devoted his life to the preservation and teaching of American history, I am embarrassed to admit how little I knew about my own family’s history—only a few bits and pieces passed down from my parents. I was told that our family settled in the old Northwest Territory before Ohio became a state in 1803 and that some of my ancestors came from Pennsylvania. I...
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Digging Deep: 50 Years of Preservation Archaeology in Pennsylvania

On a lovely morning in early autumn, I arrive at an old farm along the Susquehanna River to find Dr. Frank Vento in his natural element. That is to say, he is squatting down at the bottom of a backhoe trench some 8 feet deep, carefully examining the many layers of flood-deposited sediment left behind by the great river. Frank, recently retired from the faculty at Clarion University, is a...
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Calver Island

With the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act 50 years ago, the federal government asserted that “the historical and cultural foundations of the nation should be preserved as a living part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people.” These foundations exist not only aboveground but also belowground – the realm of...
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Holtwood Dam

  In October 1905 McCall’s Ferry Power Co. began construction in Martic Township, Lancaster County, on what would be the second of four hydroelectric dams built to harness the power of the Susquehanna River below Harrisburg, Dauphin County. Twenty miles from the tidewater of the Chesapeake Bay, it was then the third longest dam in the world, built of solid concrete, 55 feet high. The...
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Piney Island Face Rock

Is this face carved into a 5-inch-diameter river cobble a sort of ancient emoticon? Perhaps. It is more likely a ceremonial figure used by a shaman during tribal rituals. But it may be a purely decorative object. Archaeologists are not quite sure. What is known is that the artifact, called “Face Rock,” is the earliest of its kind found in Pennsylvania. Face Rock was unearthed on Piney Island,...
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PHMC Highlights

Art of the State 2015 Twenty-one artists received awards for their work at The State Museum of Pennsylvania on June 28 at the opening for this year’s Art of the State. The annual juried exhibition, now in its 48th year, is cosponsored by the museum and Jump Street, a nonprofit organization in Harrisburg. Judges honored exhibitors in five categories: craft, painting, photography, sculpture and...
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The Pennsylvania Turnpike, From Tollbooths to Tunnels: Rediscovering America’s First Superhighway at 75

Few Pennsylvania-born celebrities have made the kind of splash that the Pennsylvania Turnpike did when it first arrived on the scene in October 1940. Its 160 miles of limited-access, four-lane paved highway across the Alleghenies were hailed as America’s answer to the Autobahn, Germany’s highly regarded network of high-speed “super roads.” After the war, as the United States’ population expanded...
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Pennsylvania Governors Residences Open to the Public

Pennypacker Mills Pennypacker Mills possesses a lengthy history dating to about 1720 when Hans Jost Hite built the fieldstone house and a gristmill near the Perkiomen Creek, Schwenksville, Montgomery County. Purchased in 1747 by Peter Pennypacker (1710-1770), the house was enlarged and a saw mill and a fulling mill were constructed. The property acquired its name for the three mills. Peter...
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War and Tranquility: From Gettysburg to Glen with Robert Bruce Ricketts

The order was clear. Capt. Robert Bruce Ricketts and his two companies of artillery were to hold the Union’s left flank on East Cemetery Hill just beyond the outskirts of Gettysburg. “In case you are charged here,” Ricketts’ commanding officer Col. C.S. Wainwright told him, “you will not limber up under any circumstances, but fight your battery as long as you can.” The reality facing Ricketts on...
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