McKean County: Where the Gold is Green

The great gold and silver rushes of the late nineteenth century to places such as the Black Hills, Colorado, Arizona, California and Alaska have long been hailed in story and song for their excite­ment, riches and heartbreak. But, the rush for “green gold” to McKean County during the same century was equally or more exciting. First, there were the forests – immense forests of...
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The Consequences of the American Revolution in Pennsylvania

One of the more interesting and controversial aspects of the American Revolution concerns its consequen­ces upon colonial institutions and society in general. Was the society left almost unchanged by a movement fun­damentally conservative in its causes, or was it profoundly altered by a revolution radical in its results, if not in its origins? Specifically, what happened to the society of...
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Chester County Welcomes Thee

The history of Chester County constitutes a significant part of the history of Pennsylvania, both province and commonwealth, and of the history of the United States of America. At the beginning of our nation’s Bicentennial and on the threshold of our state’s and our county’s tricentennial celebrations, Chester County looks proudly upon its past accomplishments and with...
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The Flight of the Brigantine Eagle

Captain Ashmead had cause to be concerned as he focused his glass on the two sailing ships some distance off his port bow. Moments before, he had been watching a sail some eight miles off his stern to the northeast, when his lookout called out the sighting of two sails almost dead ahead. Their riggings identified the two as a brig and a schooner, and motion atop its foremast reveal­ed the brig...
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Jefferson County: Of Wilderness Tamed

Jefferson County. Its hallmarks are as disparate as Thomas Jef­ferson and Punxsutawney Phil. Village names as dissimilar as Panic and Desire. Inhabitants as distinctive as Indian chief Cornplanter and Moravian missionary John Heckewelder. And a tranquil­ity which masks the turbu­lence of the nineteenth century’s lumber boom that spawned settlement and nu­merous ancillary industries....
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Lycoming County: Many Call It Romantic

Its heritage is so rich that it’s hard to adequately­ – and accurately – portray the roles Lycoming County has played in the Commonwealth’s history. Since its settlement in the mid­-eighteenth century, it has had, according to Sylvester K. Stevens, author of the 1946 guide to the Keystone State’s sixty-seven counties, My Penn­sylvania, “one of the most...
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Edwin Austin Abbey, A Capital Artist

For those familiar with his majestic works of art – particularly his grand public murals – it seems improbable that Edwin Austin Abbey (1852–1911) had little formal training. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for just one semester, where fellow students observed he rarely finished a drawing as assigned, preferring instead to produce sketches of his own design. Abbey was the...
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An Address for the Afterlife at Laurel Hill Cemetery

It all began in 1836, when architect John Notman (1810–1865) laid out a series of meandering walkways and terraces on the east bank of the Schuylkill River above Fairmount Park. With his design for Laurel Hill Cemetery, the twenty-six-year-old native of Scotland created the first architecturally designed cemetery in the country. He also established the nation’s second garden-type cemetery,...
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