Carved Duck Decoy by Frank Buchner

In the opening paragraph of an article entitled “Duck-Shooting on Lake Erie,” a writer for the Illustrated London News of January 5, 1889, observed, “In no part of the world is there better duck-shooting than on Lake Erie.” Duck hunters familiar with northwestern Pennsylvania had known that for some time. Migratory waterfowl have traditionally followed seasonal flight...
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“To Do Good and Love Mercy”: A Conversation with C. Delores Tucker

C. Delores Tucker was only a young girl when, because of her color, she was refused seating at a lunch counter in Detroit. The incident marked the beginning of a life devoted to advancing the cause of minority groups in this country. Born in Philadel­phia in 1927, the daughter of the Reverend Whitfield and Captilda (Gardiner) Nottage, she had lived her childhood in a multi­cultural environment...
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From Chaos to Calm: Remembering the Three Mile Island Crisis, An Interview With Harold Denton

Thursday, March 28, 1979, is a day forever etched in the memory of most Pennsylvanians and, indeed, many Americans. During the pre-dawn hours, events swiftly unfolded at a nuclear power plant on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg that would lead to the worst commercial nuclear accident in the nation’s history. In the days that followed, Three Mile Island (TMI)...
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David McNeely Stauffer’s Little Known Legacy to Lancaster

“Nothing con­tributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.” A passage from Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s 1818 clas­sic Frankenstein may be a most unlikely source, but these words characterize the equally unlikely life of Lancaster County native David McNeely Stauffer (1845-1913). Born in Richland...
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King Pearl L. Bergoff Invades McKees Rocks!

On Monday, July 12, 1909, one of the bloodiest labor disputes of the early twentieth century broke out at the sprawling works of the Pressed Steel Car Company in McKees Rocks, Allegheny County. Located on the Ohio River several miles northwest of center-city Pittsburgh, the company employed hundreds of skilled workers, all of American-born descent, and thousands of unskilled first-and...
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All in the Family: The Riches in Woolrich

John Rich II received a “warm” welcome when he visited winter logging camps in the dense forests of northern Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century. Tough, hardened lumberjacks valued the one bit of comfort and protection from frostbite that Rich proffered from the back of his mule cart: a simple pair of woolen socks. From those humble beginnings, Rich engaged in a trade that...
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The Watering of Philadelphia

In the glory days of the early republic, the Fairmount Water Works was one Philadelphia’s most famous landmarks: a marvel of engineering, scenic beauty, stylish design, and civic mindedness. It was built for the most practical of purposes – to provide a clean and plentiful supply of that most essential elixir: fresh water. Today, Philadelphian’s are blessed with one of the best...
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Slaves at the President’s House

President George Washington arrived in Philadelphia on the morning of Sunday, November 21, 1790, exhausted and depressed. The journey north from Mount Vernon, his beloved Virginia plantation, had not been pleasant. Heavy rain made the roads impassable at various points along the route, extending the journey from two to three days. A drunken coachman overturned the president’s baggage wagon...
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An Impressive Legacy: A Half-Century of Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania, 1955-2005

A quarter-century ago, James Biddle (1929-2005), president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, from 1968 to 1980, was named chairman of Pennsylvania’s first State Historic Preservation Board. Jimmy, as the scion of one of the Commonwealth’s most notable families was known – especially to fellow preservationists, many of them working at the grassroots level –...
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“In Immortal Splendor”: Wilkes-Barre’s Fugitive Slave Case of 1853

On Saturday morning, September 3, 1853, U.S. Federal Marshal George Wynkoop of Philadelphia and two deputies, John Jenkins and James Crossen, sat down to breakfast in the dining room of the Phoenix Hotel on River Street in the Luzerne County seat of Wilkes-Barre. At the far end of the room was a handsome, powerfully built mulatto named Bill (or, according to various newspaper accounts, known as...
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