The Erie Warner: From Movie Palace to Movie House to Civic Center

Once upon a time, brightly lit marquees of movie palaces of Pennsylvania’s streets dazzled the eyes of pleasure seekers. Today, the genre, described as possibly “the most dis­tinctly American contribution to archi­tectural history,” is all but extinct. And when a survivor is found, as on Erie’s State Street, the structure is a reminder of the gaudy and the phony, the...
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Currents

It’s a Zoo! When the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was organized at the home of Dr. William Camac (its first presi­dent) on March 21, 1859, it was the first of its kind in North America. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the early years of the Philadelphia Zoo – now touted as “America’s First Zoo”­ – were dampened by the Civil War, which not only...
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The Man Behind the Curtain: “Doc” Mishler and His Legacy

Isaac Charles Mishler (1862-1944) stepped off the train in Altoona, Blair County, on August 6, 1881, just before his nine­teenth birthday, with a suitcase crammed full of ambition. Like thousands of men from across America and throughout Europe, Mishler was drawn to the booming city founded and sustained by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR). Mishler spent the next year or two laboring as a...
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Laughing with Philadelphia Stooge Larry Fine

During the 1938 Independence Day weekend, hundreds of Philadelphians flocked to Atlantic City, lured by the sparkling beach and the frenetic boardwalk with its extravaganza of amusement rides, theaters, arcades, and Steel Pier, the showplace of the New Jersey shore. Many stood in line at Steel Pier waiting to see three men who had captured their hearts and imaginations — The Three Stooges. The...
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