Sowing the Seeds of Victory at Polk

In 1916, as battles raged across Europe, farmers in Entente countries exchanged sickles for rifles, leaving their ground untended. Poor harvests worldwide and increased U-boat activity in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean exacerbated an already depleted food supply. The need for additional production became increasingly apparent as the United States continued its support for France and Great...
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2015 Trails

It is time once again to look back at the past year on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. What follows is a scrapbook for 2015, with highlights of events and programs at PHMC’s historic sites and museums.   Milestones and Anniversaries In May, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum held a much-anticipated ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly expanded visitor center. The building and community...
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Pithole City

At first sight, there is not much to Pithole City 150 years after it was established. There are cellar holes, a grass-covered but visible street grid, a 1972 visitor center and interpretive guideposts. The property today looks much the same as when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 20, 1973, for its significance to industrial history. It is amazing to think that...
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Industrial Heritage Trails

America’s first significant industries date back to the 18th century with the iron plantations in Pennsylvania and the development of the factory system in New England textile mills. Preservation of our industrial heritage, however, is a fairly recent phenomenon, beginning for the most part after World War II. Prior to the war, federal programs and even private initiatives were designated...
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Ask A Curator Day

Sarah Buffington was quick with her response. The longtime curator at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County, had expected the question and she was ready. “Probably a static electricity machine,” she said. “The communal Harmony Society had a science museum, which we’ve recreated. They tried to make electricity in the 1820s and ’30s. It didn’t work...
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John Wilkes Booth’s Cane at Drake Well Museum

Precisely 150 years ago this summer, actor-cum-assassin John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865) – who had joined the stock company of Philadelphia’s Arch Street Theatre in 1857 where he acted for the season – spent more than a month in northwestern Pennsylvania’s oil region looking after his investments during petroleum’s boom years. While appearing at the theatre, later managed by Louisa Lane...
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Civil War Frying Pan at Drake Well Museum

The Reverend Darius S. Steadman (1831–1907), born in Columbus, Warren County, along U.S. Route 6 in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, was licensed to preach in 1857. He served congregations in Clarion County before being commissioned, on October 7, 1861, a captain and chaplain of the 105th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (PVI) known as the Wild Cat Regiment. The unit was raised in Jefferson, Clarion...
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Warren County: Gem of the Alleghenies

“To the south … an expanse of arable land upon the gentle slope from the volley to the distant heights, dotted with green fields, waving grain, fruitful orchards and farm buildings with ever and anon an oasis of growing timber, remnants of the dense growth of stately pine and hemlock that formerly forested the region, present an alluring scene of beauty and grandeur, excelling...
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Clearfield County: Land of Natural Resources

Clearfield County, believed named for the cleared fields found by early settlers in the area, belies its name; 83 percent of the county’s 1,143.5 square miles is still forested today. Its present timber, however, is second and third growth. Although its forest lands support some lumbering, the county’s economic life depends mostly upon coal and clay in­dustries and the manufacture of...
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The World Petroleum Industry: It All Started in Pennsylvania

The modern petroleum industry is a vast and complex association of multinational corpora­tions, producing countries, consumers and other inter­acting elements. The petroleum milieu is often identified and equated with the largest oil companies, “the seven sis­ters”: Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell, Gulf, British Petroleum, Mobil, Standard of California, and Texaco. As if to empha­size the...
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