The Spirited History of Pennsylvania Saloons

In 1905 and 1906 Charles and Linnie Ross of Stroudsburg traveled throughout Pennsylvania, photographing residents and buildings in communities they passed. Hoping to sell their prints for a handsome profit, they made sure to shoot the most popular spots in each town. Unsurprisingly, the Rosses photographed dozens of saloons in their travels, including this one in Williamsport. By 1851 saloons...
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Romani in Pennsylvania

This fascinating early 20th-century postcard of a scene from Williamsport, Lycoming County, provides a view of life in Pennsylvania that is seldom represented in formal historic records or in preservation efforts. Cultures that exist outside the mainstream and especially those not linked to specific places pose a special challenge to historians. The word “Gypsy,” which appears on...
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Julia C. Collins

Recognized as one of the first African American women to have published a novel, Julia C. Collins is an enigma. Little information is available about her life. Her maiden name and the date and place of her birth are all unknown. Her education is a mystery. One record that does exist appeared after her marriage to S. (Stephen or Simon) C. Collins of Williamsport, Lycoming County, indicating that...
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Craft Brewing: Another Revolution in Pennsylvania

The history of brewing beer in Pennsylvania has seen heights of success and pits of disaster. The commonwealth grew from colonial home-brewing roots to become a recognized industrial center, home to some of the most notable brewers in America before the disaster of Prohibition. After bouncing back with Repeal, Pennsylvania clung to its established favorites longer than any other state, savoring...
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Original Little League Field

Like many boys growing up in the 1930s, the nephews of Williamsport resident Carl E. Stotz (1910-92) were baseball fanatics. After playing countless games of “pitch and catch” with the boys, Stotz promised them that he would develop a game of baseball on a size and scale appropriate for younger players. He kept his promise. In the late summer of 1938 he gathered his nephews and other local boys...
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Clinton County: Still Part of Penn’s Woods

Clinton County, one of the sixth-class counties of Pennsyl­vania, occupies 900 square miles of river valley and mountain land near the geographical center of the state. Nearly two-thirds of the area re­mains forested, al though most of the trees are second growth after a near denuding of the land by a booming lumber industry in the second half of the last century. It was in the wood­lands of...
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Columbia County is Diversity

From the time of the earliest settlements during the Revolu­tionary War era to the present day, Columbia County has been three sepa­rate neighborhoods-the southern re­gion (Catawissa and Centralia); the northern area (Benton and Millville) and the north bank of the Susquehanna River (Bloomsburg and Berwick). They are distinguishable by varied physical environments, ethnic origins and social...
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Bitumen: All Gone with the Wind

Maps of Pennsylvania­ – and Clinton County, for that matter – no longer carry the name of Bitumen. In fact, Bitumen has not appeared on maps for the last half-century. It’s not because the village is insignificant or unimportant. Simply put, the village is no longer there. With the excep­tion of a small wooden church and cemetery, Bitumen has disappeared. The history of Bitumen...
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With a Camera in the Sky: Samuel W. Kuhnert, Aerial Photographer

Sixteen years after Orville and Wilbur Wright mastered the age-old dream of flight, a World War I army surplus biplane buzzed high above the City of Harrisburg. City residents paused in their labors, gawked at the airborne marvel, this rare phenomenon, the airplane. They could not know that, high above them, a man holding a bulky wooden camera hung precariously out of the open cockpit, taking...
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Ben Austrian: The Chick Painter of Reading

His name isn’t exactly a household word. But chances are his century old creation – a plump little chick sporting a fancy French name – has been seen by countless homemakers in Pennsylvania, as well as throughout the world. Revered in Reading, Berks County, and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania as “the chick painter,” Ben Aus­trian depicted a chick for Bon Ami...
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