Trailheads

Autumn is a wonderful time on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Many travelers combine a visit to one of PHMC’s historic sites and museums with a leisurely drive along Pennsylvania’s scenic highways to view the beautiful fall foliage. The days grow shorter, but there are still plenty of activities at our sites and museums as summer gives way to fall and early winter.   Celebrating the...
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The Hunt for Pennsylvania’s Timber Rattlesnakes

In the early 19th century, pioneer adventurer Philip Tome recalled that it was common to see 30 or 40 timber rattlesnakes at a time near his home along the Susquehanna River. “The snakes were so numerous that we used to clear the yard and build fires to keep them away,” he recalled in his 1854 memoir, Pioneer Life; or, Thirty Years a Hunter. “On leaving the house we always put on a pair of...
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Wyoming County: A Portrait of the Picturesque

The Endless Mountains region of northeastern Pennsylvania contains the rurally unspoiled and uncrowded Wyoming County, attracting both visitor and sports enthusiast with its picturesque valleys and charm­ing villages. Fed by the waters of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, which diagonally bisects the three hundred and ninety-six square mile county, this county lies at the northern end...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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The Revolution Affects Pennsylvania Communities

Every county and community in the Commonwealth was in some way involved or connected with the American Revolution and Pennsylvania’s attainment of statehood. Certain places associated with famous events in the struggle for independence come to mind immedi­ately: Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York for civil affairs, and Brandywine, Germantown, Whitemarsh, Valley Forge, and Washington’s...
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Keeping the Torch of Justice Burning Brightly: William P. Young

He faced criticism at his appointment, confronted adversity in his duties, and battled poor health in his later years, but he kept the torch of justice burning brightly for all to see, maintaining his dignity and poise at every turn. He was William Pennington Young (1895-1968), the Keystone State’s fifteenth secretary of labor and industry, from 1963 to 1967, during the administration of...
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Lost and Found

Lost Since its erection, first in iron in 1882 and then in steel in 1900, the Kinzua Viaduct, one of the most popular attractions along Route 6, has been hailed as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” des­ignated a national landmark, and treasured as the centerpiece of the Kinzua Bridge State Park in McKean County. The bridge, tow­ering three hundred feet in height and spanning more...
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Christy Mathewson: Baseball’s Gentleman and Tragic Hero

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, twenty thousand baseball fans packed New York City’s Polo Grounds to watch the hometown New York Giants host the reigning World Series champion and archrival, the Chicago Cubs. The contest would determine first place in the race for the coveted National League pennant. Right-handed pitcher Christy “Matty” Mathewson (1880–1925), a thirty-seven-game winner, took...
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Saving Documents Today for Future Generations

For three years, from 2008 through part of 2011, the archival staff of the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), has been involved in an initiative to improve the management of the Commonwealth’s historical records maintained by its sixty-seven county governments. Known as the Itinerant Archivist Project, the program...
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