Editor's Letter is an introduction to the contents and themes of each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage by the editor.

With this edition, we conclude the magazine’s observance of PHMC’s annual theme for 2009, “Energy: Innovation and Impact.” Over the course of this past year, we learned much about the history of traditional energy resources and their impact on industry, economy, generations of workers, and the environment. We also discovered that Pennsylvania is a leader in green technology and renewable energy sources.

For this edition, Kenneth C. Wolensky, PHMC historian and frequent contributor to Pennsylvania Heritage, has written “Harnessing the Power of Wind: A Contemporary Use for a Historic Energy Source,” offering a behind-the-scenes look at how wind farms are changing the way we generate energy with negligible negative impact on the landscape. The feature includes an interview with Joe Green of Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County, who helped develop the pioneering Locust Ridge Wind Farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The stunning cover photograph and the powerful images of towering wind turbines illustrating Ken’s feature were taken by Don Giles of The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Don traveled across the Commonwealth documenting them especially for Pennsylvania Heritage and for an exhibit opening at the museum on Sunday, November 1 [2009], “Wind Titans: A Pennsylvania Photo Essay.” On view through Sunday, May 2, 2010, the exhibit will explore the Commonwealth’s use of wind, from propelling sailing ships, pumping water, and grinding grain to its new role of generating electricity. Because of its low impact on the environment and high yield, wind power is the fastest growing energy generation technology in the world. In the past, we relied heavily on coal mining and harvesting lumber for fuel, both of which scarred the Keystone State’s pristine terrain. The damming of rivers for hydroelectric plants not only impacted aquatic life but also halted the transportation of goods by water, which Earl E. Brown addresses in “When the Susquehanna River was Pennsylvania’s Flour Highway” in this edition.

Also appearing in this edition is “An Interview with Richard C. Saylor: The Impact of the Civil War Legacy in Pennsylvania” by Ted R. Walke, chief of PHMC’s Publications and Sales Division. This feature, which showcases treasures selected from the agency’s vast collections of Civil War objects, artifacts, photographs, correspondence, documents, and official records, is a prelude to the publication, later this year, of Soldiers to Governors: Pennsylvania’s Civil War Veterans Who Became State Leaders, written by Rich. The lavishly illustrated book, chronicling the lives and careers of six Civil War veterans who became the Commonwealth’s chief executives, will become a “must read” and a keepsake for individuals interested not only in the American Civil War, but also in state and national politics, military accoutrements, fine arts, biographies, and civil rights.

On behalf of the staff of Pennsylvania Heritage, I hope you enjoy all this edition offers. The staff and I are hard at work developing magazine and Web features for 2010, for which PHMC has adopted “Black History in Pennsylvania: Communities in Common” as its annual theme.

Michael J. O’Malley III
Editor