Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

Make the Connection

I just discovered your fine magazine at my neighborhood branch library. “The Watering of Philadelphia” [by Charles Hardy III, Spring 2004] gave me a great appreciation for the one resource I think many of us take for granted. When I drive through Philadelphia neighborhoods and see all the hot tubs, Jacuzzis, swimming pools, fountains, ponds, lawn sprinklers, and all manner of garden water features, I can’t help but think back to those early days when water was a rare convenience for Philadel­phians. This article should be given to all Philadelphia water users so that they realize that water isn’t just a commodity – it’s a precious commodity. Thanks for helping me make the connection with the present and past so that I can appreciate the fact that what we do today affects, for better or worse, the future we leave our children and grandchildren.

Jack O’Leary
Philadelphia, Pa.

 

Without an “H”

I’m sure I’m one of many who spotted this, but on page 13 of the Summer 2004 issue [“Little Havana on the Susquehanna: Cuban Seasons and Wartime Baseball in Williamsport” by James P Quigel Jr.] a map shows Pittsburgh spelled without the “h”! Where did you find such a map?

John L. Gregory
Erie, Pa.

According to historians, the misspelling of Pittsburgh, without an h, has been-and remains-a common mistake. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh notes Pittsburgh has been officially spelled with an h since its founding in 1758-except for the period between 1890 and 1911. In 1890, the United States Board on Geographic Names ruled that the h was to be dropped in the names of all cities and towns ending in burgh. Public protest prompted the board to reverse its decision and restore the h to Pittsburgh after the eleven-year hiatus. The map in the Summer 2004 issue appeared on a commercially produced postcard; such ephemera is rife with misspellings. Incidentally, there are fifteen Pittsburgs, sans the h, throughout the country.

 

Real Chaos

I always enjoy “Bookshelf.” The Summer 2004 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage features the book Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective by J. Samuel Walker. I believe a sentence in this summary misplaces the focus of the origins of the chaos and confusion surrounding the accident. The sentence reads: “From the outset of the accident, chaos and confusion reigned, especially among lay persons unfamiliar with nuclear technology and puzzled by its terminology.” In my view, it is unfortunate to focus on lay persons when the real chaos and confusion was being generated by the people in the nuclear industry who either did not know what they were doing or just lied to local residents.

Donald W. Hossler
Middletown, Pa.

 

Hawk Mountain

My daughter just sent me the beautiful issue featuring Hawk Mountain [“Soaring Above ‘This school in the Clouds‘” by Nancy J. Keeler, Summer 2004]. The color photographs are outstanding! I must admit, however, that the article made me homesick for Pennsylvania, especially for the autumn months when Mother Nature puts on her show of flaming fall foliage. That’s the Pennsylvania I remember – and long for the most. Thank you for such a great story.

Ethel B. Knox
Orlando, Fla.

 

Hawk Mountain is a place everyone should visit! I wish parents would take their children there for a day so that they could appreciate the importance of conservation. A healthy environment is a gift and one we need to protect. I thought the story of Hawk Mountain’s beginnings was terrific. Do we still have people in our midst who are as fearless as the founder [Rosalie Barrow Edge]? She was evidently scared of very little and was a woman of great conviction and strength. Kudos to Pennsylvania Heritage for making us aware of our natural history and its courageous guardians!

Beth Montgomery
Lancaster, Pa.

 

Long after the steel mills and mines and factories have closed, we still have viable places like Hawk Mountain. This is exactly the type of place on which we should base our twenty-first century economic initiative of tourism. If you build it – or preserve it – they will come.

L. Carter Johns
Philadelphia, Pa.