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.

Three Cheers

Three cheers for Pennsylvania Heritage and William D. Owen for the excellent article devoted to the Fairmount Water Works (see “The Fairmount Water Works: ‘One of the very prettiest spots the eye can look upon’” in the spring 1994 edition). The discussion of the prob­lems associated with the early use of steam power and the impact on the sub­sequent development of the Schuylkill River site was especially fascinating-not to mention the superb period depictions of the steam-powered water pumps at the Centre Square and Fairmount engine houses. Considering the main focus of the article was not the development of steam technology, I was particularly impressed by the quality coverage given to the significance of Oliver Evans’ high pressure engine. By 1802, Richard Trevithick, the British pioneer of high power steam engines, had used pres­sures as high as one hundred and forty­-five pounds per square inch (psi). The designs of Boulton and Watt typically used about five psi. In view of the poten­tial for a thirty-to-one power to weight advantage of high pressure engines, it was easy for Oliver Evans’ engine to out­perform its low pressure counterpart – ­even when that engine design came from the legendary partnership of Matthew Boulton and James Watt.

Robert E. Lindquist
Nescopeck, Pa.

Robert E. Lindquist is the American edi­tor for the International Stationary Steam Engine Society (ISSES).

Readers interested in learning more about the programs and publications of the International Stationary Steam Engine Society should write: P. O. Box 311, Nescopeck, PA 18635; or telephone (717) 752-2279.

 

Down Memory Lane

Thank you, Pennsylvania Heritage and author Kurt A. Topfer for the marvelous trip down memory lane with “The Anthracite Aristocracy Takes to the Mountains” (see the summer 1994 edi­tion) about the elegant refuge in north­eastern Pennsylvania’s lovely mountains. Glen Summit Springs was my family’s summer home – and there was Nana seated with the ladies (all in their white hats) on the dock on a long-ago summer day in the photograph on page 33! The wooden foot bridge mentioned in the article was nicknamed the “The Kissing Bridge” because many a swain won his first embrace there! The golf tourna­ments the author noted must have been played on the small, brick-lined course, precursor of today’s miniature golf, which was the pride of my grandfather who felt we should have some taste of the gentleman’s game. (Also, there were no nearby golf courses then.) Although only the main section of the Glen Summit Hotel – a genuine “grande dame” – was standing in the thirties, I well remember its final demise by fire in 1939. Truly, the end of an era.

Betsy Bell Condron
Kingston, Pa.

 

Etcetera …

The photographs which illustrated the cover story of the summer 1994 edition, “Malcolm Parcell, The Master of Moon Lorn,” written by Donald Miller, were mistakenly credited to Vincent Edwards and not to Vincent R. Evans, a Washington, Pennsylvania, photog­rapher who was also a friend of the artist and his wife, Helen. Vincent R. Evans provided invaluable assistance in illustrating this biog­raphy of the artist who has become known as “the grand old man of western Pennsylvania painters.” The editor regrets this error.