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.


Your most recent issue [Spring 2009] has left me “energized”! The articles and the interviews are all top notch – stunningly written and beautifully laid out. This one is a keeper. Thank you for making history so relevant to what we are experiencing today. We need to understand history in order to make critical decisions that will affect not only us but our children’s children.

Walter B. Shone Sr.
Wyomissing, Pa.

The Spring 2009 edition was devoted to PHMC’s theme for this year, “Energy: Innovation and Impact.”


Belated Birthday Wishes

Please accept my belated birthday wishes on your recent milestone [Winter 2009]. To publish a history magazine of such extraordinary quality for thirty-five years is a great feat. Each new edition is better than the one before, and I’m thankful that we have dedicated historians, writers, and editors who enjoy our history as much as I do.

Congratulations! Keep up the outstanding work.

Bill Jeffries
Pittsburgh, Pa.


Not Lost On Me

Your postcard series [Wish You Were Here!] intrigues me, and I look forward to seeing each new county covered. It was very uncanny and clever how you linked the postcard of the New York Central Railroad’s station in Philipsburg, Centre County, to PHMC’s theme for 2009 [“Energy: Innovation and Impact”]. Such sophisticated writing is not lost on me. I just can’t wait to see what you come up with for Washington County, where I was born many years ago.

Joseph F. Gordon
Philadelphia, Pa.


But …

Enjoyed the Spring 2009 issue.

But . . . Titusville is in Crawford County, not Venango County [Our Documentary Heritage].

Bob Shannon
Whispering Pines, N.C.

Our eagle-eyed reader caught us! The age-old conundrum is caused by geography and county lines. The City of Titusville is, indeed, located in Crawford County, but PHMC’s Drake Well Museum, which has a Titusville address, is actually located in Venango County. Thank you for correcting us.


Very Disappointed

I was very disappointed to read an errant fact about the administration of the Fort Pitt Block House in Pittsburgh in “Pennsylvania History Goes Green” by Barry A. Loveland in the Spring 2009 issue. The article ascribes ownership and administration of the Block House to the Fort Pitt Museum, a state-owned facility.

To clarify: the Fort Pitt Block House has been owned, preserved, and administered since 1894 by the Fort Pitt Society, Pittsburgh Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Fort Pitt Society takes a great deal of pride in its 115 years of stewardship and, as its curator and onsite point of contact with the public, I am regularly relating that fact to the tens of thousands of people who visit the site yearly. Since the construction of the Fort Pitt Museum in 1966, the Fort Pitt Society and the museum have worked in tandem to provide a seamless experience for guests to the site of Fort Pitt, all the while maintaining separate identities with separate ownership and separate funding. The Block House is open throughout the year and charges no admission fee while the museum does have an admission fee and derives its funding from the state. The Block House relies on donations and the sale of souvenirs to support the preservation and interpretation of the site. The story of Fort Pitt, the Forks of the Ohio, and the Point cannot be adequately told without the museum and the Block House working together (and we do that very well) but we are two independent facilities.

While the public may not be generally aware of the private ownership of the Block House, I find it disconcerting that the editorial staff of Pennsylvania Heritage is uninformed. Perpetuating the myth that PHMC administers the Fort Pitt Block House does our organization a great disservice in that the credit for the building’s survival and open-door admission policy is misplaced.

Our “tiny building with a very big history” features museum-quality exhibits and digital media to relate the history of the site and guests enjoy personal interaction with trained staff to answer their questions and guide them through the remarkable and varied 245-year history of the Block House.

Kelly Linn
Pittsburgh, Pa.

The misattribution appeared in a caption written by the editorial staff to accompany a photograph of the Fort Pitt Block House and was not a mistake made by the author of the article, Barry A. Loveland. The editor sincerely regrets the error.