News and Notes

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

On the Cover

Grey Towers, the former home of Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946), was designed by the famed American architect Richard Morris Hunt and built by Gifford’s father, James, in 1886. This French chateau­-like structure sits atop a hill overlooking the village of Milford in Pike County and was named for the three gray-colored stone towers which give the building its distinctive appearance. Pictured here is the west tower with a carved white marble sundial attached.

In addition to serving as Governor of Pennsylvania (1923-27 and 1931-35), Gifford Pinchot was one of the original advocates of natural resource conservation in the U.S., a fact which led to his appointment by President Theodore Roosevelt as the first Chief of the USDA Forest Service in 1891. To preserve and honor Pinchot’s invaluable contributions to forestry a11d conservation, President John F. Kennedy dedicated Grey Towers in 1963 as the Pinchot Institute for Conservation Studies to further conservation programs through training and research.

Grey Towers, and its nearly 100 acres of woodland and gardens, is open to the public and maintained by the Forest Service as a National Historic Landmark.

 

Hall of Science and Technology Celebrates First Year

Last fall [1978], the William Penn Memorial Museum in Harris­burg opened a new exhibit area. The Hall of Science and Technology which depicts Pennsylvania’s development into one of the nation’s great industrial states occupies one-half the exhibit area of the state museum’s second floor and completes the last of the major permanent exhibit areas. The hall, through the use of artifacts, models and graphics, portrays the dramatic story of science and technology from handicrafts to industrialization during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Visitors are welcomed to the exhibit by the introduction: “Man and Machine Technology in Pennsylvania – The early settlers of Pennsylvania were, for the most part, trans­planted Europeans who brought with them a technology based on muscle, water and wind power. Wood and iron were their chief building and structural materials. Agri­culture and industrial production depended on tools and techniques that had remained virtually unchanged since medieval times. Since the first settlers in the 1680s, Penn­sylvanians in their technical and industrial pursuits have reflected the general changes that have marked progress­ – the simple has become complex; the hand tool has be­come a machine; muscle and water power have been re­placed by the steam engine and the dynamo; the expansive pleasures of the rural landscapes have given way to the confined complexities of the urban world. William Penn’s dream has grown from a colony of planned country towns to a Commonwealth of enormous technology and industrial sophistication. The tools, machines, vehicles and products preserved and shown here document that growth.”

Hundreds of distinctive artifacts have been incorporated into the exhibit ranging from a broad axe to a collection of antique automobiles to a Piper Cub. Perhaps the most unique part of the display, however, is a working grist mill – the Rose Garden Mill – which was transported to the museum from its site along the Yellow Breeches Creek in Cumberland County. The mill, built in 1740, was originally powered by a water wheel but, as progress would have it, was ultimately converted to turbine power in 1913. The mill is fully operational and able to grind grain as a realistic demonstration of one of the Commonwealth’s most im­portant early commercial enterprises.

While much larger than other artifacts in the exhibit, the mill serves to illustrate a general theme of the hall, as museum visitors will see artifacts and displays that can be associated with a particular place or region. In the section devoted to iron works, for example, photographs of the iron master’s mansion and the workers’ cottage show the contrasting lifestyles at Curtin Village, a historic site of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission near Milesburg in Centre County.

In tracing technological developments in Pennsylvania, other sections of the exhibit demonstrate typical activities associated with the area’s development, including the framing of a barn and the building of a log cabin in the wilderness. The tools and materials used in such efforts are shown to help give a more complete picture of the tech­nology of the past. A stagecoach, for example, rests on a base depicting a corduroy road constructed of logs so the visitor can not only observe the vehicle but also witness the type of road over which it might have at least in part travelled.

In sum, the Hall or Science and Technology shares with the visitor a sense of the adventure of how William Penn’s Quaker province developed scientifically and technological­ly into a great industrial state whose products exceed in value those produced by many sovereign nations. This marvelous return to our past awaits you at the William Penn Memorial Museum at Third and North streets, Harris­burg and is open free to the public from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 to 5 P.M., Sunday.

 

Annual Black History Conference Held

The PHMC’s 2nd annual Conference on Black History in Pennsylvania was held at Allegheny County Community College, Pittsburgh, April 5-6, 1979. Highlights of the two­-day conference included talks on Black genealogy by Karen Farmer and Charles Blockson, both recognized authorities. John Wideman, a Pittsburgh native, read from his literary work which is based on his early experiences in the city. The Honorable K. Leroy Irvis spoke at a luncheon which was highlighted by the presentation of Achievement Awards in Black History by the PHMC to Selma Burke, a sculptress, and Walter Worthington, a historian of Pittsburgh Blacks.

 

Heritage Announces New Price Schedule

With the Winter [1980] issue featuring York County, there will be a slight increase in the cost of single issues as well as in the yearly subscription rates for Pennsylvania Heritage. Effective December 31, 1979. back and single issues will be available for $1.00 per copy. Subscription rates will be as follows: one year – $3.00, two years – $5.50, and three years – $7.50. Orders received prior to December 31 [1979] will be processed under the old price schedule and will not reflect the Increases.

Through the years, in spite of rising costs, a yearly sub­scription to Heritage has remained constant at $2.00. Un­fortunately, this price must now be adjusted to offset some of the increased costs which have developed. Since the situation requires new rates. a graduated schedule has been established to reward those who invest in the quarter­ly over a period of time – the longer the subscription, the greater the savings.

Nevertheless, no matter how long you choose to sub­scribe, Pennsylvania Heritage is still a bargain.

 

Preservationists Release Newsletter

To help inform the public about the activities of the PHMC’s Office of Historic Preservation, Pennsylvania Pres­ervation, a six-page newsletter providing technical advice and assistance, was introduced this spring.

Copies of the newsletter are available free to residents of Pennsylvania interested in preservation programs. For a complimentary subscription to Pennsylvania Preservation, write Michael J. O’Malley, Office of Historic Preservation, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120.