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

The Woolrich Woolen Mills, seen as it appeared in 1887, is the oldest continuously operating industry in Clinton County. Owned largely by descendants of the first John Rich, who emigrated from England in 1811, the firm now operates nine major plants in the US., five of which are located in central Pennsylvania, and markets its products throughout North America, Europe and Japan. A hallmark for most of Woolrich’s 152 years has been the brightly-colored wool jacket made from plaids similar to that forming the cover’s background.

Pictured in the cover illustration are three past heads of the Woolrich company. The third John Rich, senior operating partner until his death in 1895, sits in the horse-drawn wagon. His brother, the Hon. M. B. Rich, who succeeded him in the co-partnership and became president when the firm was incorporated in 1930, stands in the office doorway. One of the two children whose hands he holds is Robert F. Rich, who would follow his father as president of the mills and come to sit in the U.S. Congress for nearly twenty years.

 

National Register Procedures Changed

Last year will not be remembered as an active year for the National Register of Historic Places. Due to new legisla­tion governing the National Register program, signed into law on December 12, 1980, and the subsequent need for new regulations. the National Register program across the nation was at a virtual standstill for almost a year. Never­theless, nominations continued to pour into the PHMC’s Bureau for Historic Preservation. With the re-opening of the National Register in November 1981, the bureau was con­fronted with a large number of nominations to evaluate and process.

Faced with this overwhelming task and the need to streamline the review process, the bureau has adopted a new nomination procedure. To improve the quality of nominations to the Register and to nominate resources in the most logical and economical manner. the bureau has adopted nomination priorities.

The following priorities are listed in their order of importance. In all cases, nominations must be of high quality and the property must meet the National Register criteria. Priority will be given to properties:

  1. For which registration will significantly assist in their preservation from threats of alteration, neglect or demolition.
  2. Which demonstrate the importance of restoration, rehabilitation and reuse of significant historic resources under federal tax provisions.
  3. Which possess national or state significance (those buildings, sites, objects or districts which possess excep­tional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the history and architecture of our nation or state).
  4. Which have been identified as eligible from areas in which comprehensive historic site surveys have been com­pleted.
  5. Which include the protection and registration of multiple historic resources as nominated in historic districts, thematic resource nominations and multiple resource nominations.

The bureau has also instituted the review of eligibility and priority at an earlier point in the process. The nomina­tion process has adopted a type of “preliminary” evaluation of a resource before a complete National Register nomina­tion is prepared. Under the new system, the applicant will be required first to complete a historic resource form (the same form used for a historic sites survey). If the resource appears to be eligible and has priority, the applicant will be mailed a National Register nomination. The burden of researching, writing and typing the nomination is upon the applicant. The bureau will be glad, however, to offer advice and review the nomination for completeness and quality.

The Bureau for Historic Preservation is hopeful that the new system will streamline the review process, improve data retrieval and produce high quality National Register nomin­ations. Those contemplating the registration of a property should contact the Bureau for Historic Preservation, Box 1026, Harrisburg 17120 and request the new Historic Re­source Form Packet.

 

Bushy Run Battlefield Hosts Two Programs

Bushy Run Battlefield, site of Col. Henry Bouquet’s decisive defeat of united Indian forces during Pontiac’s War, will host two upcoming programs. May 14-15 [1982] has been set aside for “Dining Out in Pennsylvania 18th Century Style” to be followed June 12-13 by the “French and Indian War – Pontiac’s War Symposium/Workshop.” The topics themselves demonstrate the attempt at the historic site to develop programming which will appeal to those with a broad spectrum of interests. Each presentation will be certain to enhance the public’s understanding of Penn­sylvania’s past.

Lee Washlaski, a member of the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society and an expert in colonial-style cooking, is coordinating the first program, which will focus mainly on colonial foods and their preparation. Attention will also be given to other colonial occupations such as cloth produc­tion, lighting and other crafts. This will not be a sit back and listen program, but a get your hands dirty workshop. The program should be of interest not only to those who enjoy cooking but also to those involved in historic inter­pretation through the use of living history.

The second symposium/workshop should assist partici­pants in more accurately interpreting the pre-Revolutionary period, while at the same time opening lines of communi­cation among those interested in the field. Also, the pro­gram will give the visiting public the opportunity to see a wide variety of reenactment groups demonstrating how soldiers of that time lived. Period camps and dress will be the order of the day. Military reenactment groups portray­ing the pre-Revolutionary War period as well as individuals are invited to attend, but only eighteenth century camps will be permitted overnight.

Discussions at the symposium will focus around topics such as Indians: How to Portray Them Accurately, Battle Reenactments: Their Purpose, Fort Pitt: Key to the Fron­tier, Artifacts: Models for Reproduction, Uniforms of the Period and other related subjects. Discussion leaders will include experts in these and other fields from around the state.
For further information on either program, contact John C. Leighow, Jr., Bushy Run Battlefield, Bushy Run Road, Jeannette 15644, or call (412) 527-5584. Registra­tion for the “French and Indian War Symposium” is re­quested by May 15 [1982].

 

The Polish Phoenix: A Multi-Media Show

Recently, Poland has been much in the news, and Poland is of particular interest to many citizens of Penn­sylvania. Why? Because Pennsylvania ranks among the top five states in numbers of residents of Polish descent.

The mythical phoenix – a legendary bird which, once destroyed, rises from its ashes to live again – serves as an apt metaphor for the history of Poland and its people. The phoenix’s most recent incarnation is to be found in a multi­media show about Poland produced by the University of Pittsburgh. The “Polish Phoenix,” a sixty minute, three­-screen synthesis of images, music and narration, seeks to provide a feeling for the sweep and diversity of Polish his­tory and culture, with an immediacy not afforded by tradi­tional books and lectures.

The presentation is based on a collection of 13,000 slides of the country’s art, architecture, historical sites, industries and rural communities, shot during a seven-week visit to Poland in 1979. The eye-catching array of visuals is synchronized with musical leitmotifs drawn from Polish folk music, liturgical, classical and contemporary works, and is accompanied by an historical narrative. The program has been endorsed by the Governor’s Heritage Affairs Com­mission, the Polish Falcons of America, the Polish-Ameri­can Congress and other educational and cultural associa­tions.

The “Polish Phoenix,” originally funded by the Alfred Jurykowski Foundation, has already toured the state, sup­ported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Its reception was so outstanding, that the multi­media show is again being scheduled for showings through­out Pennsylvania. Any school, historical society or other organization interested in learning more about the program should contact Roger Conant, REES, 4E-21 Forbes QUAD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh 15260, or call (412) 624-5844.