The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum Preserves an Industrial History

In the heart of Pennsylvania’s northern tier forests, between Galeton and Coudersport, in Potter County, is one of the most unusual interpretive centers that preserves the heritage of an era during which the Com­monwealth led the world in the production of lumber. Situated on one hundred and sixty acres, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum chronicles the days when white pines and hemlock trees...
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Somerset Historical Center: Portraying the Pioneer Spirit of Southwestern Pennsylvania

While there are many similar stories to be told on the subject of historical and social evolution in all regions of Pennsylvania, there are also many tales unique to every city, town, or county. Southwestern Pennsylvania has its share of unique stories, and no museum interprets the saga of this region so succinctly as the Somerset Historical Center. Adding to the effectiveness of docu­menting...
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Visiting the Museum of Anthracite Mining: A Walk Through the Rise and Fall of Anthracite Might

One of Pennsylvania’s most significant resources was once considered useless. Although anthracite was distinguished as a natural resource as early as 1770, the sale of “stone coal” – as it was then called – was outlawed in some places. Many believed that anthracite (or “hard” coal) was little better than slate and would not burn. Eventually, however, a...
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All in the Family: The Riches in Woolrich

John Rich II received a “warm” welcome when he visited winter logging camps in the dense forests of northern Pennsylvania in the early nineteenth century. Tough, hardened lumberjacks valued the one bit of comfort and protection from frostbite that Rich proffered from the back of his mule cart: a simple pair of woolen socks. From those humble beginnings, Rich engaged in a trade that...
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The Man Behind the Curtain: “Doc” Mishler and His Legacy

Isaac Charles Mishler (1862-1944) stepped off the train in Altoona, Blair County, on August 6, 1881, just before his nine­teenth birthday, with a suitcase crammed full of ambition. Like thousands of men from across America and throughout Europe, Mishler was drawn to the booming city founded and sustained by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR). Mishler spent the next year or two laboring as a...
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Sampling a Taste of the Past Along the Pennsylvania Trails of History

One of the best ways to experience the Keystone State’s history and heritage is to travel the Pennsylvania Trails of History®, a network of two dozen exciting historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth’s official history agency. PHMC has organized its popular destinations into four main trails – Military...
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