Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania: A Primer

Depending on the individual, historic preser­vation evokes a myriad of interpretations. To the local historical society, it’s restoring the town’s oldest structure to a house-museum showcasing collections of period antiques. To community planners, it often results in a challenge of saving the best while destroying the rest. And to many, historic preservation means little more than a...
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Jefferson County: Of Wilderness Tamed

Jefferson County. Its hallmarks are as disparate as Thomas Jef­ferson and Punxsutawney Phil. Village names as dissimilar as Panic and Desire. Inhabitants as distinctive as Indian chief Cornplanter and Moravian missionary John Heckewelder. And a tranquil­ity which masks the turbu­lence of the nineteenth century’s lumber boom that spawned settlement and nu­merous ancillary industries....
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Butler County: A Story in Diversity

The story of Butler County is one of many stories. It is the story of an unusual religious commune. Of an engineer whose invention made the Brooklyn Bridge a reality. Of a European baron who con­structed a German castle he named Bassenheim. Of an oil boom town which sprang up­ – and crashed nearly overnight. Of the birthplace of that be­loved American automotive institution, the jeep. Of...
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Northumberland County: The Mother County

Although named for the most northern of England’s shires, Northumberland County has been often called by many the “Mother County.” Organized on March 21, 1772, as Pennsylvania’s tenth county, at one time it encom­passed eighteen thousand square miles! The county once extended from the Lehigh to the Allegheny rivers, with the New York border as its north­ern boundary. Its...
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Lycoming County: Many Call It Romantic

Its heritage is so rich that it’s hard to adequately­ – and accurately – portray the roles Lycoming County has played in the Commonwealth’s history. Since its settlement in the mid­-eighteenth century, it has had, according to Sylvester K. Stevens, author of the 1946 guide to the Keystone State’s sixty-seven counties, My Penn­sylvania, “one of the most...
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Lackawanna County: The Last Shall Not Be Least

The history of the Key­stone State’s sixty­-seven counties is often quite similar to family histories. Its portrait is a rich composite of Native American legend and lore, early trans­portation, marine and mari­time heritage, industry and industrialists, pioneers, capitalists and the working classes, religious communes, inventors and the Industrial Revolution …. And the county, whose...
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Westmoreland County: Welcome to the Western Frontier

Westmoreland County, estab­lished by the Provincial As­sembly with an act signed on February 26, 1773, by Lieut. Gov. Richard Penn, was the eleventh – and last – county created by the proprietary government. Taken from part of Bedford County and named for a remote county in En­gland, it has played many significant roles in the origin and development of both the Commonwealth and the...
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Philadelphia, First

If it happened, it happened in Philadelphia,” so goes an old adage. And one not terribly far from the truth, either. Philadelphia has witnessed much of the history of the early United States. The sign­ing of the Declaration of Inde­pendence, probably the nation’s most hallowed docu­ment, drew the colonies’ lead­ing statesmen – including George Washington, Thomas...
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You Can Go Home Again: An Interview with James A. Michener

James A Michener is a man of diverse talents, boundless energy, and seemingly countless interests. He is naturally inquisitive, passionately curious. He is fascinated by the world around him and the people who inhabit it. He collects stories about far-away places as effortlessly as one gathers seashells on the shoreline in summer. He is the Ultimate Con­noisseur. Of people. Of places. Of things....
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Broadway Takes a Bow in Bucks County: A Conversation With Kitty Carlisle and Anne Kaufman Schneider

The late afternoon sun streams brightly through large windows, belying the simple fact that it is mid-February. Outside, down below, on the streets in this concrete canyon known as New York City, traffic roars, searing the frosty air with the screams of wailing sirens, the staccato of blaring taxi cab horns, and the shouts of frenzied (if not frightened) pedestrians. The din is deafening. Inside...
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