Winter 2009

Volume XXXV, Number 1


Executive Director's Letter
Barbara Franco

PHMC Executive Director Barbara Franco discusses the importance of the Pennsylvania Heritage Society.

From the Editor
Michael J. O'Malley III

Michael J. O'Malley III, the magazine's esteemed editor, has a word of thanks for his hardworking staff.


Our readers contribute thoughtful and interesting comments and anecdotes about past articles.

Wish You Were Here!

A 1908 nostalgic and colorful penny postcard is reprised, with a colorfully illustrated flashback to the 1827 Mauch Chunk Railroad in Carbon County.

A Backward Glance at Thirty-Five Years Young
Michael J. O'Malley III

Editor Michael J. O'Malley III looks back at popular icons of Pennsylvania's history that have appeared in our pages during the past thirty-five years. Cherished covered bridges, youthful memories of merry-go-rounds and drive-in theaters, and a priceless and monumental glass mosaic by Maxfield Parrish, have all been endangered as being lost forever. Based on past articles, respectively, by Susan M. Zacher (Summer 1985), the late Linda Kowall Woal (Spring 1988), Brian A. Butko (Summer 1994), and, for the Maxfield Parrish mosaic, William D. Cisna (Fall 1985), along with Rich Wagner and Rich Dochter (Summer 1991), O'Malley adds his own assessment on the outlook for their preservation. For Pennsylvania's citizens, too many of those familiar public landmarks are nothing but romantic memories, lost to present generations. Readers will recall the glory days for each icon; understand the real reasons behind their diminishing numbers; and explain why there is new optimism about the preservation of remaining sites. Readers will learn also which of those icons is actually growing in number.

William C. Kashatus: Bringing History to Life
Ted R. Walke

No author has been more engaging, entertaining, and contributed more to the pages of Pennsylvania Heritage during the past 35 years than William C. (Bill) Kashatus. When he was a young, beginning writer, author James A. Michener wrote to him and declared, "You can write!" And write he has! A prolific published author of books on such topics as sports history, the Underground Railroad, and oterh historical subjects, he has written forty-four feature articles for our readers on a wide variety of topics on Pennsylvania history, with many more scheduled in future editions. His freelance writing relationship with the magazine began with the Fall 1987 edition, in "The Mollie Maguires: Fighting for Justice," and continues with the Fall 2008 edition with rare insights into one of the world's greatest comedians of The Three Stooges fame, in "Laughing with Philadelphia Stooge Larry Fine." What our readers may not know is Bill's total investment and immersion in American history, including live portrayals of some of the very figures about whom he has written. Our Chief of Publications Ted R. Walke sat down with Kashatus in a one-on-one interview. The result is readers will gain insights into this writer, and in his own words, how he approaches writing and history while balancing career and family.

Celebrating a Milestone with the Best of the Past

Over the past thirty-five years, Pennsylvania Heritage has enjoyed the distinct pleasure - and great privilege - of presenting readers a veritable treasure trove of works of art held by historical organizations and cultural institutions throughout the Keystone State. The total span of illustrated fine art, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, glass, crafted wood, and other illustrations alone could fill an entire book. In this edition, nineteen of those past art images from seventeen separate institutions are reprised on our cover and between our pages for the enjoyment of readers - a visual banquet for any art lover. Further, some images that appeared in earlier editions in black and white have been reproduced in full color in our latest edition. Even though this is barely a dent in highlighting celebrated artists whose works have appeared on our pages, readers will agree that this result is stunning. With this, our 137th edition, we offer you, our loyal readers, a visual celebration with these iconic, important, and impressive artworks.

Hands-On History: Driving a Call to Action for Pennsylvania's Historic Bridges
Susan M. Zacher

The nation's aging infrastructure of bridges are in critical need of being repaired, reinforced, or replaced, and Pennsylvania is no exception. With 83,161 miles of rivers and streams, there are no less than 31,727 bridges in the Commonwealth. The collapse of a state highway bridge near Minneapolis in 2007 made many Pennsylvanians acutely aware of aging bridges. In this article, Susan M. Zacher, a PHMC historic preservation specialist, addresses the status of the Keystone State's historic bridges, of which numerous landmarks have already been lost to natural and manmade events, to obsolescence, and general neglect. The article is beautifully illustrated with examples of bridges that serve as structural marvels across the Commonwealth - from the country's oldest surviving roadway bridge, a stone arch bridge built 1697 in Philadelphia, to the graceful double lenticular truss Smithfield Street Bridge in Pittsburgh designed by Gustav Lindenthal, one of the country's most famous bridge engineers, and built in 1883.

Meet Our Readers

The most important part of our magazine is our readers and who are, hopefully, members of the Pennsylvania Heritage Society­ (PHS). Several active longtime members of PHS - Marty A. Cline, Ann and Boyce Heilman, and Jan Winemiller - graciously took time out from their busy schedules to talk about PHS.

Our Documentary Heritage
Willis L. Shirk Jr.

Archivist Willis L. Shirk Jr. of the Pennsylvania State Archives offers for readers' curiosity, The First Report of the Historical Commission of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Heritage Society ® Newsletter

The latest news from PHS - a quarterly calendar of special events, tours, and exhibits at PHMC sites throughout Pennsylvania, perhaps your name listed among a growing group of members.

PHMC Highlights

News from behind-the-scenes at PHMC - national accreditation for Ephrata Cloister, keeping the sawmill operating at Daniel Boone Homestead, Librarian Paula Heiman's popular "brown bag" lecture series, Joseph Horvath's cartooning skills put to good use at the Pennsylvania Military Museum, and Carrie Blough's delicious, historically authentic, recipes at Somerset Historical Center.


Once again, Editor Michael J. O'Malley's offers his insightful and intelligent book reviews.

Marking Time: Joshua M. Merrill (1828-1904)

Focusing on the PHMC's and our magazine's "Energy: Innovation and Impact" theme for 2009, this installment's focuses on the state historical marker for Joshua M. Merrill, whose breakthrough in the refinement of oil led to a safer illumination oil to replace kerosene and the deodorization of lubricating oils for machinery.

Cover Gallery

Which is your favorite past Pennsylvania Heritage magazine cover? We want to know!

Sharing the Common Wealth

Ever wonder what the cover of the very first edition of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine looked like in 1974? Well, wonder no more.

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