Expedition North Pole: New Kensington surgeon brings home artistry of Inuit culture

Expedition North Pole: New Kensington surgeon brings home artistry of Inuit culture

More than 100 years ago, the race to claim the North Pole was a significant feat which many had tried, but none had succeeded. The opportunity to join Admiral Robert Peary’s 1908-1909 expedition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a young physician from western Pennsylvania. Doctor John W. Goodsell (1873-1949), a native of New Kensington, Westmoreland …

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World War I medals honor soldier’s sacrifice

World War I medals honor soldier’s sacrifice

Memorial Day, as the day has come to be known, traces its origins to the American Civil War. People observed the day, initially known as Decoration Day, by decorating the graves of Union soldiers who had fallen in battle. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, selected May 30 as the …

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Bob Hoffman: From World War I veteran to legendary weightlifter

Bob Hoffman: From World War I veteran to legendary weightlifter

For decades, the name Robert C. “Bob” Hoffman has remained synonymous with U.S. Olympic Weightlifting and the founding of the York Barbell Co. Known as the “Father of World Weightlifting,” Hoffman gained national recognition in 1927 when he took home the sport’s heavyweight championship. However, before he became a pioneer in the fields of weightlifting, …

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Pennsylvania fossils: How a church held the secret to a new species of trilobite

Pennsylvania fossils: How a church held the secret to a new species of trilobite

Not all fossils are uncovered by digging in the dirt and breaking open rocks. While all fossils originate in various types of rocks, they can take a varied path before they reach scientists. An important example of this involves specimens housed in the Invertebrate Paleontology collections at The State Museum of Pennsylvania that were once …

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Ephrata Cloister’s Glass Trumpet is likely “one of a kind”

Ephrata Cloister’s Glass Trumpet is likely “one of a kind”

It’s not often that an archaeological find is classified as “one of a kind.” However, a glass trumpet discovered in Pennsylvania merits such a distinction. Archaeological investigations have been conducted at Ephrata Cloister, an unusual German religious commune founded in 1732 in Lancaster County, since 1993. In 1995, this unique artifact was unearthed from a …

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Landis Valley weathervane: At the crossroads of promotion and folk art

Landis Valley weathervane: At the crossroads of promotion and folk art

Henry Landis (1865-1955) of Landis Valley, Lancaster County, believed that weathervanes were significant pieces of folk art that personified Pennsylvania German heritage. He collected, researched and studied these artifacts, many of which were often crafted to resemble various figures such as cows and horses, fish and roosters. Landis took notes on the weathervanes, or wetterhahn …

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The Pennsylvania Turnpike: The journey of the Irwin interchange tollbooth

The Pennsylvania Turnpike: The journey of the Irwin interchange tollbooth

From 1940 until the early 1980s, this tollbooth stood at the Irwin interchange of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, America’s first superhighway. When the first section of the turnpike opened to traffic Oct. 1, 1940, the town of Irwin, some 30 miles east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County, served as its western terminus. Hundreds of curiosity seekers …

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Drake Well rig models highlight 1860s oil drilling technology

Drake Well rig models highlight 1860s oil drilling technology

In 1860, Josiah Winger (1845-1916) began drilling oil wells along the Allegheny River, living long enough to become known as the “oldest living driller”. In 1913, he made and donated four drilling rig models to the Drake Memorial Museum in Titusville, Pa.. Many of the artifacts from that museum are now housed at the Drake …

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Mercer County artist finds local inspiration in great blue heron painting

Mercer County artist finds local inspiration in great blue heron painting

The great blue heron (Ardea herodias) is a large and majestic inhabitant of the freshwater and saltwater wetlands of Canada and southward to the northern edges of South America. Standing up to 4 1/2 feet tall with a wingspan of nearly 7 feet wide, this generally solitary hunter is a striking sight as it stalks …

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World War I flag: How the Erie home front honored the front line

World War I flag: How the Erie home front honored the front line

During World War I, families who displayed a Blue Star Service Flag signaled to their neighbors that the house was home to a man serving on the front line. By the end of World War II, the unofficial patriotic symbol benefited from a standard design. Today, displaying such a flag lets others know that those …

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