Welcome to Trailheads!

Join us on a journey around Pennsylvania. We’ll highlight stops along the Pennsylvania Trails of History (TOH) and introduce you to life at our sites—in front of the cameras (so to speak) and behind the scenes. We look forward to your contributions, too. Post photos of your favorite TOH sites or reviews of programs and events. Tell us about your interests—Trailheads is about you (okay, it’s about us, too).

By way of introduction, let’s take a quick walk down the trails just to get our bearings (I promise to keep the trail metaphors to a minimum). You may know that some of our sites are in transition, moving from PHMC management to a partnership approach that keeps them open to the public through local organizations. These sites are still part of the Trails of History and we hope you’ll continue to visit and support them.

During 2009, we have an Energy Trail of History focused on sites and historical markers related to PHMC’s annual theme, Energy: Innovation and Impact. Of particular interest at the moment is the 150th anniversary of Edwin Drake’s first successful oil well, drilled in Titusville, in August, 1859. Other sites on the trail tell stories of early energy (human, animal, wind and water power, for example) and of energy extraction and production in Pennsylvania—especially oil, coal, and lumber.

Our Military History Trail stretches across the Commonwealth, taking in battlefields, forts, and museums that shed light on battles fought in and around Pennsylvania during the 1700s and 1800s. Museum exhibits extend the story into the 1900s and include the role Pennsylvanians and Pennsylvania-based units have played in every war fought by the United States.
If your passion is historic furnishings and architecture, then the Historic Homes Trail is for you. Located mostly in southeastern Pennsylvania, this trail features the homes of celebrated figures in Commonwealth and American history and introduces you to some of the people who made those households run.

Pennsylvania’s key role in America’s industrial development is at the center of the Industrial Heritage Trail. From one of the earliest intact iron furnaces in the nation to the first successful oil well to a world-class collection of railroad locomotives and cars, this trail covers it all. And a surviving coal patch town brings the struggles of miners and their families to life.
Follow the Rural Farm and Village History Trail to explore early religious communal societies and Pennsylvania’s rich agricultural heritage. If you’re a fan of Pennsylvania German culture, you won’t be disappointed by what this trail has to offer.

And don’t forget that the State Museum of Pennsylvania has exhibits and programs in all of these areas.

So pick a trail (or pick more than one) and see where it leads you.


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