6 Things on the Trails of History to Take Your Mind off Impending Doom

Pond at Graeme Park after ice storm via Facebook

Are there 6 things listed below? Maybe. How can I be expected to count when the biggest storm of the winter is bearing down on us? Either that, or the most overhyped storm of the winter so far. I hope it’s the latter, because, as you know if you’ve read Trailheads lately, I’ve had it with winter. Had. It. (In case you missed them, you can catch up on my rants and whining with posts from last week, the week before, or the week before that, and so on.)

The February program listing was posted two weeks ago and I have made a couple of updates since then. Please check ahead on all programs (by website, Facebook, or phone) to be sure they’re going on as scheduled.

So anyway. Happy Valentine’s Day to those celebrating. In honor of the holiday, Pennsbury Manor’s blog takes a look at marriage among 17th-century Quakers in Pennsylvania.

And speaking of holidays, most sites are closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day, but you can visit Fort Pitt Museum or the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

And speaking of Presidents Day (sorry for the stream of consciousness), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History blog, “O Say Can You See?” recently included a post talking about the connections between President Thomas Jefferson and Dr. Joseph Priestley, whose home in Northumberland is part of the PA Trails of History. How cool is that? (Thanks to the PA Trails of History FB page for the link!)

Workers pause during construction of Pennsylvania Station, NYC, early 1900s
Pennsylvania State Archives, MG-286

Here’s an item that links several PHMC areas of responsibility: On Tuesday, Feb. 18, on PBS’s The American Experience, you can watch a documentary about New York’s Pennsylvania Station that includes 23 photos from the PA State Archives Penn Central Railroad collection (MG-286). The original Penn Station was completed in 1910 as a terminal for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) (many PRR locomotives, other rolling stock, and associated artifacts are preserved and displayed at the Railroad Museum of PA). Today’s Penn Station is sort of an underground remnant of the grand Beaux-Arts building demolished in 1963 to make way for Madison Square Garden, an event that is generally credited with spurring the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 that, among other things, established state historic preservation offices (PHMC is the SHPO for Pennsylvania).

At the Tall Ships America Conference earlier this month, US Brig Niagara’s Senior Captain, Walter Rybka, was recognized for his role in making the bicentennial reenactment of the Battle of Lake Erie such a success. Congratulations to Walter and to all who worked on the bicentennial events throughout the Great Lakes.

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Ephrata Cloister and sit in on week 2 of the Winter History Class, where Dr. Jeff Bach, who has done extensive research and writing on the history of the religious community at Ephrata, updated the group on his work with some newly discovered letters that shed light on a division in the community in the 1740s. I also stuck around for the afternoon meeting of the site’s Student Historians and took part in a hands-on session about pottery decoration (sgraffito, to be exact) led by redware artists Ned Foltz and Sam Shoemaker. After tracing designs prepared by Ned, we scratched the decoration into the clay; the final product will be delivered after the pieces are glazed and fired. My effort is below (I will not be quitting my day job). Thanks to Michael Showalter and Rebecca Lawrence for letting me hang out and exercise a little creativity.

Not too terrible for my first attempt


John Robinson said...

Your redware is beautiful! It is so important that our historic sites and museums help to keep alive the old arts and crafts. Thanks, Ephrata Cloister!

Amy Killpatrick Fox said...

Thanks, John. I agree with you and love it when I can share what's going on. I'll try to remember to post a photo of the finished product!

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