News from the Trails of History

The October program listings will tell you all there is to know about your weekend plans.

Photo from Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum's Harvest Days last weekend (find more pix on their Facebook page)
Not noted in the October program listings is the fact that this Sunday, October 18, is the last day of operation for the replica oil rig and Olin engine at Drake Well Museum until they come out of hibernation in May. So if you want to see these important pieces of oil field equipment in action (and I'm fairly sure some lovely fall foliage as well), this is it for a while. The museum remains open throughout the year (with exhibits and programs) but the outdoor operating equipment shuts down as winter approaches.

Last chance to see this baby before it goes to sleep for the winter
On Sunday, Oct. 11, the Scranton Iron Furnaces joined an elite group that includes the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower (the real one, in Paris), and our own Cornwall Iron Furnace. ASM International (American Society for Metals) has added the site to its list of Historical Landmarks, in recognition of its role in the "discovery, development, and growth of metals and metalworking." You can check out the site for yourself tomorrow night (Oct. 17) at the annual Bonfire at the Furnaces event.

Ceremony bestowing ASM Historical Landmark citation on Scranton Iron Furnaces (photo via FB)

This last item is from early September, but it was news to me, so now it can be news to you (some of you, anyway). As many of you know, the U.S. Brig Niagara is the flagship of Pennsylvania, helping to promote the state throughout the Great Lakes region and, in tandem with the Erie Maritime Museum, educating the public about the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812. Another of the ship's important roles is as a Sailing School Vessel (SSV), which involves inspection and certification by the U.S. Coast Guard. Niagara's captains and crew provide sail training and experience to a wide range of students from day sailing 4th graders to live-aboard adults. For 10 days this September, the ship served as home away from home for fall semester enrollees in the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program, a collaboration between Williams College in Massachusetts and Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. According to Niagara's senior captain, Walter Rybka, the program's goal for the sail was an immersion experience for the students - "to create a sense of the isolated community of a ship at sea." This was Williams-Mystic's first sail on Niagara, chosen because the ships they normally work with were unavailable this fall. While the geography of a Great Lakes sail meant they were not completely isolated, Niagara and her crew provided the students with an excellent shipboard experience. I found two blog posts about the trip - one by faculty member Richard King and the other by student Caitlyn Stewart - including photos of the ship and crew.

One last, related, tidbit. The American Bus Association has included Tall Ships Erie 2016, scheduled for Sept. 8-10, to its list of the Top 100 events for 2016, citing its potential to draw group tours and individual travelers. Congrats!


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