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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Colonial Mansion, Lancaster, Lancaster County

Last time, I said that I thought I'd be able to make an announcement in my next blog post. Those of you who follow the blog's Facebook page may have already seen it, but I've published my first history book! I'm altogether pleased with the results and I look forward to hearing what my readers think of it. You can read all about it on this page

In an effort to keep myself organized (my friends can tell you how very good at that I am not), I made a list of the subjects I was going to cover for the remainder of the year. I kind of chuckled when I checked the list and realized that I would be heading back to Lancaster County for this week's entry, because I was thinking about it recently. The Allentown Farmer's Market has an Amish bakery, where I got some pies last week for Thanksgiving, and their sign proudly mentions that their goods come from Lancaster County. 

Anyway, I collected the pictures for this post when my best friend Andrea and I were in the city earlier this year, so with December being as dismal as it is currently, it's good to go back to that sunny day in June. (All social distancing cautions were observed, I assure you.) We had smoothies and saw a lot of dogs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Heckewelder House and John Frederick Wolle, Bethlehem, Northampton County

November, which Louisa May Alcott once called "the most disagreeable month," is a little more than halfway done. It was actually snowing earlier, and I don't really care for that at all. But I'm a little bit warmed by the knowledge that I will soon be receiving something special in the mail - a proof copy of my newest book, my very first history book! You might say it's a MarkerQuest side quest, as it doesn't focus on the subject of a marker; it's a bit of Lehigh Valley apocrypha which has been all but forgotten, and I'm looking forward to reviewing it and approving it for distribution. I will probably be able to confirm the launch and provide a link by the next time I update the blog, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, for today's post we'll take yet another trip into the Moravian heart of Bethlehem. I did not originally intend for this to be a two-marker quest, but as I was putting the pieces together I realized that it made sense. Although the two markers are for different subjects, they have something very significant in common, and writing about one without the other just didn't feel right.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

John O'Hara, Pottsville, Schuylkill County

Before I get started with the latest post, I wanted to offer a small shout-out to the women of the Herstory Club! This internet collective is made up entirely of women of all ages who focus on the study of history, and I was recently welcomed into the ranks. I'm very excited to be in the club and appreciate the kind greetings I've received, so thank you!

November is here and I hope you are all well! At this time last year I was battling what turned out to be pneumonia, but so far I've been much luckier this autumn. The weather hasn't been the most conducive to going out to collect markers, but I've still got some stockpiled from before the lockdown, so we're going to take a trip back to Schuylkill County today to look at one of Pennsylvania's native authors.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Switchback Railroad, Jim Thorpe, Carbon County

I love this time of year - mostly - but today is an especially gloomy and foggy day here in northeastern Pennsylvania. On the plus side, it's my day off, so at least I don't have to go anywhere.

Today we're going to make one final visit to Carbon County, as this is the last of their markers which currently exist. Perhaps in the future they'll get another and I'll be able to cover the dedication. In the meantime, though, I can mark Carbon County as completely finished on my personal marker list, after I finish telling you about today's subject. 

Pennsylvania is, of course, the site of many "firsts". Some of these are well known; we had the first hospital in the United States, the first theater, the first subscription library, the first zoo. Others are less famous, like the first completely air-conditioned building in the country and the first license plate to display a website address. And then there's today's subject, which was the world's first roller coaster.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Emmaus, Lehigh County

October is here, which means that this utterly bizarre year is slowly drawing to a close. I've been trying to get out and enjoy the autumn sunshine while I can - this is actually my favorite time of year, in most respects - but it isn't always easy.

A fun little sidebar for my readers, before we get into the meat of this week's post. If you weren't aware, the PHMC has its own channel on YouTube, where they share a lot of videos related to Pennsylvania history. I recently participated in their webinar about how markers are selected and created. It was hosted by Karen Galle, my direct contact in the organization, and you can watch it here. It was really very interesting! Thanks Karen!

Now, about today's marker - it's a first for this blog. The majority of communities don't have their own specific markers, as the markers are more likely written about a person or location within the community's borders. There are some which do, however, and our subject today is one of them. I deliberately chose to write about this one today because yesterday, if he were still with us, would have been my beloved grandfather's 90th birthday, and this particular community has a connection to our family tree.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fairmount Water Works, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County

Autumn returns to Pennsylvania! It's my favorite time of year, and I hope that the weather will be nice enough to let us all get out and enjoy it.

As I mentioned in the post about Hilda Doolittle, my birthday was at the beginning of September and I spent part of it collecting markers for this blog. There was one in particular that I wanted to get while we were in Philadelphia, and it was a bit of a haphazard drive to find it (fortunately, I myself was not doing the driving). See, I got pictures of today's subject a few years ago, before I started this project, but the marker isn't located in quite the same spot so I never saw it. I couldn't very well write about the marker without a photo of the marker, so I needed to find it!

Although I had the information from the PHMC website about its location, we were still just slightly surprised to come across the marker. We were stopped at a red light, so Kevin urged me to get out of the car quickly to snap the photo. I managed to do so, probably to the utter confusion of the twenty or so people who were in the vicinity (assuming, that is, that they noticed me at all), and today's blog post thus became feasible. Remember, kids, don't try this at home, because I have no idea what I'm doing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Bethlehem, Northampton County

I'm celebrating two birthdays this week, after a fashion. One is my own; we spent the day at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, which is currently hosting Madame Tussaud's wax figures of the Presidents (yes, all of them) as well as some other historic notables. This is a limited engagement, with restricted entrance due to you-know-what, and will only run until January 3rd of next year. I very much encourage my readers to go if you have the opportunity, because it was really awesome! We also spent part of the day running around gathering markers for this blog, because that's what we do when we go somewhere.

The other birthday takes place tomorrow. Poetry enthusiasts (like my friend Rachel, who first mentioned today's subject to me a few years ago) may already be aware that tomorrow will be the 134th birthday of one of the most unique voices of the 20th century.