Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Fort Franklin, Andreas, Schuylkill County

The Schuylkill County Historical Society is following this blog on Facebook! I was so excited to learn this that I was determined to get to a marker in that county this month, and here we are.

Here's a fun fact which I didn't know until I started researching today's quest. Pennsylvania has actually, at different points in the 18th century, had two different places named Fort Franklin. One was in Venango County, which I've never visited, so I expect to be tackling that subject in a future post. The other, which is today's subject, was the first of its name and stood in Schuylkill County overlooking a scenic valley.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Colonel Jacob Stroud, Stroudsburg, Monroe County

I'm delighted to report, as my Facebook followers have seen, that I've been invited to a historical event up in Luzerne County later this month! A gentleman named Michael Korb very kindly reached out to let me know that they're going to be installing a plaque in Wilkes-Barre to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the American Institute of Mining Engineers. It's not one of my markers (they already have one of those, so you can guess what I'll be doing while I'm there), but he thought it would be of interest to me and my readers. If the name of the organization sounds vaguely familiar, that's because I've mentioned it before in this blog - David Thomas, the Welsh ironmaster considered the father of my hometown, was one of its founding members. The ceremony is to take place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 16th, in the Public Square of Wilkes-Barre, and you can read the details here. So if you're in the vicinity, grab your face mask and come enjoy a socially distanced historic event. (And look for me.)

As for this week's quest, it's my first post from Monroe County! I'm hitting all kinds of new places lately, between the restrictions easing up and the contributions from guest photographers, and I'm very pleased about it. Today's quest is from a few weeks ago, when my best friend Andrea and I took a little road trip to Stroudsburg. For some reason, despite being only about thirty miles away, Stroudsburg has always seemed like it's incredibly far off; I guess it's because it's considered a gateway to the Poconos. (Then again, as I think I've mentioned in another post or two, my sense of distance is inexplicably skewed.) What I found was a charming, quiet community with a rich history of which they are justifiably very proud.

Stroudsburg dates its origins back to colonial times, and has a Moravian connection which I'll be discussing in more detail in a future post. They actually have two different markers for the man who gave his name to the community, so we're going to hit them both.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Whitefield House, Nazareth, Northampton County

It's an unexpectedly balmy day in April, which is sort of amusing. The temperatures lately have been quite up and down, but today they're up for the warmest day all year thus far. 

So, weird confession. Despite it being an entire twelve miles from where I currently live, until very recently I never visited downtown Nazareth. I've been in or through its outskirts, but never in the community proper. A few weeks ago, finding myself with an unexpected afternoon completely free, I made a spontaneous decision to correct this oversight and collect the markers that Nazareth has to offer. There was still snow on the ground, which looks funny to me now as I write this post.

Funny thing about Nazareth - although Bethlehem is the place around here that's always touted as being a big part of Moravian history (and rightfully so), Nazareth also has Moravian origins. Not only that, but Nazareth's Moravian origins are what led to Bethlehem's.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Captain C. V. Gridley, Erie, Erie County

Before I get into today's quest, I just wanted to extend my thanks to St. John's Episcopal Church of York. That's the place where the York Liberty Bell is housed, and they shared the link to my post in their latest e-newsletter. I really appreciate that and I hope the congregation enjoyed reading the article!

As some of my longtime readers might recall, I'm an occasional volunteer with In recent weeks, through our mutual work on that site, I unexpectedly made contact with my distant cousin Ron Bauerle. Ron, according to his researches, is my mother's eighth cousin through her father's line; like us, he's descended from Philip Kratzer, one of the earliest settlers of Emmaus. Much to my surprise and delight, he checked out this blog and offered to send me pictures of markers from his home county, which I gladly accepted since who the heck knows when I'll be able to go there myself. So thanks to his contributions, today we're going to learn about a sailor in the Spanish-American War, and the origin of a certain well-known military catchphrase of the time.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Dauphin County

For reasons that probably don't need to be explained, I haven't been able to travel to today's subject and take pictures. But last fall, my parents were in the city of Harrisburg, as I mentioned in my post about the Underground Railroad, and they got a few pictures of markers for me while they were in the vicinity. Today my stepdad joins the ranks of the blog's guest photographers, and hopefully, he and I will both get to make a proper visit to the subject in the relatively near future. Whenever I'm finally able to go, I'll come back and edit this post to add more pictures - I promise I'll let you know when that happens.

"Pennsylvania," says one of my sources for today's post, "is a history-minded state." That, of course, is why I'm here and why you're here with me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

York Liberty Bell, York, York County

Welcome to April, and the grass has turned green in my yard! In my last email, I made an allusion to an announcement coming this month, and indeed I'm making one. I'm looking at the project I have created for myself with this blog, and realizing that even though I double up some of the markers when appropriate, there are a lot more of them than I had ever imagined (over 2,000 and counting), and I've barely made a dent in the last three years.

Wow, it's been three years? Already? Huh.

Anyway, the big news is that... I'm increasing the frequency of posts. Instead of every other Wednesday, I'm going to see how it goes with posting every Wednesday, so I can fit more markers into each calendar year. It's an experiment - if I feel too overwhelmed I'll drop it back to the every other week plan - but I have hopes that it will succeed. I've already sketched out my schedule of planned posts leading into the first week of June, because I have that much material handy, so we'll see what comes of it.

For today, I'm sharing the first fruits of my labor from last month's road trip. My best friend Andrea and I, as I wrote a few weeks ago, spent her birthday visiting York County and collected several markers in its county seat. It had been a long time since I crossed the Susquehanna River - I forgot how wide it is! Today's quest is a trek back to colonial times to learn about a liberty bell which, until that day, I never knew existed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Fort McIntosh, Beaver, Beaver County

I almost don't dare to believe it, but we managed to get through pretty much the entire month of March without any snow (or at least, any snow accumulation). We even had some actual springlike weather! April is just around the bend, and with the days getting longer, I think the worst of winter really is behind us at last.

Time to add another name to the list of guest photographers, and it's someone I hadn't anticipated when the blog began! John Robinson is retired from the PHMC itself, and has been kind enough to send me my first (of many, I hope) marker from Beaver County. This particular landmark actually has several markers for it, as I discovered when I went to the Historic Marker Database to look for it, but only one was erected by the PHMC so that's the one in today's post. Let's pay a long-distance visit to a garrison of the American Revolution - a very important one, in fact.