Packer Mansion, Jim Thorpe, Carbon County

Before we get into the meat of today's post, I wanted to share a link that was sent to me by Karen Galle, from the PHMC office. She enjoyed my description of the Richard Moore marker dedication and wanted to make sure I knew (and could tell all of you) that there's a calendar on the PHMC website, detailing upcoming dedication ceremonies. If you'd be interested in attending the unveiling of a new marker near you, be sure to take a look and mark your own calendar! Thanks, Karen!

I live very close to the point where the borders of Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties all meet. Jim Thorpe is not too far from me, and I'm rather fond of the quaint little community. We used to drive through it periodically when I was a child, on the way to visit relatives in the nearby town of Nesquehoning, and the view of Jim Thorpe as we would enter it from its southern end has always been arresting to me. Of particular interest to my childhood fancies was the enormous green house with the red roofs, nestled into the distant hills. What was this fairy tale come to life? Who lived there?

Richard Moore, Quakertown, Bucks County

Before I sink my teeth into this week's post, let me draw your attention to the snazzy new header image, designed by my friend Rachel - I love it so much! Check out the quest links page if you'd like to contact her about her graphic designs. Thank you, Rach!

Last week, I told you about the fun I had watching this marker be unveiled and dedicated. This week, we'll actually talk about what's on the marker, and the history which led to it.

I recently had a conversation with my mother about history. Apparently, some public school students we know were never taught about the Underground Railroad in school, and neither of us can figure out why. Part of the reason it's so important for us to learn about our history is so that we can learn from our history, or else mankind is just doomed to keep making the same mistakes. I don't generally get political on this blog, for what I would imagine are fairly obvious reasons, but I also don't think it's exactly a major political statement when I say that slavery is wrong, and is one of the big mistakes that we need to learn not to repeat. 

Richard Moore marker dedication, Quakertown, Bucks County

So if you're paying attention to my usual update schedule, you might be thinking, "Hey, aren't you supposed to be posting next week instead of this week?" And you would be correct, because this is one of the in-between weeks in which I don't tell you about the history behind a marker.

Instead, I thought I'd do a sort of 'special edition' for the blog, and share my experiences from this past weekend when a marker was dedicated. I don't know how often I'll be able to attend a marker dedication ceremony, but I'm going to get to them when I can because I'm interested to see how the different communities handle the events. This was the first one I ever attended, and I had a wonderful time. The actual history behind the Richard Moore marker will be covered in next week's regularly scheduled blog post; but here's how it went seeing it unveiled.

The Unknown Soldier, Bethlehem, Northampton County

It's been a while since MarkerQuest went to Bethlehem, and I find myself missing it a little bit, so I thought that we'd welcome September (and celebrate my birthday) by heading back there. This is sort of a sequel to a previous post, which is always fun for me.

Last December, I talked about visiting the replica of the first house in Bethlehem, and how it was the place where the city received its name. In that post, I mentioned that the replica house includes a plaque related to soldiers buried on a nearby hillside, and how that's related to Bethlehem's very own Unknown Soldier, which is what I thought I would cover today.

Molly Maguire Executions, Carbon and Schuylkill Counties

This is a new one for the blog - the first cross-county post. Throughout Pennsylvania there are a number of markers which are related - either they contain the same information in two different locations (which is the case today), or they're a series of markers which, when put together, more or less tell a story. It's not going to be easy for me to do some of these; for example, there are several markers related to the various canals that will take me a long time to collect. But this one, which has just two, I can do.

Odd as it probably sounds, given the subject matter, I've been looking forward to writing this post. It contains one of the most interesting and obscure pieces of local apocrypha that we have in the Lehigh Valley region. I only waited as long as I did to do this one because I needed a couple of photos from the other location in the story. Now that I have those, here's how we'll finish out the summer - with the deaths of ten men.

Burd Patterson, Pottsville, Schuylkill County

Today we make the blog's first foray into Schuylkill County (that's "SKOO-kill," for those of you who aren't from around here). My youngest sister Liza took me on a drive around the city of Pottsville, which is not far from where she works; we collected a handful of the markers. There's nothing quite like driving around Pennsylvania in an open-air Jeep, so thank you, baby sis!

Among the findings of that afternoon was a beautiful Federal-style mansion on Mahantongo Street, which more than one sign identified as being the former home of Burd Patterson. He turned out to be a trickier subject than I expected.

Pearl S. Buck, Perkasie, Bucks County

It frequently happens in my video games that while I'm on one quest, I stumble across multiple unrelated side quests (as they're called). MarkerQuest isn't all that different. It happens - quite often in fact - that while I'm out in the world simply doing whatever I'm doing, I stumble across those telltale markers which form the basis of this quest. However, it also happens, both in games and in real life, that one of the other characters will direct me to a side quest, and that's what happened in today's post.

I visit Peddler's Village in Bucks County with my mother a couple of times a year, usually in the company of friends. We were coming back from one such trip when she said, "You know, one of your signs is nearby. We should go get it."