Original Little League Field, 1947. Courtesy of Putsee Vannucci.
Like many boys growing up in the 1930s, the nephews of Williamsport resident Carl E. Stotz (1910-92) were baseball fanatics. After playing countless games of “pitch and catch” with the boys, Stotz promised them that he would develop a game of baseball on a size and scale appropriate for younger players. He kept his promise. In the late summer of 1938, he gathered his nephews and other local boys in Williamsport’s Memorial Park, where he began to experiment with field dimensions for a scaled down version of the game. With folded newspapers representing each base, he took note of the running speed and throwing distance capabilities of the young players. He then determined that his game should have base paths 60 feet in length, rather than the standard 90 feet, and a distance of 46 feet from the pitcher’s mound to home plate, instead of the regular 60 feet, 6 inches. While traditional baseball games last at least nine innings, Stotz realized that was too long and planned his youth games to run only six innings. Continue Reading →
The monumental 7th Street Gate to the Easton Cemetery. Photo by Jeremy Young, October 2014.
High on a hill overlooking the City of Easton is the serene, picturesque, and endlessly fascinating Easton Cemetery. The cemetery occupies a point of land created by a bend in the Bushkill Creek that, at the time of the cemetery’s establishment in 1849, was on the edge of a rapidly growing industrial community in desperate need of both parkland and sanitary burial options. The historic core of the burial ground, 48 acres assembled in two parcels during the 19th century, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 for its significance in landscape architecture and art. Continue Reading →
Brinton 1704 House and the surrounding lands were the location of core combat actions in the final phase of the Battle, Chadds Ford, Delaware County
On September 11, 1777, British General William Howe and his professional army engaged General George Washington and his citizen soldiers along the banks of the Brandywine River about 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia. Part of a larger strategy known as the Philadelphia Campaign, the Battle of Brandywine was one of the earliest and largest battles of the American Revolution, encompassing some 30,000 British and American soldiers. The Battle lasted from sunup to sundown, instantly changing the character of a quiet farming community that consisted predominately of Quakers. Although the Battle of Brandywine was a loss for the Americans, they proved that they had the resiliency to withstand the British, increasing French support of the American cause. Continue Reading →
February 18, 2015
by Shelby Weaver Splain 3 Comments
The architectural historian in me is fascinated by the threads of science, theory, and symbolism that go into designing and building schools. Like most preservationists, I am a strong believer that the power of place plays a central role in shaping our experiences, attitudes, and values. The tangible aspects of a school’s ‘power of place’ include its architectural style, materials, dimensions, and floor plan. Taken together, these character-defining features often reflect a community’s wealth, prominence, and aspirations for their children. In Philadelphia, schools from the mid-19th century to pre-World War II period fit into this category, regardless of their location in large or small, rich or poor neighborhoods. After World War II, the character of many of Philadelphia’s public schools shifted, and the school buildings communicate a rigid, institutional personality that is markedly different from the schools only a few decades older. Continue Reading →
Preservation Pennsylvania recently announced the Pennsylvania At Risk 2014 list — seven properties nominated by the public last year that will become the nonprofit group’s work priorities in 2015. The list illustrates a range of threats to historic resources, including 1) demolition; 2) potential loss due to deferred maintenance; 3) loss of vitality due to closure of a downtown anchor; 4) impacts resulting from inappropriately sited intensive development; and 5) physical and economic challenges faced by municipalities as a result of substantial flood insurance premium increases. Preservation Pennsylvania is ready to engage with people interested in working to protect these significant historic places and work to overcome these threats in the coming year.
The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) is pleased to announce that it has begun moving forward on an exciting and historic new initiative to continue through 2017.
Special funding awarded by the National Park Service following Hurricane Sandy has enabled the PA SHPO to assist select counties with prioritizing their communities’ historic properties during the pre-disaster planning process—to help ensure they are better protected the next time a major disaster strikes the Keystone State. Continue Reading →
Throughout much of its industrial history, Pittsburgh had an image problem. In 1868 James Parton wrote in The Atlantic Monthly that it was “Hell with the lid taken off.” Later, it became known as “The Smoky City.” Pollution was a big issue, but there were other problems, such as traffic congestion, flooding and blight that made Pittsburgh a less-than-desirable place to live. It was so bad that in 1944 The Wall Street Journal characterized Pittsburgh among cities “that had bleak futures.” One could argue that nowhere were these issues more visible than at the Point, the area of downtown where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River join to form the Ohio River. Prior to World War II, the Point was a smoky, gritty, blighted area that was home to two railyards, several exposition halls, offices, clubs and hotels. It was also home to the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, a 1764 building owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the sole remaining aboveground structure from the Colonial-era Fort Pitt. Continue Reading →
Many of Pennsylvania’s communities face the challenging task of adapting to a vastly different economic climate than the one that led to their historic growth and development. This new economic reality of dramatically reduced population, deindustrialization and loss of tax base has resulted in historic downtowns and residential neighborhoods pockmarked by disinvestment and vacant properties. Abandoned, demolished or marginally repurposed historic churches, schools and factories are especially vivid reminders of changing times and the large social and economic forces at work. Continue Reading →