“I can’t wait to get on the road again/On the road again/Goin’ places that I’ve never been/Seein’ things that I may never see again/And I can’t wait to get on the road again…”
-Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again,” 1980
With Pennsylvania’s long transportation history – from railroads and canals to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the many beautiful bridges throughout the Commonwealth – it’s no surprise that the teams working on the Baseline Survey Project discovered and inventoried a multitude of Pennsylvania’s previously unrecorded roadside resources!
The main character of our story, the Messerall Road Bridge, began its life over Pine Creek near East Titusville in 1876, carrying traffic associated with the local oil and lumber industries. The bridge served as a crossing over Pine Creek nearly 140 years before it was closed to vehicular traffic in 1987.
Pennsylvania is rife in human history – if you’re in Pennsylvania, consider yourself surrounded with nearly 20,000 years of it! So, it should come as no great surprise that its 121-state park and over 2 million-acre forest system, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, are steeped in both natural and human history.
Nestled amongst the oak-covered hills of rural northwest Pennsylvania until very recently sat an iron artifact from a bygone era. Built in 1876 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, this elegant, metal arch structure is what is termed, in historical bridge parlance, as a bowstring through-truss.
Originally owned and maintained by Crawford County, it has gone by numerous names over the years, including East Titusville Bridge, Pine Creek Bridge and, more recently, Messerall Road Bridge. Whatever name it goes by, it is now more commonly known for being the last of its kind in western Pennsylvania.
Soon fans of Pennsylvania’s historical markers will be braking for 23 new ones. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) recently approved the next batch of new historical markers at their March 2021 meeting.
In honor of national African American history month, I thought I would give our readers a glimpse into a few of the resources PHMC has to help study African American historic places in Pennsylvania.
Can I tell you about something that gives me chills and sends me running? October is Arts & Humanities Month. It’s also time for Halloween, so when I was invited to submit a post, our friends at SHPO asked if I could kill two birds with one stone and do justice to both October happenings. I decided to oblige by writing about some bad spirits that bedevil me at work: the humanities hobgoblins! Continue reading
What role can the humanities play in community development– and how can they foster a more democratic future for small towns and cities across America? Continue reading
by Abigail Watson-Popescu
As a child growing up in Titusville the first thing you are taught about your hometown is that Edwin Drake struck oil here on August 27, 1859. The thing you notice, though, is that your town feels very different from other towns. With wrought iron fences lining slate sidewalks, horse hitching posts and carriage mounting blocks dotting the streets, and gigantic Victorian houses abounding there is a feeling of actually living in another time.