HERITAGE PA TRAVEL FEATURE: Journey through the Susquehanna Heritage Area

By Jim Cheney, UncoveringPA

The Susquehanna River is one of the most beautiful waterways in Pennsylvania. At over 464 miles in length, it’s the longest river on the east coast and the longest river in the U.S. with no commercial boat traffic. However, it’s not just a beautiful river with great opportunities for recreation, it’s also incredibly historic and played a key role in the development of the United States. Because of this, the river’s scenic route through the Susquehanna Riverlands of Lancaster and York Counties is home to the Susquehanna Heritage Area and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Heritage Trail.

No visit to the Susquehanna Riverlands is complete without a visit to the Susquehanna Heritage Area’s two visitor education centers. They both serve as gateways to the area, offering not only recommendations for things to do and places to visit, but exhibits and programs that will enhance any trip to the area.

The Zimmerman Center for Heritage is located a few miles south of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, along the Susquehanna River. This mid-18th century home has been restored and features Native American exhibits, information about the river, and the Visions of the Susquehanna River Art Collection, along with a dock and paddlecraft landing. The center is also a trailhead for exploring the adjacent Native Lands County Park.

The Zimmerman Center also serves as Pennsylvania’s Official Visitor Contact and Passport Station for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. This 3000-mile-long water trail focuses on telling the story of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, as well as the Native Americans that once lived along their shores. Visitors can participate in scheduled programs or take a few minutes to talk to a heritage guide about the National Historic Trail’s history and learn about Captain Smith’s interactions with the Susquehannocks that once lived in the region.

A few miles upstream, in historic Columbia on the Lancaster County side of the river, is the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center. Just completed in the last few years, the center offers educational opportunities and rotating exhibits that focus on the river and its impact on the environment of the region. The center is also a trailhead for the Northwest River Trail and the site of a popular boat launch for those wanting to get out onto the water.

Ultimately, these two centers are a fantastic jumping off point for exploring the region. While many visitors are familiar with the river’s beauty and the activities along it, the area’s history and adventure opportunities are often overlooked.

All along the shores of York and Lancaster counties are great overlooks (Pinnacle, Chickies Rock, Highpoint Scenic Vista), beautiful waterfalls (Kelly’s Run, Mill Creek Falls), and fantastic hiking trails like the Mason-Dixon Trail. In addition to natural beauty, signage around the region points out the area’s great history. You can even see remnants of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal that used to run from Wrightsville to Harve de Grace, Maryland, at Lock 12 near Holtwood Dam and at the Wrightsville Riverfront Park.

The Susquehanna Heritage Area and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail offer visitors a chance to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Pennsylvania and to learn about the region’s history and effect on the entire nation. Take some time to explore this beautiful and historic region of Pennsylvania on your next visit to the Susquehanna Riverlands.

For more information on the Susquehanna Heritage Area, visit their website at SusquehannaHeritage.org.

About the writer: Jim Cheney is the writer behind UncoveringPA, Pennsylvania’s most read travel blog. He has traveled to every county in Pennsylvania and to many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He lives in Harrisburg, PA. 

Now and Beyond on Route 6

PA ROUTE 6 ARTISAN TRAIL MONTH

As spring blooms along the US Route 6 Corridor in Pennsylvania, it is time to celebrate the artisan and artisan groups that make the northern tier of Pennsylvania a beautiful place to live.

The PA Route 6 Alliance has declared April as Artisan Month along the 427 mile long Heritage Corridor and honors those creative geniuses that spark something in each of us and inspire us to new heights.

To highlight the diversity of art and culture along PA Route 6, the following is a list of six long-time members of the PA Route 6 Artisan Trail and true supporters of the arts:

1.) Wendy Neckers/Painted Finch Gallery, Corry, PA

Honored as the 2016 PA Route 6 Artisan of the Year, Corry-based artist Wendy Neckers has created the collectible poster for this year’s Artisan Month. Since opening her gallery in June 2012, Neckers has steadily grown her presence in the Corry area. The Painted Finch Gallery includes works by Neckers as well as other artisans with pieces in oil, acrylic, and watercolor to hand carved sculptures and handcrafted jewelry. Beginning in a small space along Rt 6, Neckers moved to a larger space in the middle of Corry a few years ago and this year has expanded again to the storefront next door. The new space houses more fine art and gift products and a huge selection of craft sodas. Neckers has a background in set design which has been skillfully put to use in the lovely space and displays including paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, woodcarving, and jewelry in a well-ordered setting.

2.) Dan & Jan Niebauer/Ralph Miller Jewelers & Gallery, Erie, PA

Their slogan, “Where Erie Gets Engaged – Since 1898”, testifies to just a small portion of their artistic talent as jewelry makers. Ralph Miller Jewelers is “Erie’s oldest, largest and only nationally awarded manufacturing jeweler.” The store owners and artists, Dan and Jan Niebauer, have created a wonderful setting that features original fine gold, platinum, and silver “Jewelry Art,” by five master goldsmiths. Located in downtown Erie the shop is a fascinating place to spend some time viewing the eclectic mix of custom work, estate jewelry, sculptures, rare gems and fossils, and artwork by other artists. The Niebauers are both master jewelers who not only produce their own designs, they also teach and mentor others who are well on their way to becoming masters.

3.) Art in the Wilds, Kane, PA

One of the premier art events along the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor, The Art in the Wilds Outdoor fine arts show happens annually on the fourth weekend in June. Organized and managed by a dedicated group of art lovers, artists, and patrons, the show has been lauded as one of the best in the region. The site for this juried event is under the shade of magnificent old trees in Evergreen Park, in the middle of the town of Kane, PA and the event features 35-40 artists and artisans, student art exhibit, music, demonstrations and food vendors.

4.) Curt Weinhold, Coudersport, PA

A photograph can stir emotions and no one does it better than Coudersport’s Curt Weinhold with his images of nature at its glory. Weinhold is a well-known photographer in the PA Wilds region with a portfolio that focuses on the beauty of both the man-made and natural worlds. Weinhold displays scenic views of the PA Grand Canyon, Austin Dam, local communities, wildlife and stunning nightscapes of the Dark Skies.

5.) Connie Sickler/Settlement House, Sylvania, PA

The Settlement House Gallery appears to be set in an old house built along the highway but actually, it is a relatively new structure, (2001) so carefully crafted that it has the feel of an old, well-loved farmhouse. Inside, the gallery is filled with vibrant colors and textures curated by the owner and artist Connie Sickler, who has skillfully combined the work of potters, painters, glass and fabric artists, into a charming collection of artwork. You will see a careful attention to details, a little bit of humor, and a touch of whimsy.

Sickler is a painter, designer, and illustrator and her own work is well represented in the gallery. A recent watercolor “The Tree of Hope” is available as a print in several sizes

6.) Dietrich Theater/Wyoming Cultural Center, Tunkhannock, PA

Originally built in 1936 by George Dietrich, the theater has operated for almost 50 years. The building includes four movie theaters showing blockbuster, foreign, independent, and classic films. It is also the staging ground for a wide range of cultural activities including film festivals, live theater, concerts, workshops, and classes. Local artwork is exhibited in the William Norris Earnshaw and the Doris W. & Walter A. Sherwood Galleries and classes are taught in the Dorothy G. Sheldon Art Studio and the Peg Fassett Performance Studio.

The theater is a strong presence in downtown Tunkhannock. Last year, it was host for the self-guided walking tours of the historic town.

This is just a sample of the great artisans, organizations, galleries and retail shops along the PA Route 6 Artisan Trail. For a complete list, see the website at www.paroute6.com/artisan_trail.

The PA Route 6 Artisan Trail was started in 2005 as a year-long trail, designed to establish Route 6 as a driving destination for exploring the heritage and folk- life of northern Pennsylvania through products produced in that area, specifically the arts and crafts. The PA Route 6 Artisan Trail covers the 427 miles from the New York border to the Ohio border.

The trail also serves as a network for artisans to share ideas and experiences. It is managed by the PA Route 6 Alliance and funded through the Heritage Area Program of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural resource.

Meanwhile…

PennDOT outlines biking improvements for 150 miles along Route 6

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has created a report that provides an outline for biking enhancements of 150 miles along Route 6 extending from the Ohio boarder to the McKean/Potter County line and Route 6N in Erie County.

The “Ride A Bike” section of PennDOT’s “Travel in PA” report, available at penndot.gov, provides details on “improvement strategies as well as specific enhancement suggestions, such as proposed wayfinding signage locations.”

PennDOT estimates the cost for the Route 6N section at $5.9 million, and $70.1 million for the Route 6 section, with most of the latter being for bridge replacements.

“With the many scenic and historic opportunities along this route, we’re excited to outline strategies to help enhance safety and sustainable transportation,” says PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Communities should see transportation networks as assets, and this report has some concrete recommendations to improve conditions for all travel modes in the area.”

“This helps advance our efforts to enhance outdoor recreation and bring new visitors to our communities,” says Terri Dennison, executive direct of the PA Route Alliance, one of the key partners on the initiative. “We are looking forward to assisting in the implementation of the recommendations, including wayfinding signage into our communities and hospitality training geared towards bike-friendly towns.”

PennDOT says two more reports are in the works that will layout strategies and recommendations for the rest of Route 6 through the state.

Neilltown Church Building Rehabilitation Part of Week of Giving

Pleasantville, PA  – More than 70 area non-profit organizations have joined with Bridge Builders Community Foundation for the inaugural “Week of Giving” from Monday, March 20 through midnight on Friday, March 24.

For that five-day period, monetary contributions made via www.bbcfgives.org will be relayed to the participating charitable organizations, along with matching funds which have been assembled by the Bridge Builders Community Foundation.

The Neilltown Church Building is a simple 1842 two-room former church building located at 2638 Neilltown Road, Pleasantville, PA in Harmony Township in northwestern Forest County. Since 2004, it has been owned by the non-profit Oil Region Alliance which has been gradually rehabilitating this historic structure while also hosting summertime Sunday afternoon live musical performances.

Contributions received for the Neilltown Church Building rehabilitation through the Week of Giving are being earmarked to add an electric baseboard heating system, interior storm windows, and attic insulation. For more information about this project, please contact Mrs. Marilyn Black at (814) 677-3152, Ext. 105, mblack@oilregion.org.

Façade Grant Awarded to the PA Route 6 Alliance and PA Wilds

Kane, PA – PA Route 6 Alliance and the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship (PA Wilds Center) are excited to announce they will be launching a regional façade grant program for communities along Route 6 in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

The program is made possible thanks to an $183,000 Keystone Communities grant from the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED), and project support funding from the PA Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR).

State partners and the two regional nonprofits announced the program Thursday at The Laughing Owl Press Company, a growing small business in downtown Kane that partners said is a good example of the types of applicants they are looking for.

“We are thrilled that our state partners have decided to invest in this project with us,” said PA Route 6 Alliance Executive Director Terri Dennison, whose organization will implement the bulk of the award. “It is going to create a lot of opportunities for communities and businesses in the region. We are still working out the details of the program, but anticipate it will be a matching grant program that will fund about 32 façade projects at $5000 each, as well as make smaller matching signage grants available to 50 retail and host site establishments involved in The Wilds Cooperative of PA, a visitor experience the PA Wilds Center is working to curate and grow.”

The regional façade grant program concept was developed by the PA Wilds Planning Team, a group of regional stakeholders that are part of the PA Wilds Center. It builds on many previous investments at the local, state and federal level in nature and heritage tourism in the region and helps advance principles laid out in the PA Wilds Design Guide for Community Character Stewardship, an award-winning voluntary planning document that launches its 2nd Edition next month.

Partners decided to focus the pilot along Route 6 as doing so would leverage recent and upcoming DCNR and DCED state investments in the area as well as a bicycle and pedestrian plan being undertaken by PennDOT for Route 6, also designated as state bicycle route Y.
“Initiatives that encourage revitalization and business development, like the project led by the PA Route 6 Alliance, contribute greatly to the strength and vitality of Pennsylvania’s communities,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “The Keystone Communities funding that the Alliance received will benefit efforts all along Route 6 in McKean, Potter, Tioga, and Warren counties – restoring façades and improving signage – to help bolster the economic well-being of the region’s businesses, communities, and residents.”

“DCNR is delighted to participate in this shared investment strategy by the state agencies as it truly exemplifies Governor Wolf’s “government that works” philosophy,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adam Dunn.
Some best-known tourism assets are shared by the Pennsylvania Wilds and the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor – the National Wild & Scenic Allegheny River, Kinzua Skywalk and State Park visitor center, PA Lumber Museum, the Dark Skies at Cherry Springs State Park, and PA Grand Canyon. PA Route 6 itself is a popular driving destination with its many charming downtowns. Also critical, many communities along Route 6 have continued to work with the Alliance on their individual Heritage Community Plans and were in a state of readiness for the regional façade grant program.

The hope is that if the pilot goes well, the program can be offered in future years in different areas around the region and along the Heritage Corridor.

“A lot of our region’s downtowns don’t have the capacity to run a full blown Main Street program or similar program where façade grants might be made available,” said Clearfield County Planning Director Jodi Brennan, who spearheaded development of the regional program as Chair of the PA Wilds Planning Team’s Design Guide Committee. “Taking a regional approach can help bridge that gap.”

“We’ve seen a lot of nature and heritage tourism investment in the Pennsylvania Wilds in recent years, and it is creating real opportunities for communities to draw visitors in to fuel business and job growth and improve quality of life,” said PA Wilds Center Executive Director Ta Enos. “To attract visitors – and most other kinds of investment — communities need to appear welcoming. This program helps communities achieve that.”

As part of the application, the county governments of Tioga, Potter, McKean and Warren signed a cooperative agreement to assist with in-kind support such as meeting space and assistance by their county planners.

“Any time you ask the state for funding, one of their first questions is: is there local buy-in, local leadership?” Enos said. “They want to see it at a lot of levels – business, nonprofits, local government. We appreciate the commissioners in Tioga, Potter, McKean and Warren counties stepping up to help us put forth a competitive application. It is one of the beauties of the regional work we’re all involved in, that we have built this network of partners with shared goals who understand each other’s capabilities and how we can put that to work for the betterment of our communities.”

Joe Lanich, who owns Laughing Owl Press with his wife, Andrea, started their letterpress business in their garage in 2010 but quickly grew it into a storefront operation. Last year, they purchased a building in downtown Kane that needed a lot of work inside and out. They spent many months running the business by day and sanding floors and painting by night. Joe dug up pictures of the building’s historic storefront for inspiration, and is hoping to get to the exterior soon.

“These old buildings in rural PA are a lot for a small operator like us to take on,” he said. “We are really excited about the matching grant program as it would help make exterior improvements possible.” He said Laughing Owl Press hopes to apply if the program fits its timeline.

Dennison said the program is expected to leverage at minimum $183,000 in private-sector investment through match. An exact timeline and details of the program will be released in coming months.

“We are thrilled that PA Route 6 Alliance is able to bring organizational capacity, expertise and leadership to the table to help accomplish the shared vision for this pilot program,” Enos said. “The Alliance is a longtime partner around the Wilds table and is respected for the work they have done over many years to enhance and promote the Route 6 Heritage Area. We are excited to work with them.”

For more information about the PA Wilds Center or PA Route 6 Alliance visit www.pawildscenter.org and www.paroute6.com.

HERITAGEPA TRAVEL FEATURE: Touring the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor

By Jim Cheney, UncoveringPA

There’s nothing more American than a road trip. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway created the great American road trip when it became the first cross-country roadway in the country, passing through 13 states on its way from New York City to San Francisco. While other roadways have become better known over the years, the Lincoln Highway still offers travelers the chance to see the best of America and journey down one of the country’s most historic routes.

When it was created, the Lincoln Highway entered the state north of Philadelphia, and exited the state north of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. Today, a 200-mile stretch of the roadway between North Huntingdon in the west and Abbottstown in the east is being preserved as part of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor follows much of present-day Route 30 through six Pennsylvania counties: Westmoreland, Somerset, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin, and Adams. Along this roadway, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is working to preserve the region’s history, promote tourist infrastructure, and create awareness of this classic American roadway.

Since its 1995 designation, the nonprofit heritage area created more than 65 historical exhibits, as well as murals, roadside oddities, and much more. These additions help add flavor to the roadway and offer the chance for travelers to learn more about the Lincoln Highway.

Of course, those wanting a fully immersive experience along the Lincoln Highway will want to save time to stop at the Lincoln Highway Experience in Latrobe. Near the western end of the corridor, the Lincoln Highway Experience tells the story of this over century-old highway, and the effect that it had on both Pennsylvania and the entire country.

Visits to the museum start with a 13-minute film titled, “Through the Windshield.” This award-winning film chronicles the history of the Lincoln Highway and its significance, both locally and nationally. After viewing the film, visitors can browse displays related to the highway’s history, send a postcard home to family and friends, and shop for souvenirs.

Coming in early 2018, the Lincoln Highway Experience will be doubling its exhibit space. These changes will provide an unparalleled visitor experience, and will greatly enhance a traveler’s ability to appreciate and learn about this important corridor. Additions to the museum will include the fully-restored Serro’s Diner from 1938, complete with pie and coffee for every visitor, an authentic 1938 filling station and tourist cabin, a 1937 Packard car, and much more.

Of course, no trip is complete without actually traveling the Lincoln Highway. Every visitor to the Lincoln Highway Experience receives a 60-page Lincoln Highway Driving Guide to the corridor’s 200 miles. This guide offers visitors information about what there is to see and do.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is truly the encapsulation of early 20th century Americana. The corridor passes two national parks, five state parks, and more history, culture, and beauty than you could enjoy in a lifetime.

So hop in the car and set off for a classic American road trip along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in Pennsylvania.

For more information, visit the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s website.

 

About the writer: Jim Cheney is the writer behind UncoveringPA, Pennsylvania’s most read travel blog. He has traveled to every county in Pennsylvania and to many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa. 

Take a Nature-Based Maple Tour this March

Factory tours are quite popular with tourists. In the northern tier of Pennsylvania, March marks a time to visit nature’s factory and learn how maple syrup is harvested and produced along the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor.

Maple producers are a key part of the history and heritage along PA Route 6. These skilled craftsmen have passed along traditional production methods and developed an extensive product line that proves that maple syrup is just not for breakfast anymore. Declaring that Pennsylvania has the best maple syrup and products in the country, the PA Route 6 Alliance is recognizing March as Maple Month across Route 6.

March, when the sap is flowing, is the perfect time to visit these producers and their neighboring sugar houses to learn more how each producer collects and processes a little different and to taste the array of new maple products being developed each year. Most of the awards winning producers are part of a regional maple open house being held over the weekend of March 18th and 19th. The PA Route 6 Alliance encourages travelers to make a get-away out of it by staying at one of the nearby bed and breakfast or local inns. See the PA Route 6 website for lodging choices – www.paroute6.com.

One place not to miss to learn about the heritage of maple production is Hurry Hill Maple Farm and Museum, 11424 Fry Road, Edinboro, Erie County (between MM 17N-18N), Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the art and craft of making pure maple syrup and related products. The museum is open on Sundays from 2-5pm throughout the spring, but tours can be arranged privately. For more information, see www.hurryhillfarm.org.

One sweet event is Sugar on Snow at Mt. Pisgah State Park – Satisfy your sweet tooth with a taste of real maple syrup at Mt. Pisgah State Park. The 7th annual Sugar on Snow Day, hosted by the Friends of Mt. Pisgah State Park, will be held on Saturday, March 11th, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Visit the Sugar Shack to tap a maple tree, discover some facts about the history of maple sugarin’ and to gather the raw sap to be boiled down into maple syrup in our sugar shack. Marty Roloson, Roloson Brothers Maple Syrup, will be demonstrating the “boiling down” process with the wood-fired evaporator in the sugar shack. Friends of Mt. Pisgah volunteers will then finish the maple syrup to a taffy-like substance to make “sugar on snow.” The Friends of Mt. Pisgah will also be making homemade ice cream, setting out geocaches, a plant hitchhiker exhibit, and creating crafts. This program is FREE and open to the public. Mt. Pisgah State Park is located 3 miles off Route 6 between Troy and Towanda. Contact the office at (570) 297-2734 for more information.

Northwest PA Maple Association Taste & Tour Weekend

(Sites are near Mile Markers 00N – 27N and 23 – 98)
Fifteen sugarhouses in the northwestern counties of Crawford, Erie and Warren, including How Sweet It is Farm and the Hurry Hill Maple Museum, open their doors to the public for the 14th Annual Taste & Tour Weekend. Come and visit with your local maple syrup producers and see “how it’s done.” See firsthand the process of tapping the maple tree, collecting sap and boiling it down to make delicious syrup. Many maple sugar makers produce additional confections from their syrup. Most have free samples available, as well as products for sale. For more information, call 814-333-1258 or visit http://www.pamaple.org/tour.html

Northeast Maple Weekend
(Sites are Wayne, Pike, and Lackawanna Counties)
8th Annual Self-Guided Maple Tour, a tour of maple open houses in the Northeast PA region, predominately in Wayne County but also with stops in Pike and Lackawanna Counties. Enjoy locally produced maple products and learn more about today’s producers of maple syrup. You can tour area sugar bushes at your leisure, following the maple syrup making process from the tree to your table. Along the way, pick up some locally produced pure maple products. This event is free to the public. www.facebook.com/Wayne-Conservation-District

Endless Mountains Maple Weekend
(Sites are near Mile Markers 234- 275)
A driving tour of maple open houses in the Endless Mountains Region of Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming and Susquehanna Counties. Watch sap being boiled down, sample maple treats and learn the old age tradition of “sugaring” combined with some new technology.
http://pamapleassociation.org/Files/em%202017.pdf

13th Annual Maple Weekend, Potter and Tioga Counties
(Sites are near Mile Markers 175 – 244)
The Potter/ Tioga Pennsylvania Maple Weekend is a true tribute to all things maple. The Maple Weekend is a “traveling festival” that allows visitors to observe tree tapping, sugar boiling, and other maple-related activities in Potter and Tioga counties. Fifteen members of the Potter/Tioga Maple Producers Association open their sugar shack doors during Maple Weekend for a deliciously educational experience. For more information, visit www.pamaple.com.

Piecing Together the Past

Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area and Steamtown National Historic Site (NHS) are developing Piecing Together the Past. The program will take participants on a geo-caching hunt of historic sites in Scranton. Caches containing puzzel pieces will be hidden at each site. Once all 12 pieces are collected, geo-cachers will show their assembled puzzle to officials at Steamtown NHS to redeem their prize. The program is a self-guided tour providing an opportunity for residents and visitors to embark on an historic geo-caching adventure at their own pace!

For more information on the Lackawanna Heritage Valley National and State Heritage Area click here.

PA Route 6 Seeking Nominations For “Do 6” Awards

Galeton (January 17, 2017) – The PA Route 6 Alliance wants to recognize six innovators, movers, and initiatives along the Heritage Corridor that made a difference in 2016 and is now taking nominations for the “Do 6” Awards to be presented at the Annual Meeting in May.

The awards are presented to individuals, businesses or organizations that have undertaken outstanding efforts that give new meaning to “DO 6” by supporting and implementing sustainable tourism development along the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor. The award winners exemplify the mission of the PA Route 6 Alliance to protect, preserve and promote the scenic, cultural, historical and recreational resources in the northern tier.

The awards are presented in the areas of Heritage Partnerships, Leadership, Heritage Community of the Year, Heritage Tourism (projects or events), Artisan of the Year and Lifetime Achievement.

Last year’s award winners included the Corry Area Historical Society, Corry, PA (Heritage Partnership Award); Waymart Area Parties in the Park, Waymart, PA (Heritage Tourism Award); Nancy Holmberg and Joanne Oviatt of Youngsville and Pittsfield, respectively (Heritage Leadership Award; Borough of Tunkhannock (Heritage Community of the Year Award); Wendy Neckers, Painted Finch Gallery, Corry, PA (Artisan of the Year Award); and Juanita Hampton, Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau (Lifetime Achievement Award).

Nominations can be submitted by anyone along the PA Route 6 Corridor and are due by Friday, March 10th, 2017. Nomination forms and category descriptions are available on the paroute6.com website at: http://www.paroute6.com/annual_awards_program. Winners will be notified prior to the meeting. For more information, please contact the PA Route 6 Alliance at 814-435-7706.

HeritagePA Applauds Governor Wolf for Including Heritage Area Program Funding in Proposed Budget

HARRISBURG (February 9, 2017) – Today, HeritagePA, the state’s collective body of the 12 state-designated Heritage Areas, issued the following statement from Association President Jane Sheffield in response to Governor Wolf’s proposed budget:

“HeritagePA applauds Governor Wolf for including critical funding for the Heritage Areas Program within the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in his proposed 2017-2018 state budget.

“In these challenging financial times, it is encouraging to see the Governor recognize the valuable role our twelve areas play in conserving and developing cultural, historic and recreation infrastructure that preserves regional assets and connect Pennsylvania’s legacy to the present day.

“We urge our elected leaders to support this proposed funding throughout the budget process to ensure this essential program continues to produce positive results for our communities.

“In addition, as a member of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, HeritagePA encourages the Governor and Legislature to identify a sustainable source of revenue for Growing Greener, which also makes critical investments in each heritage area.”

About HeritagePA
With a network of 12 state-designated heritage areas operating within the program, HeritagePA serves as the collective voice that speaks to the importance of heritage areas — how they bring Pennsylvania’s rich history and natural resources to life and breathe new life into the state’s economy and sense of community. For more information, visit www.HeritagePa.com and follow HeritagePA on Twitter and Facebook @HeritageIsNow.

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HERITAGEPA TRAVEL FEATURE: Exploring the historic museums of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley

By Jim Cheney, UncoveringPA

In the late 18th century, the Industrial Revolution was starting to take hold. What was once done by hand was now being done by machines. However, these machines required fuel to keep them working. At the same time, coal was being discovered in northeastern Pennsylvania, and, by the mid-19th century, much of America’s industry was being run by power made from anthracite coal. In addition to coal, many other industries popped up in the Lackawanna River valley including iron and the railroad.

All of this industry, combined with the area’s close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, turned northeastern Pennsylvania into the power plant of the industrial revolution. Today, visitors to the region can learn about the area’s history at the many museums that are a part of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley.

The Lackawanna Heritage Valley comprises an area along the Lackawanna River and was begun in 1991 with the goal of preserving the region’s rich history. Today, it is not only a Pennsylvania heritage region, but it has also been recognized as a National Heritage Area for its importance to the history of the United States. For those looking to learn about the the region’s history, the city of Scranton has a great selection of museums that tell the story of the heritage area’s industrial history and what life was like for those that lived in the area.

If you are looking to learn about coal mining and how it affected those that lived in the area, Scranton’s McDade Park offers two great destinations.

The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour offers the chance for visitors to venture down into an old coal mine and learn how anthracite coal was mined and what life was like for those working in the mines.

Entrance to the mine is by way of a sloping mine car, which takes visitors 300 feet below the ground. This mine was operational from 1860 through 1966, but has been open to visitors for the last 30 years. If you’ve never been in a coal mine before, this is a fascinating experience that allows visitors to better appreciate the hard work that went into powering the nation during the Industrial Revolution.

Next door is the Anthracite Heritage Museum, which tells the story of coal mining in northeastern Pennsylvania and the many immigrants who made their way to the Lackawanna Valley to work in the industry. Going beyond the historical details of coal mining, the museum focuses on what life was like for those that worked in the mines, how they went about their work, and how they set up a wide variety of immigrant communities throughout the region.

Another great destination for those looking at the human side of the region’s industrial history is the Lackawanna History Museum. Functioning as the historical society for Lackawanna County, the museum showcases what life was like from the earliest settlers to the region through the 20th century. While the museum does have a bit of information about the coal mining industry that once dominated the region, the focus is more on what day-to-day life was like for those that lived in the region.

The Everhart Museum in Scranton shows that there was more to the region than just work. Founded in 1908, the Everhart Museum is the oldest museum in northeastern Pennsylvania and offers one of the state’s best curated collections ranging from dinosaur fossils to Asian art. The museum also features a wide variety of popular temporary exhibitions that offer unique looks at both local and international topics.

Another aspect of the region’s history is transportation. With coal mining being such a big business, a network of trains sprung up to haul the region’s goods to markets in larger American cities and around the world.

Steamtown National Historic Site tells the story of train travel throughout the country, with a special focus on northeastern PA during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the trains were not only hauling the valley’s anthracite coal, but were also powered by it. Because of this, many steam engines are on display at Steamtown, including the only “Big Boy” east of the Mississippi River. Visitors can even hop aboard a historic train for a ride through the valley.

However, trains weren’t the only form of transportation in the city. In the 1880s, Scranton became the first city to run an all-electric trolley network, garnering it the nickname “The Electric City.” These trolleys allowed residents of the area to travel through the city and into the surrounding communities and were vital to life in the valley. Today, the Electric City Trolley Museum, which is located next door to Steamtown, tells the story of trolley transportation in the region. Like Steamtown, visitors can see trolleys on display, learn about their history through artifacts, or even take a ride on a vintage trolley.

Without a doubt, The Lackawanna Heritage Valley was a vital region to the Industrial Revolution. Those looking to learn about this fascinating history won’t want to miss these great museums located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

For more information about the region, visit the website of the Lackawanna Heritage Valley.

 

About the writer: Jim Cheney is the writer behind UncoveringPA, Pennsylvania’s most read travel blog. He has traveled to every county in Pennsylvania and to many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa.