Whether you want to discover more about your Westmoreland County heritage or need to research a topic for class, check out our suggested reading list and delve into the past....
Crucible of War
From Publishers Weekly:
From 1756 to 1763, the Ohio Valley was the site of a historic contest between the French and the English, both of whom wanted to add this fertile soil to their colonial holdings. In this elegant new account of the Seven Years' War, University of Colorado historian Anderson demonstrates that the conflict was more than just a peripheral squabble that anticipated the American Revolution. Not only did the war decisively alter relations among the French, the English and the Native American allies of the two powers, who for decades had played the English and French off one another to their own advantage, but just as critical, argues Anderson, the war also changed the character of British imperialism, with the mother country trying to reshape the terms of empire and the colonists' place in it. (It was the British victory of 1763, for example, that led the British to post a permanent, peacetime army in America and to support those troops with new taxes.) Indeed, Anderson shows that familiar events of the mid-1760s, like the Stamp Act and Tea Act crises, are better understood as postwar rather than prewar events: they did not ""reflect a movement toward revolution so much as an effort to define the imperial relationship."" This volume, then, will be of interest not just to Seven Years' War buffs, but also to those interested in the entire Revolutionary era. Anderson's magisterial study--like his earlier book, A People's Army--is essential reading on an often ignored war. 90 illus. and 9 maps.
Braddock at the Monongahela
A rare combination of documented fact and good storytelling, Ill-Starred General is the biography of a much maligned man from one of history's most vital eras. The career of Edward Braddock began during the court intrigues of Queen Anne and George I, gained momentum in continental military campaigns in the early 1750s, and ended abruptly in the rout of his American army near present-day Pittsburgh in 1755. This highly acclaimed biography reveals the man-and the politics-behind his defeat, one of the major setbacks to British imperial power in the American colonies.
On July 9, 1755, an army of British and American soldiers commanded by Major General Edward Braddock marched toward a major western outpost held by the French, confident of an easy victory. Suddenly, they were attacked by a much smaller force of French and Indian fighters-Braddock's army was destroyed, its commander fatally wounded, and supplies and secret papers were lost to the enemy. Paul E. Kopperman has used all of the known eyewitness reports of Braddock's defeat-some never before printed-to present an exciting critical account of this definitive battle in the French and Indian War. Braddock at the Monongahela is a synthesis of in-depth analysis of primary source materials, thoughtful evaluation of previous studies on the subject, and Kopperman's own persuasive interpretation.
Breaking the Backcountry
Reviewer: Theo Logos
Historians of the Seven Years War have often neglected to give much attention to the waging of that war in the backcountry of Pennsylvania and Virginia, preferring instead to concentrate on the conquest of Canada. Most of the set-piece, European style battles of that war happened in Canada or New York, and the conquest of Canada is generally viewed as the most important accomplishment of that war in North America. Yet it was in the backcountry of Pennsylvania where this first truly global war started, and its causes lay in the dispute between the English settlers of Virginia and Pennsylvania with the French over control of the rich country of the Ohio River Valley. And no area of North America suffered more from that war than did the frontier settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Matthew Ward has taken on this oft neglected subject, and has given us an excellent book detailing the war as it was fought in the backcountry. Ward opens by detailing the disputes between the Pennsylvanian and Virginian colonist with the French power in Canada over who had rightful claim to the Ohio country. He touches on the winter journey of young George Washington on his unsuccessful diplomatic mission to the French at Fort LeBoeuf, and his even more disastrous military expedition and defeat at the Great Meadows the following year. (Washington's ill-fated expedition is often cited as the unofficial beginning of the Seven Years War.) He then moves on to the disaster of Braddock's expedition and massacre, which marked both the official beginning of the war, and the beginnings of several years of savage, bloody raids on the backcountry, raids that nearly depopulated the entire frontier.
Breaking the Backcountry' effectively puts a focus on an often overlooked but crucial aspect of the first great global war. It is well written, carefully researched, and I enthusiastically recommend it.
Empires at War: The French & Indian War
Readers daunted by the length of the definitive account of the French and Indian War, Crucible of War, by Fred Anderson (2000), which clocks in at 832 pages, will find Fowler's account a slimmer, more strictly narrative alternative. Like Anderson, Fowler quickly gets to the strange-but-true incident that touched off the war: George Washington's 1754 ambush of French soldiers in western Pennsylvania. That such a minor fracas on the frontier could ignite a world war is made plausible as Fowler sets within context the European diplomatic situation between France and Britain; in North America, the author sets the geographic constraints for the rivals' final showdown for control of the continent. Fowler efficiently relates the opening campaigns, such as the victory of the marquis de Montcalm at Ticonderoga in 1757, which brought William Pitt to power in England on a win-the-war platform. He succeeded in bringing Britain's numerical superiority to bear, although the contingencies of the crucial battle of the war at Quebec in 1759 are appropriately emphasized here. A well-modulated presentation for history buffs.
Guns at the Forks
Guns at the Forks is a special reissue commemorating the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War. In a spirited, intelligent, and informative history, O'Meara tells the story of five successive forts, particularly Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt, and the dramatic part they played in the war between 1750 and 1760. He describes Washington's capitulation at Fort Necessity, Braddock's defeat at the Monongahela, and Forbes's successful campaign to retake Fort Duquesne. Although most of the action in the book takes place at the strategically important forks of the Ohio, where present-day Pittsburgh stands, O'Meara's narrative relates the two forts to the larger story of the French and Indian War and elucidates their roles in sparking a global conflict that altered the course of world events and decided the fate of empires.
III-Starred General: Braddock of Coldstream Guards
From the Back Cover:
""A first-rate biography.""-New York Times ""This is history, but in Mr. McCardell's skilled hands it reads like a novel.""- St. Louis Globe-Democrat ""Here, in a rare combination of documented fact and good storytelling is the biography of an often neglected man who lived during one of history's most vital eras.""-Booklist
Monongahela 1754-55: Washington's Defeat
On 9 July 1755 amid the wilderness of North America, Britain suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in her history. General Braddock’s army, a mixture of British regulars and American militia, was shattered, losing over 900 men from a force of 1,300. Braddock was killed and the remnants of his army rescued by his aide, Colonel George Washington. The origins of this defeat can be traced back to the death of a junior French officer little more than a year before in a relatively minor skirmish with a party of Virginian militia commanded by the same George Washington. Rene Chartrand examines the subsequent chain of events that ultimately sparked a world war.
The Battle for North America
Originally published in 1889 in 13 volumes, this brilliant, unequalled work by the most famous American historian of the age has now been skillfully edited into a single edition. The wonderfully readable result retains its sharp focus and wonderfully graceful style, while eliminating repetitions and archaic phrases. Playing out in the dramatic account is the struggle for a continent, and the brilliant men who dominated the conflict: Champlain, La Salle, Washington, Howe, and others. By ousting the French from the land, the British unwittingly set the stage for their own later defeat.
Never Come to Peace Again
Review by Jerry Groen
Finally, the third book that I have read on Pontiac's war with the British is a charm. Unlike one book that was a historical novel, and somewhat fantastic in its portrayals of what happened, and a more recent book that was a boring scholarly read, this one is believable, with many sources identified, and interesting to read. Some new ideas were also brought to light for me in reading this book. First, although this is known as Pontiac's War, Pontiac only led the attacks and siege of Detroit. And, this part of the war was not successful. He had no involvement with the taking of the other British forts, and towards the end of the war, he was despised by his fellow Indians, resulting in his murder at a young age. Second, at the end of this war, an uprising of settlers in the Allegheny region occurred that was a precursor to the American revolution. This occurred as a direct result of Pontiac's War showing the connection between this war and the Revolution. One of the highlights of the book is the battle of Bushy Run where Bouquet with a tired and sick army is attacked by the Indians, but through trickery defeats them, resulting in the only defeat of an Indian army by the British. There are a lot of these interesting anecdotes in this book highlighting a book that is well worth the read for an individual interested in the colonial period and the wars with the Indians.
The War That Made America
From Publishers Weekly:
The author of the award-winning, scholarly account of the French and Indian War Crucible of War (2000) offers a scaled-down, popular version of that history in this companion volume to the January 2006 PBS documentary. It is an excellent introduction to a conflict that most Americans know little about, and that Winston Churchill called the first worldwide war. Anderson focuses on the North American theater, the outcome of which he claims ""transformed the colonists' world forever"" and, in effect, ""made America."" He shows how the conflict encouraged colonials ""to conceive of themselves as equal partners in the [British] empire,"" a concept that Britain did not share and that led inexorably to postwar strife and revolution. In a departure from earlier accounts, Anderson gives unprecedented coverage to the role of Native Americans in the struggle and demonstrates how the war paved the way for the American government's eventual ""destruction or subjugation of native societies."" Like the best popular historians, Anderson combines exhaustive research and an accessible prose style in a volume that should help rescue the French and Indian War from historical obscurity. (Dec.)
Struggle for a Continent
This book in The American Story Series for children explains The French and Indian Wars-1689-1763. This illustrated book provides information in a format which allows elementary age children to understand the conflicts between England, France, and Native Americans from the earliest settlements on this continent through the end of The French and Indian War in 1763.
A Real American
This children's book explores the relationship between two young boys. One an Italian immigrant whose family has moved to Westmoreland County to work in the coal mines The other ,the son of a farmer whose traditional way of life has been dramatically affected by the industrialization of his rural community.
Review by School Library Journal
The Western Pennsylvania coal boom is changing Nathan McClelland's farm community. Nathan is angered and confused by the changes, especially by the Italian immigrants moving into the area. Curiosity draws him to Arturo Tozze who works with his father in the mine. Nathan overcomes family prejudice and traditional ways of thinking to gain a friend--and a new sense of what it is to be a real American.
Outposts of the War for Empire
This book thoroughly examines colonial era forts through narrative and illustration. It offeres information about their physical attributes as well as why they were built. Charles Stotz became one of the country's foremost experts on the design of colonial forts through his supervision of the excavation and reconstruction of Fort Ligonier and Fort Pitt.
Pennsylvania's Forbes Trail
The story of the Forbes Campaign, one of the most dramatic and significant chapters of the French and Indian War, unfolds vividly in Pennsylvania's Forbes Trail, a new book published as part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Pittsburgh. The book takes an engaging approach, combining gripping history with tools to help contemporary travelers discover historic sites, the great outdoors and family attractions along the trail today.
Drum in The Forest: Decision at the Forks
Originally published to commemorate the bicentennial of Pittsburgh's founding, Drums in the Forest is now reissued to mark the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War. It comprises two parts: the first, by Alfred Proctor James, provides the historical background leading up to the capture of Fort Duquesne by the British; the second, by Charles Morse Stotz, is a description of the five forts built at the forks of the Ohio between 1754 and 1815.
From the Back Cover:
[Professor James's] treatment is encyclopedic; few events in American colonial history are omitted. Moreover, since Pittsburgh was caught up in international power politics, he analyzes in detail the great William Pitt's 'system' for the defeat of the French, but always with the intent of showing the effect of these global plans on the Pittsburgh area. . . . Mr. Stotz describes the area's forts, using words and drawings with equal facility, and makes a permanent contribution to the history of military architecture... His work illuminates the whole history of military fortifications in the eighteenth century. Mississippi Valley Historical Review
The French & Indian War
This introduction to the French & Indian War for elementary school students follows the progress of the war from the political environment through the military conflicts and the impact following the war. Vivid descriptions of military tactics and color illustrations, photographs, and paintings keep the history lively enough to hold the interest of younger readers.
Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison
This book is based on the true story of Mary Jemison who was captured from her frontier homestead by the Seneca Indians in 1758. Taken from her family, she is adopted as a daughter of the tribe to replace a murdered family member. This book gives a glimpse into the effects of the French & Indian War on the average Euro-American frontier settlers and the native tribes.
The Matchlock Gun
This historical novel provides insight into everyday life at the time of the French & Indian War. The focus is on a 10-year-old boy living in the farmlands of New York, an area under constant threat from both the French and Native Americans. Young readers are able to appreciate how different the world was for a child in the 1750's as compared to today.
The Whiskey Rebellion
The events described in this book took place in Westmoreland, Washington, Fayette, and Allegheny counties in 1794. They represented the first test of the government of the newly-formed United States of America.
From Publishers Weekly:
Soon after Americans ousted inequitable British taxation, Secretary of Finance Alexander Hamilton, hatched a plan to put the new nation on steady financial footing by imposing the first American excise tax, on whiskey makers. The tax favored large distillers over small farmers with stills in the mountains of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, and the farmers fomented their own new revolution a challenge to the sovereignty of the new government and the power of the wealthy eastern seaboard. In a fast-paced, blow-by-blow account of this ""primal national drama,"" journalist Hogeland energetically chronicles the skirmishes that made the Whiskey Rebellion from 1791 to 1795 a symbol of the conflict between republican ideals and capitalist values. The rebels engaged in civil disobedience, violence against the tax collectors and threatened to secede from the new republic. Eventually Washington led federal troops to quell the rebellion, arresting leaders such as Herman Husband, a hollow-eyed evangelist who believed that the rebellion would usher in the New Jerusalem. Hogeland's judicious, spirited study offers a lucid window into a mostly forgotten episode in American history and a perceptive parable about the pursuit of political plans no matter what the cost to the nation's unity. (Apr.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America
Two founding fathers of American industry...One desire to dominate business at any price.
The author tells the riveting story of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the bloody steelworkers' strike that transformed their fabled partnership into a furious rivalry. Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, Meet You in Hell captures the majesty and danger of steel manufacturing, the rough-and-tumble of the business world, and the fraught relationship between "the world's richest man" and the ruthless coke magnate to whom he entrusted his companies. The result is an extraordinary work of popular history.
Capital's Utopia: Vandergrift, Pennsylvania
In the 1890s the Apollo Iron and Steel Company ended a bitterly contested labor dispute by hiring replacement workers from the surrounding countryside. To avoid future unrest, however, the company sought to gain tighter control over its workers not only at the factory but also in their homes. Drawing upon a philosophy of reform movements in Europe and the United States, the firm decided that providing workers with good housing and a good urban environment would make them more loyal and productive. In 1895, Apollo Iron and Steel built a new, integrated, non-unionized steelworks and hired the nation's preeminent landscape architectural firm (Olmsted, Olmsted, and Eliot) to design the model industrial town: Vandergrift.
In Capital's Utopia: Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, 1855-1916, Anne E. Mosher offers the first comprehensive geographical overview of the industrial restructuring of an American steelworks and its workforce in the late nineteenth--century. In addition, by offering a thorough analysis of the Olmsted plan, Mosher integrates historical geography and labor history with landscape architectural history and urban studies. As a result, this book is far more than a case study. It is a window into an important period of industrial development and its consequences on communities and environments in the world-famous steel country of southwestern Pennsylvania.
Army & Empire: Soldiers on the American Frontier
Following the end of the French & Indian War, British soldiers in America faced new and unfamiliar responsibilities on the frontier. This book examines all aspects of peacetime service of soldiers in the complex, evolving cultural frontiers of the West in British America.
Dr. McConnell explores all aspects of peacetime service, including the soldiers' diet and health, mental well-being, social life, transportation, clothing, and the built environments within they lived and worked.
A Country Between
In the book ""A Country Between: The Upper Ohio Valley and its Peoples1724-1774"", Michael N. McConnell examines the situation in the Ohio Country in the eighteenth century. The Delawares, Shawnees, Iroquois, and other Native Peoples who had taken refuge there were caught between the territorial ambitions of the French and British. This book is unique in that it assumes the perspective of the Indians who struggled to maintain their autonomy in a geographical tinderbox.
The Light in the Forest
Ages 10 and up
Richter's ""The Light in the Forest"" is a classic tale of a boy torn between families and cultures makes a compelling tale. When he was just four years old, John Cameron Butler was captured by the Lenne Lenape Indians. He has since been adopted by the Indians, who named him True Son, and has grown to love the only family he has ever known, as well as the ways of his people. But now it's 1765 and in order to make a land deal, the Lenne Lenape and other tribes have agreed to return all their captives to the white Army, including now-15-year-old True Son/John. When he arrives at the Butler home in Paxton, Pa., True Son chafes at his white family's speech, customs and clothing, acting defiant and depressed. He soon manages (with help from his cousin Half Arrow) a dangerous escape and rejoins his Indian relatives. But once back among his people, True Son commits an act of betrayal that forces the Lenne Lenape to disown him forever, leaving him a young man unsure of where he belongs. Richter's careful scene-setting, quickly transports readers to a distinct, long-ago era.
From Publishers Weekly
When Smoke Ran Like Water
Davis, one of the world's leading epidemiologists and researchers on environmentally linked illness, writes about her lifelong battle against environmental pollution in strong prose, underlined with some horrifying stories. With a special emphasis on air pollution and its long-term effects, Davis anecdotally talks about some of the most infamous smogs and fogs of all time, including the Donora Fog (October 26, 1948) that left a small zinc-factory town in Pennsylvania blanketed in a thick, toxic fog for over a week. ""Within days, nearly half the town would fall ill"" and within one 24-hour period 18 people had died. She argues that these incidents are underreported because the industries responsible for the pollutants are often powerful corporations or the major employer in these small towns. Research into the long-term effects of pollution, such as breast and testicular cancer, reveals that people in the Northeast (including Long Island and Connecticut) and in California have a higher incidence of serious illnesses. Most importantly, Davis brings to the fore the long-lasting effects of growing up and living in a polluted atmosphere, clearly demonstrating that ""people living in areas with the dirtiest air had the highest risk of dying."" She sounds the warning bell loud and clear: the threat to public health is real. This is an enlightening, engrossing read (with an intro by Gaynor, a leading oncologist at the Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City), which should be on the shelf of anyone who cares about the environment and wants to learn more about policy, health and politics; Davis weaves all of these together with grace.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc
The Secret History of the War on Cancer
About the Author
Mellon: An American Life
This is the first comprehensive biography of Andrew Mellon, the powerful American financier, secretary of the treasury, and art collector. Like Rockefeller and Carnegie, Mellon came to symbolize the era of the U.S. rise to industrial might, with all the benefits and abuses that entailed. Professor Cannadine brings compassion and fairness to his subject. At first glance, Mellon is neither an appealing nor an especially interesting character. Mellon's father, Thomas, had already made his fortune, so Andrew's story lacks the rags-to-riches aspect that made Andrew Carnegie such a compelling figure. In personal relations, Mellon was stiff, diffident, and self-absorbed. His only marriage ended disastrously, and his relations with his children were problematic. But, as Cannadine eloquently shows, Mellon was a true genius at the art of making money. He was a brilliant practitioner of and a true believer in -laissez-faire capitalism. As secretary of the treasury under Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, he used his financial acumen to cut both taxes and the national debt. Although he came to philanthropy late in life, the donation of his private art collection and massive subsidizing of a museum to house it have greatly enriched the nation's cultural life. Despite Mellon's personal shortcomings, Cannadine's recounting of Mellon's public career make this a worthy contribution to our understanding of the man and his era.
Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association.
Greensburg - Postcard History
Named for the late Gen. Nathaniel Greene and serving as the county seat of Westmoreland County, Greensburg has a history over 200 years in the making. By 1850, Greensburg was a growing county seat with inns, small businesses, and hardworking residents. With the coming of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the discovery of large areas of coal nearby, and the Lincoln Highway running through the heart of town, Greensburg soon became a large prosperous community and a center for commercial activity. Featuring more than 100 years of postcards, Greensburg showcases the city's sprawling homes, churches, schools, industry, and daily life.
Author Bio: Rachel E. Smith, a graduate student in journalism at West Virginia University, is a Greensburg native and a member of the Westmoreland County Historical Society. She has drawn from both her own postcard collection and that of the historical society in order to create this visual journey through time.
Greensburg - Images of America
By 1771, a cluster of cabins flanked what would become the most traveled east–west road between the Allegheny Mountains and Pittsburgh. This settlement, originally called Newtown, emerged as the nucleus of a growing community later renamed for the late General Nathanael Greene. By 1799, Greensburg was already the first county seat and site of the first courts west of the mountains. With the coming of the Pennsylvania Railroad and bituminous coal mining, Greensburg by 1885 was growing, prospering, and bustling with commercial activity. Utilizing rare photographs, some unseen in sixty years, Greensburg concentrates on the city's evolution past 1900, into the years of boom and growth, and through the 1950s, hinting of future decline.
Author Bio: Local resident and lawyer P. Louis DeRose is a member of the Westmoreland County Historical Society, Lincoln Highway Association, and Westmoreland Museum of American Art and former president of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. He is a frequent contributor to local publications and co-creator of a touring slide show about historic Greensburg.
Jeannette - Postcard History
Jeannette, the Glass City, was the first industrial city in Westmoreland County. From Jeannette's founding in 1888 by Pittsburgh industrialist H. Sellers McKee, the city was destined for fame. Jeannette produced more glass in various forms than any other city in the world. At one time there were seven great glass factories in Jeannette, all producing glass that was shipped worldwide. Jeannette was a beautiful planned Victorian town, and the residents were proud of their city. A new form of correspondence became popular: the penny postcard. Jeannette features postcards showing the area's Victorian mansions, workers' row houses, factories, schools, churches, businesses, streets, and government buildings.
Author Bio: Terry Perich, vice president of the Jeannette Area Historical Society, is a retired social studies teacher and
historian. He is the coauthor of Jeannette in the Images of America series. Kathleen Perich, a retired teacher, serves on the executive board of the Jeannette Area Historical Society.
Jeannette - Images of America
Jeannette, the Glass City, was named in honor of H. Sellers McKee's wife and was the first large manufacturing town within Westmoreland County. On May 20, 1889, the first glass was blown, and Jeannette began sending its glass products all over the world. There were seven great glass factories located in the area, as well as the largest pressed-glass factory in America and the largest window glass plant in the world. Two of the largest factories in the world were the McKee Brothers' Works and the Chambers-McKee Glass Company. Jeannette produced more glass in various forms than any other place in the United States. Jeannette was also home to Oakford Park, a trolley park, for the relaxation of its citizens and those in the surrounding areas. The great Oakford Park flood, which took place on July 5, 1903, was the most devastating event in western Pennsylvania since the Johnstown flood of 1889. Oakford Park was rebuilt, and Jeannette recovered and continued producing glass.
Author Bio: Terry Perich, vice president of the Jeannette Area Historical Society, is a retired social studies teacher and historian.
Latrobe and The Ligonier Valley - Postcard History
Nestled in the foothills of the Laurel Mountains, the Ligonier Valley is recognized across the nation for its contribution to the country's heritage. Ligonier was incorporated as a borough in 1834, and Latrobe followed soon after in 1854. Over the years the Ligonier Valley has made its mark on American culture, being the birthplace of Rolling Rock beer, golf legend Arnold Palmer, the banana split, and television personality Fred Rogers and home to the five-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers' training camp at St. Vincent College. Latrobe and the Ligonier Valley features over 200 vintage postcards detailing the area's homes, churches, schools, industry, and daily life and representing over 100 years of rich local history.
Author Bio: Rachel E. Smith is a member of the Westmoreland County Historical Society and author of Greensburg, in Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series. A local history aficionado, she has drawn from both her own postcard collection and that of another local collector to chronicle the history of these two dynamic communities
Ligonier Valley - Images of America
Nestled in the hills of western Pennsylvania, the Ligonier Valley has always had an air of mystery about it. The small towns and rolling countryside bear little witness to all that has occurred here. A fort was built but decayed and disappeared before being reconstructed recently. Many people have made significant contributions to the town and beyond, although time has lost many of their stories. The valley became an early industrial center with the growth of lumbering, mining, and iron production until the best resources were spent and these industries dwindled. Using hundreds of rare photographs, author Sally Shirey tells the story of this beautiful, historic area. In Ligonier Valley, readers can see the valley as it stood many years ago. After making the steep descent of Laurel Mountain, many pioneers were content to stay and build their lives in the valley. In 1758, the army of Gen. John Forbes erected Fort Ligonier. John Ramsey laid out the town of Ligonier around a public square called the Diamond. The influx of people, thanks to the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, gave rise to the hospitality industry in the valley. The Hotel Breniser, Ligonier Springs Hotel, and Kissell Springs Hotel were among those that served tourists and residents alike. Idlewild Park, dating from the 1870s, remains one of America's most beautiful amusement parks today. Reconstructed Fort Ligonier has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Author Bio: Sally Shirey was raised in the Ligonier Valley. A member of the Ligonier Valley Writers, she has served the organization in several capacities, including president. She is a member of the Ligonier Valley Historical Society, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, and other local, Regional, and national historical groups. Here, she presents the stories and images of this wonderful area in a volume sure to delight residents and visitors for years to come.
Norvelt-Images of America
In 1933, the town of Norvelt became the fourth of 99 planned subsistence homestead communities subsidized by the federal government as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act for dislocated miners and industrial workers. The American Field Service Committee was recruited to implement and build the subsistence project and established a work camp in the summer of 1934. More than 1,850 people applied for 250 lots, and the first 1,200 homesteaders helped build their own homes on a lease-to-purchase agreement. Homes were equipped with a grape arbor, 3.4 acres of land, and chicken coops. Cooperatively, homesteaders established community garden plots and raised livestock, hogs, and chickens. A format of cultural, political, and religious expression was provided to the residents, and through vintage photographs Norvelt: A New Deal Subsistence Homestead celebrates the remarkable life transformation the homesteaders were able to experience during the town's formative years.
Author Bio: Sandra Wolk Schimizzi is a rehabilitation counselor who grew up in Norvelt. Valeria Sofranko Wolk moved to Westmoreland Homesteads in 1935 and continues to live in Norvelt. Michael Cary is a professor of history and political science at Seton Hill University in Greensburg. All the authors serve on Norvelt's 75th anniversary commemorative book, history, and education committee.
Established in 1895 when other factory towns consisted of shabby mill-owned structures and dirt streets, Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, was uniquely designed by the firm of Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot to be greener and more architecturally pleasing for residents. The town's early emphasis on green space and resident-owned homes was ahead of its time, and aspects of its history continue to surprise even residents.
Author Bio: Sara McGuire worked with the Vandergrift Improvement Program and the Victorian Vandergrift Museum and Historical Society on this book.
Monessen: A Typical Steel Country Town
Once a Native American hunting ground, the industrial melting pot of Monessen, in western Pennsylvania, rises over a horseshoe bend in the Monongahela River. Established in 1898, this powerhouse town boomed for close to 60 years, producing vast amounts of steel and other crucial industrial materials. Known for its cultural diversity, Monessen's predominantly immigrant population-with the highest naturalization rate in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century-and the vibrant neighborhoods they established were entirely sustained by the local mills. The battles for decent pay, job protection, benefits, and an 8-hour day kindled fiercely for decades until Monessen and towns like it in the Monongahela Valley gave the average person a dignity denied them for centuries: decent pay for decent work. Families thrived. Children went to college. It was the American dream. Then, neighborhoods began to unravel, foreign imports stole jobs, and finally the mills, the only support of the town, closed. Demonstrating their unyielding spirit, Monessen residents have struggled to fight for the recovery and rebirth of their hometown. In this new history, Monessen: A Typical Steel Country Town, informative narrative highlights the rapid expansion and gradual demise of a society built almost solely on its industrial endeavors and recounts how a disjointed populace has come together to restore their proud community. Over 100 striking photographs depict the dominating presence of the mills, the quiet faces of the people who toiled there, scenes of daily life, and memorable events through the years, as well as the dramatic changes that have marked Monessen's unique history.
Author Bio: Author Cassandra Vivian is a professional freelance writer and the founder and chairperson of the Greater Monessen Historical Society. She has published extensively on a variety of topics, including Egyptian travel and history, cooking, Italian-American history, and western Pennsylvania travel and history. Through Monessen: A Typical Steel Country Town, Vivian poignantly illustrates, in both word and image, the courage and conviction of this singular community
The Mid Mon Valley
As the Monongahela River snakes north into Pennsylvania, it twists into horseshoe bends and has few straight stretches. Tucked into these curves are a series of small towns that represent America at its best. The river, which is one hundred and twenty-eight miles long, is divided into regions by local residents, and the mid section encompassing the communities of Brownsville, California, Belle Vernon, Charleroi, Monessen, Donora, and Monongahela is known as the Mid Mon Valley. What unites this region, in addition to a common landscape and common architecture, is a heritage of ethnic pride, industrial achievement, and championship sports teams. The Mid Mon Valley celebrates this history through a collection of striking postcards from the twentieth century.
Author Bio: Cassandra Vivian is a writer and photographer with more than twenty books and exhibitions to her credit. She is the author of Monessen: A Typical Steel Country Town and The National Road in Pennsylvania.
Idlewild - Images of America
Located in the scenic Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania, America's third oldest amusement park, Idlewild, was founded in 1878 as a picnic ground along the Ligonier Valley Rail Road. Its tranquil setting quickly established Idlewild as the premier place for church, school, and corporate picnics, as well as a recreational getaway for families. Idlewild added new amusements and facilities as its crowds continued to grow, but it always strove to maintain the picturesque landscape of the site. Soon a full-fledged amusement park was in operation, with throngs of visitors disembarking the trains from such places as Latrobe, Greensburg, and Pittsburgh. Home to unique attractions like Story Book Forest, the Rollo Coaster, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe, and the SoakZone, Idlewild has been the backdrop for generations of fond memories. Idlewild's proximity to the Lincoln Highway helped the park survive the abandonment of the railroad, and careful development by the Mellon and Macdonald families and the Kennywood Entertainment Company continue to help it thrive. This collection of photographs tells the story of how one of America's most beautiful theme parks has grown throughout the years.
Author Bio: Employed by Idlewild and SoakZone for twelve years, Jeffrey S. Croushore currently serves as a picnic coordinator. In the winter of 2000-2001, he undertook a project to organize and catalog Idlewild's archives and is now the park's principal archivist.
Along Pennsylvania's Lincoln Highway
Unlike today's interstate highway system, the earlier routes offered ever-changing scenes and roadside attractions. Although the Lincoln Highway crosses the entire country from New York City to San Francisco, the route it follows through Pennsylvania offers some of the most diverse and beautiful scenery. From the relatively flat terrain in the eastern part of the state to the mountains in the west, the highway passes through large cities and small towns, and almost all of these areas offered something to the motoring public. The popularity of the automobile gave rise to some of the highway's greatest attractions, such as Bill's Place and the S. S. Grand View Ship Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 2001. Along Pennsylvania's Lincoln Highway is a trip back into time, and it recalls the days when getting to a destination was half the fun.
Author Bio: Richard W. Funk, an award-winning journalist and photographer, is the author of Around Hazleton. As a historical researcher and writer, he authored two signifi cant newspaper series dealing with old, and sometimes forgotten, towns in eastern Pennsylvania, as well as articles about anthracite coal mining, early iron furnaces, railroads, and mine disasters.
Wilmerding & The Westinghouse Air Brake Co.
When George Westinghouse Jr. founded the Westinghouse Air Brake Company, his air brakes, railroad equipment, and industrial pneumatic devices revolutionized rail travel, opening a new chapter in American industrial history. Not only were the products of his first company revolutionary, but the small borough he founded in 1890 in southwestern Pennsylvania became a model for residential and industrial development. Wilmerding, precisely planned and built according to Westinghouse's specifications, would house the workers-skilled and unskilled, black and white-who would produce George Westinghouse's air brake. Wilmerding and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company tells the story of a town and company that grew up hand in hand. This collection of historical photographs, drawn from the archive of the Westinghouse Air Brake Company, shows how the citizens of Wilmerding lived-from the factories where they worked everyday to the Castle, where they bowled and swam. See the Victorian-style homes where they lived with their families, the park where they strolled, and the company band they heard at concerts and parades. Learn about the industry-changing products they produced and sold globally. Wilmerding and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company is an American story of a man and his vision-how he and the town he founded changed the face of rail travel and industry.
Author Bio: Wilmerding World Wide seeks to promote the history of George Westinghouse, his many companies, inventions, achievements, and the town of Wilmerding.
And the Wolf Finally Came - The Decline and Fall of the American Steel Industry
• Choice 1988 Outstanding Academic Book
• Named one of the Best Business Books of 1988 by USA Today
A veteran reporter of American labor analyzes the spectacular and tragic collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s. John Hoerr's account of these events stretches from the industrywide barganing failures of 1982 to the crippling work stoppage at USX (U.S. Steel) in 1986-87. He interviewed scores of steelworkers, company managers at all levels, and union officials, and was present at many of the crucial events he describes. Using historical flashbacks to the origins of the steel industry, particularly in the Monongahela Valley of southwestern Pennsylvania, he shows how an obsolete and adversarial relationship between management and labor made it impossible for the industry to adapt to shattering changes in the global economy.
Given the vast subject, critics commend David Nasaw's effort. The author combines thorough and much previously unavailable research in only the second full-length biography of Carnegie in nearly 40 years (Peter Krass's Carnegie, 2002). Despite his talent as a biographer, Nasaw—professor of history at City University of New York and winner of the Bancroft Prize for The Chief, his biography of William Randolph Hearst—at times comes up short in his inability to reconcile Carnegie's contradictory ruthlessness and generosity. To be fair, no author has succeeded completely, and Carnegie's true motivation remains hidden to history. At nearly 900 pages, the book might more succinctly make its point. Those interested in Gilded Age history, however, will appreciate the meticulousness of Nasaw's research and his enthusiasm for a time of unprecedented change in America.
The Judge: A Life of Thomas Mellon, Founder of a Fortune
Lawyer, judge, banker, classics professor, and councilman, Thomas Mellon greatly influenced the fortunes of his hometown, Pittsburgh, throughout the nineteenth century. In the process, he became one of the city's most important business leaders, and he laid the foundation for a family that would contribute considerably to the city's growth and welfare for much of the next hundred years, becoming one of the world's most recognizable names in industry, innovation, and philanthropy. Through his in-depth examination of the extensive Mellon family archives, in The Judge James Mellon—a direct descendent of Thomas Mellon—has fashioned an incisive portrait of the elder Mellon that presents the man in full. Offering a singular and insightful characterization of the Scotch-Irish value system that governed the patriarch's work and life, James Mellon captures the judge's complexities and contradictions, revealing him as a truly human figure.
Among the recent biographies of Pittsburgh's famous businessmen, The Judge stands apart from the pack because of the author's unique perspective and his objective and scholarly approach to his subject.
Dead End in Norvelt
This book, winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the best-written children's book as well as the Scott O'Dell Award for historical fiction, was based on writer Jack Gantos' childhood experiences in the Westmoreland County community of Norvelt. In the book, an 11-year-old boy learns the personal histories of Norvelt residents, a community founded by the Government to aid families displaced by the Depression.
Ligonier Valley Vignettes: Tales from the Laurel Highlands
Secluded between Laurel Mountain and Chestnut Ridge, the Ligonier Valley has been the mountain playground of western Pennsylvania since the nineteenth century. Yet this picturesque retreat was at the tumultuous center of history-during the French and Indian War, Fort Ligonier was key to the British strategy, and in the late nineteenth century, the Ligonier Valley Rail Road helped transform the industry of the region. Author Jennifer Sopko traces the story of the valley and its residents through a series of fascinating vignettes. From the earliest histories to nostalgic reminiscences of the Ligonier Opera House, socials at the Valley Dairy ice cream parlor and bygone days at Idlewild Park, Sopko captures the history and spirit of the Ligonier Valley and its communities.
Author Bio: Jennifer Sopko is a freelance writer, and joined the Latrobe Bulletin in 2003. She is a contributor to the Westmoreland History Magazine, a publication of the Westmoreland County Historical Society, as well as the Ligonier Echo and the Tube City Almanac. She is a volunteer at the Ligonier Valley Library's Pennsylvania Room.
Route 30 - Pennsylvania's Haunted Highway
Hop in your car and travel along with Ed Kelemen as he visits and describes the hauntings that occur along the original path of this historic route from Point State Park in Pittsburgh to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania's Haunted Route 22
Take A Haunted Road Trip along Pennsylvania's U.S. Route 22, also known as the William Penn Highway and learn - - - What happens when someone builds over a graveyard? How did John Gottleib Ernestus Heckwelder settle a dispute between his townsfolk and a ghost on the banks of the Lehigh River? Why does America's first super model still roam her mansion in the mountains? Where can you drink side-by-side with a mobster who just happened to be rubbed out at that very bar? Who was Pennsylvania's first serial killer and where do his victims roam to this day? What book store has the invisible clerk who anticipates customers' selections? What about that Lady in White? Is she everywhere?
The Ligonier Valley Rail Road
To provide his sons with an opportunity to create a new business, Judge Thomas Mellon agreed in August 1877 to invest in a short line railroad that would connect Ligonier to the Pennsylvania Railroad in Latrobe. Four months later, the Ligonier Valley Rail Road (LVRR), a 10.6-mile-long line, was completed and began transporting passengers and freight between Ligonier and Latrobe. The viable transportation the LVRR provided to Pittsburgh markets immediately spurred lumber and quarry industries in Ligonier Valley and later coal mining and coke production. Also, to increase ridership, Judge Mellon built Idlewild Park on 350 acres near Ligonier in 1878. By its end in 1952, the LVRR had hauled more than 30 million tons of freight out of the valley. Equally impressive, because of the popularity of Idlewild Park and the growing tourism in Ligonier Valley, nine million passengers rode LVRRs rails over its 75 years of operation. Mellons short line railroad stimulated an economic boom in Ligonier Valley and propelled it into the 20th century.
Legendary Locals of Latrobe
Located at the base of the rolling hills of the Laurel Highlands, Latrobe is best known as the birthplace of childrens television pioneer Fred Rogers and golf legend Arnold Palmer. It is the home of Rolling Rock Beer, Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, and St. Vincent College. Latrobe has also been recognized for many famous firsts, like the first banana split, first all-professional football team, first Benedictine monastery in the United States, first nonstop airmail pickup, and first female nuclear scientist at Westinghouse Electric Company. It is a community of individuals who collectively exemplify the strong, hardworking culture of Western Pennsylvaniapeople like Oliver Barnes, a railroad engineer and Latrobes founder; Philip Mowry McKenna, innovator in the machining of steel and father of Kennametal tools; Joseph E. Greubel, who transformed his familys ice creamcentered dairy stores into the thriving Valley Dairy Restaurants; Dr. Sara Carr McComb, a legendary librarian; and Robert Mendler, a Holocaust survivor who spent his life educating young people to respect one other. Legendary Locals of Latrobe celebrates these and nearly 200 other noteworthy figures and groups who have shaped and continue to shape the community.
Hidden History of the Laurel Highlands
History lies almost forgotten among the low mountains and quaint towns of Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands. Tales of Titanic survivors, brilliant inventors and forgotten heroes are all a part of the region's dim past. Since the 1790s, the highlands have been home to a booming glass industry that spun out early windows and flasks and, later, beautifully cut pieces of art. The wonder of the World's Fair of 1893 was none other than Westmoreland's H.C. Frick Coke Co.'s replica of a modern mine. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, lush fields and meadows produced the country's finest whiskey, Monongahela Rye. Author Cassandra Vivian travels off the beaten path to explore the hidden history of the Laurel Highlands.