Glencairn was built by Raymond Pitcairn, “self-taught cathedral architect” (as his New York Times obituary described him) and heir to the massive empire created by his father, John, the founder of PPG industries.
After completing construction of the Bryn Athyn Cathedral of the The New Church, Pitcairn turned to building himself a new house. Located north of Philadelphia (the Philly skyline can be seen from the top of the mansion’s seven-story tower), it was designed by Pitcairn and constructed between 1928 and 1939, while Pitcairn was simultaneously fighting against Roosevelt’s New Deal. Glencairn is built in the Romanesque style out of hand-cut stone and concrete. It contains 90 rooms, including 17 bedrooms, a chapel, and the expansive living room, decorated with both actual Medieval-era items and modern recreations built by artisans in the same style.
In December, the city of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hosts the Christkindlmarkt, a large outdoor craft fair. More interesting are the rusting structures at the former Bethlehem Steel Plant, where the market is located. After the company went bankrupt around the turn of the century, the factory complex was transformed, and is now home to a casino, the SteelStacks arts and culture center, a museum, and more.
These photos were taken from the Hoover-Mason Trestle, an elevated walkway that runs alongside the furnaces and other industrial buildings.
Nonexistent or weakly enforced laws in Philadelphia have led to historic graves being destroyed by construction. Hastily organized rescue excavations have salvaged some of these human remains, but others have been destroyed, or are threatened by future development projects. In an attempt to reduce the damage to historic cemeteries, archaeologists in the city have produced an interactive map showing where unmarked gravesites and burial yards were located. They caution, however, that the map does not show all historic burial locations, and that even if a historic cemetery is documented to have been relocated at some time in the past, many human remains are likely still present in the original location. Read more about the issues that led to the creation of this map at the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum.
The stone blast furnaces in a park just outside of downtown Scranton are an imposing reminder of this Pennsylvania city’s early industrial history. George and Selden Scranton had owned an iron furnace in northern New Jersey before moving to Pennsylvania. In 1840, they and their partners built an iron furnace in Slocum Hollow on the Roaring Brook. Their enterprise, later renamed the Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company, grew to become one of the largest producers of iron in the United States. At the turn of the twentieth century, however, the company moved its operations to New York. The mills and other buildings were demolished, leaving only the four blast furnaces behind.
This 2015 post on This Week in Pennsylvania Archaeology is about zooarchaeology and includes new photos of animal bones and cut marks from the famous Eschelman Site in Lancaster County, which was the subject of one of the earliest systematic analyses of bone modification marks on an American faunal assemblage.
Guilday, John E., Paul W. Parmalee and Donald P. Tanner
1962 Aboriginal Butchering Techniques at the Eschelman Site (36LA12), Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 32(2):59-83.
Beef, Beer and Bread: Colonial Foodways
The annual New Sweden History Conference, held at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, will focus on food this year. From the website:
Five speakers will discuss various aspects of culinary history—from the kitchens of Stockholm to the brew houses of Philadelphia. The keynote speaker is author, chef, and Swedish food historian Dr. Ulrica Söderlind. Dr. Söderlind holds a PhD from the University of Stockholm. She has written five books on topics such as, the role of food in Swedish social history, and the culinary history of the Nobel Banquet. Her conference session will focus on the cooking practices of a 17th century Swedish noble household. Additional speakers include David Furlow, who will be discussing the significance of cattle as an important part of New Sweden’s economy; Rich Wagner will lead an engaging discussion on the intricacies of colonial beer brewing. In the spirit of this year’s theme, a special lunch will be served featuring colonial recipes and, of course, beer.
The conference is Saturday, November 8, 2014. Registration is $45 and includes breakfast and lunch. For more information: www.americanswedish.org