Showing posts from January, 2018

Gobbler's Knob

One of Pennsylvania's best known traditions is the Groundhog Day ceremony at Gobbler's Knob, just outside of beautiful Punxsutawney. Every February 2 since 1887, thousands of people descend upon Gobbler's Knob well before sunrise in order to witness Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow or not and to make his bold prediction to the famed Inner Circle about whether or not there will be six more weeks of winter. I visited Gobbler's Knob to get a glimpse of the surroundings for myself, during a much quieter spring day. Because Punxsutawney Phil is the prognosticator of prognosticators, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania fashions itself as the Weather Capital of the World. Yes, I can believe it! The stage where Punxsutawney Phil makes his prediction every February 2. A close up of the stage. Punxsutawney Phil does not live in that tree stump. There is a home for the groundhog called Phil's Burrow , located in downtown Punxsutawney. There is a window from the outs

Kinzua Bridge State Park

Kinzua Bridge , or Kinzua Viaduct, was a rail viaduct in northwestern Pennsylvania. Completed in 1882, it was considered to be the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the world at the time of its completion. Partially destroyed by a tornado in 2003, this engineering marvel of a viaduct is now the centerpiece of the Kinzua Bridge State Park . I have some before and after photos of the viaduct to share. The first group of photos was taken by Bill Symons in August 1985, presenting a view of what the lay of the land was once like... Now for the photos after the destruction called by the tornado, with a foreword by John Krakoff (who took the "after" photos in August 2004): On July 21, 2003 an intense line of thunderstorms blew out of Ohio and when it moved in to PA, it became a "bow echo" and kept intensifying, until finally wrapping around and forming an "eye" on the radar screen. Meanwhile, the forward lin

PennDOT Road Sign Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pennsylvania

The PennDOT Road Sign Scultpture Garden in Meadville, Pennsylvania is a joint public art project between PennDOT and Allegheny College that began in 2002 to give a distinct look to Meadville's gateway from the west. Using recycled signs and tires, it is truly one of a kind. The sign garden is located at a Meadville PennDOT residency at US 6, US 19 and US 322's junction with PA 102, east of Interstate 79 and west of downtown Meadville. I've had a few occasions to check out the sign sculpture garden myself and I fully endorse recycling signs in this manner. It's a nice little stop to stretch your legs. I took the following pictures in September 2007. One of the first parts of the project, and what you'll notice first if you are coming from the west, is the Signs and Flowers part of the art exhibit. This is also next to where you would likely park your car if you wanted to stop and take a look around. It's a flower garden... of signs.

Starrucca Viaduct

Even older than the Tunkhannock Viaduct is the Starrucca Viaduct, built in 1848. Located in the far northeastern Pennsylvania borough of Lanesboro, this impressive bridge carried the New York and Erie Railroad over a valley as well as the Starrucca Creek and is currently the oldest stone arch railroad in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1) . An engineering marvel of its time, and even in today's world, the 1080 foot length, 100 foot height and 25 foot width (2) of the viaduct is simply spectacular. Using local materials such as Pennsylvania bluestone, the Starrucca Viaduct has stood the test of time.With a price estimated at $325,000 in 1848 dollars, the bridge was one of the largest and costliest stone arch railroad bridges built in America at its time (3) . However, the very material that made it expensive to build gave the Starrucca Viaduct much durability compared to other viaducts built in that era. I've happened to check out the Starrucca Viaduct on a


GRATZ - Founded in 1805. Named for Simon Gratz, an early settler.

Caledonia Furnace

Caledonia Furnace was an iron furnace with connections to political and military history. Located east of Chambersburg off of US 30, the Caledonia Furnace was owned by U.S. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, who opened the furnace in 1837 after settling in the Gettysburg area and named it after his birth county of Caledonia County, Vermont. As a lawyer who defended runaway slaves and a Congressman who was a war hawk who called for complete defeat of the Confederacy, Stevens was not liked by the Confederacy. When Confederate General Jubal Early was passing through the area on his way to the Gettysburg campaign, he demanded that the furnace be burned and destroyed as revenge for Stevens' authorization of confiscation and devastation of property in the South during the Civil War. The destruction of the furnace did not go over well with Confederate General Robert E. Lee when he passed through the area on July 1, 1863, that when he met with Stevens' business manager at the furnace, Lee