Oil and Gold: The Story of Two Booms Connected by One Highway

Oil and gold are two of America’s greatest wealth stores.  Individuals have become overnight millionaires and billionaires through the discovery of rich deposits of these precious resources.  They both helped to change the way America’s economic might was regarded.  Still, many don’t realize that two states on the eastern seaboard are where it all started, nor are many aware of the full stories behind these booms. Along the Appalachian mountains, US Highway 19 connects the sites of the first true booms in these respective commodities. Before the first black gold oozed from the ground in America, prospectors were aiming their … Continue reading Oil and Gold: The Story of Two Booms Connected by One Highway

A lesser known slice of Americana – Conyngham, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region

There are moments when you realize that an area you didn’t like living in as a child offers, upon further reflection, significant cultural and historic value.  As we go down the less-traveled paths of history, I would like to offer up a small burg named for a man who became famous in his own right. I am referring to my boyhood home of Conyngham, Pennsylvania. This tiny hamlet of 1,900 residents was named for Capt. Gustavus Conyngham, known for his exploits during the American Revolution when his privateer was the first to carry the American banner into the English Channel, … Continue reading A lesser known slice of Americana – Conyngham, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region

The Value of a History Education: Why the “Public History Wars” Endanger Our Nation’s Future

History has been a love of mine for as long as I can remember.  Since I was a boy growing up in northeast Pennsylvania, I enjoyed learning about things which happened years ago.  Granted, much of my history education has been of a “survey” variety, with the focus on a conventional approach to learning American and world histories.  As my education has progressed, my knowledge and understanding of American history has become far more complex and balanced, and I have also learned that with this sort of wisdom comes resistance from others.  My reading of an article by Roger D. … Continue reading The Value of a History Education: Why the “Public History Wars” Endanger Our Nation’s Future

Connecting A National Slavery Museum, Pedagogy, and Collegiate Educational Experiences

Appreciation of historic sites often requires a understanding of the stories which makes these locations significant.  While a trained historian is keen to examine items as mundane as a thousand year old piece of pottery, the layperson is more likely to become engaged at the daily lives of a prairie family in 19th century Kansas, or the life of a medicine man in ancient Peru.  Often, it is these stories which allows for the practice of teaching, or pedagogy, to offer itself not as a dry session of dates and facts, but means to engages the audience to think in … Continue reading Connecting A National Slavery Museum, Pedagogy, and Collegiate Educational Experiences

A Paradox of Preservation – The Confederate Battle Flag (Please read disclaimer first)

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  The material covered in this piece may offend some readers.  This material is presented strictly for academic purposes. Studying history requires overcoming both preconceived notions and unexpected challenges, such as those faced when preservation meets with political realities.  This became of particular interest to me after reading Michele V. Cloonan’s The Paradox of Preservation (Library Trends, Summer 2007), in  which Cloonan puts forth the argument of how preservation itself leads the inevitable question of whether something can, or even should, be preserved for posterity.  Cloonan’s paradoxical examples included such things as a wooly mammoth perfectly preserved in ice, … Continue reading A Paradox of Preservation – The Confederate Battle Flag (Please read disclaimer first)

Some errors and “epic fails” in the world of historic preservation

Originally posted on John's Head:
This week I was reading Antoinette J. Lee’s Historians As Managers of the Nation’s Cultural Heritage, and it got me to thinking about historic preservation and hindsight.  Upon some reflection, I’ve actually come to the realization that we, as a nation, missed some prime historic preservation opportunities in both noble and misguided ways. A view of the Orange Bowl in Miami Florida, the site of Super Bowl III when the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7 on 1/12/1969 in front of 75,377 fans in attendance. Super Bowl III – New York Jets vs Baltimore… Continue reading Some errors and “epic fails” in the world of historic preservation

Let’s go off the path

  History is more than just a collection of dates, names and places.  It’s an all-encompassing discipline which incorporates writing, science, mathematics, and the arts to paint a vivid portrait of our past so we can gain perspective.  While history may be cyclical as a result of the human condition, there is much we can learn from what has yet to be unearthed, or what perspectives have yet to be written or spoken of.  This website will be devoted to not just the art of studying history, but the art of understanding history and applying its lessons.  Everything from preservation efforts … Continue reading Let’s go off the path