Synopses & Reviews
The history of Pennsylvania and its people is the history of American ingenuity and progress: a colony established on the principles of political and religious freedom; the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; a center of industrial innovation; and a rich melting pot of peoples and cultures throughout the centuries. From the horse-and-buggies of Pennsylvania Dutch Country to the glass-and-steel skyscrapers of Philadelphia, and from the lush Delaware and Susquehanna River Valleys to the peaks of the Allegheny Mountains, Pennsylvania’s character unfolds in a rich tapestry of people and places.
Pennsylvania Yesterday & Today explores the myriad experiences and landscapes that have defined the Keystone State through four centuries. Author/photographer Blair Seitz brings together historical photographs and illustrations with current color images to reveal the connections between our past and our present: the changes and the continuity of our architecture, the evolving natural landscape, the transformation of cities and towns through good times and bad, and the vocational and recreational pursuits of our citizens.
We encounter the area’s first residents—Native American tribes and early European settlers—and relive the emergence of a young nation with visits to numerous historic sites. Landmarks in the nation’s fight for independence (Valley Forge) and its fight to preserve the union (Gettysburg) are brought to life in historical illustrations and in photos of modern-day re-enactments. The resurgence of once-vital centers of commerce and industry—Reading and Allentown, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, Altoona and Lock Haven, Pittsburgh and Erie—the state’s diverse cultural and religious heritage—the Moravians of Bethlehem, the Amish and Mennonites of Lancaster County—and the customs and events enjoyed by millions of Pennsylvanians are on display in lavish imagery and detailed description.
Historical images set alongside modern photographs conjure Pennsylvania as it was and as it is today, from the birthplace of the Constitution to monuments of industrial might.
The state of Pennsylvania has endured many changes since William Penn established a colony in the New World nearly four centuries ago—but much of the life and spirit of yesterday is alive and well in Pennsylvania today. Fertile farmland still fills the state’s rolling hills and valleys; cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh remain at the forefront of industry and politics; and the lush forests of “Penn’s Woods” are still havens for wildlife and nature-lovers alike.
From early colonial settlements along the Delaware River to Pennsylvania’s modern metropolises, scenes of American innovation and culture can be found in every corner of the Keystone State. Pennsylvania Yesterday & Today takes you on a visual tour of these sights and experiences, allowing you to explore the Pennsylvania that our ancestors knew centuries ago as well as the Pennsylvania of the twenty-first century.
In Pennsylvania Yesterday & Today, author Blair Seitz presents the people, places, and activities that have defined the state through the ages. Modern color photographs are displayed side by side with historical illustrations to offer a nostalgic look at how far we have come over the last four hundred years—and how little some things have changed.
Blair Seitz's essays and photos have been published widely in such publications as the New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, the Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Traveler, and Endless Vacations. He is the photographer of more than 20 books, including Philadelphia and its Countryside, Pennsylvania Tapestry: Views from the Air, Pennsylvania’s Natural Beauty, and Amish Ways. Blair lives in the outskirts of Philadelphia.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments and Credits
Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia
Philadelphia City Hall
The Liberty Bell
Ben Franklin and His Legacy
Richard Allen and the A.M.E. Church
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Kimmel Center
The Mummers Parade
South Philly’s Italian Market
30th Street Station
Philadelphia-Area Colleges and Universities
County Seats and Suburban Sprawl
Farming and Agriculture
The Farm Show and County Fairs
Harrisburg and its Market Square
The State Capitol: A “Palace of Art”
Susquehanna River Bridges
Wright’s Ferry Mansion
Millersburg and its Ferry
Anthracite Coal Mining
The Labor Movement
Little League World Series
State Parks and Forests
Horseback Riding and Horse Racing
Railroads in Pennsylvania
The Johnstown Flood
Mount Washington Tavern and the National Road
Allegheny National Forest
Oil in the Keystone State
Erie and Great Lakes Shipping
Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines
The Carnegie Museums
University of Pittsburgh
Index About the Author