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“It’ll Take an Army” Franco’s Italian Army Fifty Years Later

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Acorns for Dinner: Finding Food in Prehistoric Pennsylvania

  A walk in Squirrel Hill is always pleasant, but as I followed the sidewalk yesterday after a summer of ethnobotanical study, I looked at the plants growing along the street with fresh eyes. Take the oaks (Quercus), for instance, as prominent in this city neighborhood—where they sustain the squirrels that give it its name—as…

Vintage Base Ball Q&A with Adam Johnson

  “Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd…” Each summer, Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in scenic Avella, Pa., hosts an exciting afternoon of vintage “base ball” – originally written as two words – with talented teams from throughout the region. Spectators can bring their own chairs and a picnic…

The Wonders of Spring at Meadowcroft

  Spring is a wonderful time to be at Meadowcroft. So far this year, we have observed a variety of nesting birds: ravens, bluebirds, red-shouldered hawks, and red-tailed hawks. We have been amused by red fox kits wrestling and wandering further and further from the den. We have been amazed by the discipline and persistence…

Women in Trade and Manufacturing

  Sarah Kizina on her first day working in Meadowcroft’s blacksmith shop. Dewayne Curry, the primary smith at Meadowcroft, is teaching. Nothing quite strains our nostalgic vision of times past than a woman working hammer to anvil. While not common, history is peppered with examples of women working in metallurgy. Prior to the Industrial Revolution,…

Meadowcroft’s Winter Work

  Rehabilitation and maintenance of our historic structures is a high priority during the off-season. Here the school is getting its new roof and chimney in 2018. Meadowcroft’s October Fall Finale program marks the last full weekend of our general public season, but we continue to welcome field trips until mid-November. As we approach the…

Cross Creek Cabin Construction

  Two carpenters marking the notches for the next log to be put onto the Meadowcroft cabin. The European settlement of Cross Creek started in the early 1770s as families from the eastern parts of Maryland and Virginia began to move into the Ohio country. The primary goal of these early settlers was to clear…

Plant Life at Meadowcroft

  Oriental Bittersweet Invasive plants can be native or non-native, spreading fast and labeled as noxious weeds from mostly disturbed ground. Native plants are indigenous to North America with specific geographical and climatic rules for survival. Non-native plants were brought here from other regions and became invasive or noxious, causing depleted water sources and lessened…

How Do We Know People Used the Meadowcroft Rockshelter 19,000 Years Ago?

  This article will also appear in the Fall 2019 issue of Western Pennsylvania History magazine. The Meadowcroft Rockshelter is a world-renowned archaeological site and a National Historic Landmark. It is an ideal campsite protected by a sandstone ledge high above Cross Creek.  Prehistoric people camped there at least 19,000 years ago! But how do…

The Riot of Cliftonville

  Saledka Mine of Cliftonville after the Battle. A&M 2139, Lee Collection, courtesy of the West Virginia and Regional History Collection, West Virginia University Libraries. The area that was once the small mining village of Cliftonville, W.Va., sits about four miles from Avella, Pa., just across the state’s western border. Today, if you could reach…

Apples on the 18th-Century Frontier

  The planting of cultivated varieties of apples was part of the continuous effort of those living on the frontier to improve their farms and provide food for their families. One of the common apple varieties available in the 18th century was the Newtown Pippin. It was reportedly developed in the late 17th or early…