Harrisburg, PA – Richard L. Thornburgh, Pennsylvania governor during the Three Mile Island crisis; the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the oldest appellate court in North America; Keith Haring, the internationally recognized and socially engaged Pop artist; Piper Aircraft, manufacturer of the J-3 Cubs and World War II L-4 Grasshoppers; and Ford Station Underground Railroad, operated by Erie's first freedwoman Emma Howell and her escaped husband James Ford are among the subjects of the 37 new Pennsylvania Historical Markers approved by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC).
The new markers, selected from 91 applications, will be added to the more than 2,500 familiar blue signs with gold lettering along roads throughout Pennsylvania.
Since 1946 PHMC’s Historical Markers have chronicled the people, places and events that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries. The signs feature subjects such as Native Americans and early settlers, government and politics, athletes, entertainers, artists, struggles for freedom and equality, factories and businesses, and a multitude of other noteworthy topics.
More information on the Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program is available online at www.PAHistoricalMarkers.com.
Pennsylvanians continue to have great interest in the Historical Marker Program, and last year the number of marker nominations submitted nearly doubled. PHMC is committed to ensuring that any markers approved can be manufactured and installed prior to considering new nominations.
The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Learn more by visiting PHMC online or following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639
The following is a list of the newly approved Pennsylvania Historical Markers with the name of the marker, its location, and a brief description:
Allan P. Jaffe (1935–1987), Pottsville, Schuylkill County
An internationally renowned musician and entrepreneur, Jaffe is credited with revitalizing early American jazz. He was born in Pottsville and received his musical education there before attending Valley Forge Military Academy and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1961, he established Preservation Hall in New Orleans, LA, and played sousaphone for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Allentown State Hospital (1912–2010), Allentown, Lehigh County
It was Pennsylvania’s first state hospital to treat mental illness through homeopathy. Dr. Solomon C. Fuller, among the first African American psychiatrists, served as a consulting pathologist at the hospital. In 1930 the Children’s Institute, one of the first of its kind, opened under the direction of Dr. Henry Klopp. In 1999 ASH became the first state hospital to end the use of patient seclusion, gaining international importance for its Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams.
Battle of Edge Hill, Abington Township, Montgomery County
On December 7, 1777, it was the final major engagement prior to the Valley Forge encampment. Gen. Sir William Howe marched British and Hessian forces from Philadelphia to strike entrenched Continental troops on the surrounding Edge Hill Heights. The Continentals used "hit and run" tactics that deluded British officers into thinking they were retreating, causing Howe to withdraw his soldiers back to the city.
Bob Babbitt (1937–2012), Pittsburgh. Allegheny County
Musicians Hall of Fame inductee Babbitt is best known for his bass guitar work with the legendary Motown session musicians, the Funk Brothers, and the group of studio musicians based in Philadelphia at Sigma Sound Studios and Philadelphia International Records, MFSB. Babbitt appeared on more than 200 top 40 records and was a three-time Grammy Award winner.
Caroline Burnhman Kilgore (1838–1909), Springfield Township, Delaware County
Kilgore was the first woman admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania. In 1883 she was the first woman to practice in a Pennsylvania court in the Orphans' Courts and later became the fourth woman to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. She fought for 16 years to become a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and was an active suffragist.
Charles "Teenie" Harris (1908–1998), Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
Harris was a photojournalist who extensively chronicled Pittsburgh’s Black community and the jazz and cultural scene through his photography studio and four-decade career with the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the nation’s most influential Black newspapers.
Charles Brockden Brown (1771–1810), Philadelphia
Brown was an influential early American novelist, editor and historian. Born into a Philadelphia Quaker family, his novels are all set in or around Philadelphia and are the first literary descriptions of the city’s yellow fever plagues of the 1790s and Pennsylvania frontier violence against the Lenape. Brown’s tales of madness, social injustice, and mercantile deceit were a major inspiration for later Philadelphia gothic writers like George Lippard and Edgar Allan Poe. Brown supported the abolition of slavery, and in 1798 he published a defense of women’s equality.
Dr. Chevalier Jackson (1865–1958), Schwenksville Borough, Montgomery County
Born in Pittsburgh in 1865, Jackson graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1886. During his career, he became an expert in laryngology, bronchology, and the removal of accidentally swallowed objects, saving thousands of lives through his innovative procedures. He lobbied Congress to pass the Federal Caustic Poison Act of 1927, requiring warning labels for poisonous products.
Edward Lee Morgan (1938–1972), Philadelphia
Lee Morgan was a jazz trumpeter, composer and activist. While a student at Jules E. Mastbaum Area Vocational Technical High School in Philadelphia, he attended workshops and jam sessions at Music City. He joined the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and later collaborated with John Coltrane and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He went on to become a major figure in the hardbop subgenre of the 1960s and recorded one of Blue Note Records’ best-selling albums, The Sidewinder.
Edward Piszek (1916–2004), Springfield Township, Montgomery County
Piszek, cofounder of Mrs. Paul's Kitchens, was a pioneer businessman and innovator in producing and marketing frozen "heat-and-eat" convenience seafoods. A strong advocate of Polish American heritage, his philanthropic efforts supported the establishment of the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Philadelphia and a major antituberculosis campaign in Poland in the late 1960s.
First All-Minority Lineup in Major League Baseball, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
On September 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10–7 in Three Rivers Stadium. Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh started nine African American and Latino players in the game. This marked the first time an all-minority lineup took the field in Major League Baseball history.
Ford Station Underground Railroad, Erie, Erie County
Erie was a significant stopping point along the Underground Railroad for enslaved people escaping to Canada and was unique in that it was operated by Erie's first freedwoman, Emma Howell, and her husband James Ford, who escaped enslavement. The station was established in 1811 and operated until 1836.
Frances Tipton Hunter (1896–1957), Williamsport, Lycoming County
An American illustrator of the mid-20th century, Hunter contributed 18 covers to The Saturday Evening Post and was published in Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and others. A proficient watercolorist, skillful at depicting children in art, she was also a popular calendar, paper doll and puzzle artist.
Francis Daniel Pastorius (1651–1720), Philadelphia
Pastorius was a German-born educator, lawyer, poet and public official, who was the founder of Germantown, the first permanent German American settlement in America. In 1688 he drafted the first protest against slavery in America. He served in town office on several occasions.
Haines Shoe House, Hellam Township, York County
The Shoe House was built in 1948 along the iconic Lincoln Highway, the nation's first improved road for automobiles from New York City to San Francisco. The building is an exceptional example of programmatic architecture and was designed by York architect Frederick Rempp. The shoe-shaped structure was built by self-made millionaire Mahlon N. Haines, the “Shoe Wizard,” to advertise his shoe business in York.
Hakim's Bookstore, Philadelphia
Founded in the 1950s, Hakim's Bookstore represents a center for Black activism, advocating the power of knowledge in the fight for racial justice. Since the 1960s, people have gathered here to access titles by Black authors. During the Civil Rights Movement it served as an alternative education center for the Black community.
Highlands, Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County
The Highlands is a late-Georgian-style country estate commissioned by wealthy Quaker lawyer and politician Anthony Morris. The property was recently transferred from PHMC to a local organization.
Hillary Koprowski, M.D. (1916–2013), Philadelphia
Koprowski was a Polish American virologist, immunologist and director of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, 1957–1991. A pioneer in the use of monoclonal antibodies, he developed the rabies vaccine and an early polio vaccine. His work is recognized by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and domestic and foreign medical organizations.
Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia
Holy Trinity Catholic Church was the first parish church in the United States established specifically to serve a national group, and became the prototype of this movement to provide a parish that recognized native language and customs. It was built in 1789 to serve Philadelphia's German Catholic community, which accounted for more than half the Catholic population of Philadelphia and PA.
John G. Johnson (1841–1917), Philadelphia
Hailed as "America's Greatest Lawyer," Johnson practiced law from 1862 to 1884 and represented U.S. Steel, Standard Oil, DuPont, JP Morgan and other corporations. He donated his personal art collection to the City of Philadelphia, which became one of the founding collections for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Keith Allen Haring (1958–1990), Kutztown, Berks County
Raised in Kutztown, Haring was an internationally recognized artist known for his contributions to Pop art as well as his socially engaged works that addressed the AIDS epidemic and public health, racism, homophobia and environmentalism. He believed in the power of art to promote inclusivity, address social issues, and promote a healthy democracy.
Lewis Robert "Hack" Wilson (1900–1948), Ellwood City, Lawrence
Hack Wilson was born in Ellwood City and was one of baseball's greatest power hitters in the 1920s and 1930s. He played for the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.
Local 8, Industrial Workers of the World, Philadelphia
From 1913 to 1923, Local 8 of the Industrial Workers of the World represented dockworkers in Philadelphia’s bustling port. Led by Philadelphia-born Ben Fletcher, Local 8 was among the country’s most powerful, Black-led, multiracial organizations, whose membership included African Americans, Irish Americans and European immigrants. Local 8 fought for racial and ethnic equality on the docks and better working conditions, doubled workers' pay, and ended the “shape-up” as a hiring process on the dock.
Major Andrew Gardner Happer (1839–1915), Washington, Washington County
Happer accompanied Gov. Andrew Gregg Curtin on Lincoln's funeral train through Pennsylvania and served as a judge for the Fishing Creek Confederacy trial. He was a civic leader and businessman in Washington County.
Marshalls Creek Explosion, Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe
On June 26, 1964, the Marshalls Creek Fire Company responded to a tractor-trailer fire, which exploded shortly after their arrival, killing six people, including three firefighters, and injuring 13. It was later discovered that the trailer contained explosives and had no identifying placards. This incident contributed to the enactment of the Transportation Safety Act of 1974 and stricter regulations regarding the transport of hazardous materials.
Mount Pleasant, Philadelphia
Mount Pleasant was built between 1762 and 1765 and is recognized as one of the finest examples of Georgian-style architecture. Under its first owner, John Macpherson, a privateer, the estate was a plantation where enslaved African Americans worked.
PA Logging Railroad, Heath Township, Jefferson County
One of the earliest logging locomotive railroads in Pennsylvania, it was built by the Wright & Pier Company in 1864 on the west branch of Callen Run in Jefferson County. This and other major innovations in early logging railroads significantly contributed to the expansion of the timber industry across the commonwealth.
Piper Aircraft, Lock Haven, Clinton County
William T. Piper Sr. moved his light airplane company from Bradford to Lock Haven in 1937. J-3 Cubs, Piper's most recognizable and popular planes, were constructed here. Thousands of L-4 Grasshoppers, modified Cubs, served with distinction in Europe and Asia during the Second World War. At its peak, Piper employed more than 2,000 people and accounted for almost 50 percent of Clinton County's economic output. The Lock Haven plant closed in 1984.
President Pumping Engine (1872–1900), Upper Saucon Township, Lehigh County
The massive engine attracted worldwide interest as the largest and most powerful single-cylinder rotative steam engine ever constructed. Said to be named for President Ulysses. S. Grant, the engine lowered the water level in the Friedensville zinc mines so that mining could continue. Lehigh Zinc Company’s Cornish-born engineer, John West, designed the engine and pumps, which were manufactured in Philadelphia foundries.
Richard L. Thornburgh (1932–2020), Rosslyn Farms Borough, Allegheny County
Dick Thornburgh was the 41st governor of Pennsylvania and 76th attorney general of the United States. As governor, he oversaw emergency response efforts during the Three Mile Island nuclear accident weeks after his inauguration in 1979. As attorney general, he played a leading role in the enactment of the Americans with Disability Act as well as the investigations in the Pan Am Flight 102 bombing, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Rodney King beating. He served in the U.S. Department of Justice under five presidents.
Rosedale Banishment, Johnstown, Cambria County
In 1923 Johnstown mayor Joseph Cauffiel banished 2,000 African Americans and Mexicans who had lived in the city for less than seven years after a Black man killed four police officers. They were forced out at gunpoint and threat of imprisonment. It became an international scandal, forcing Gov. Gifford Pinchot to launch an investigation. The event was part of similar deportations occurring in other cities during the Great Migration period.
Samuel V. Merrick (1801–1870), Philadelphia
Merrick was a notable industrialist in the early years of the Industrial Revolution. He built the Southwark Foundry in Philadelphia, cofounded the Franklin Institute, and was the first president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, 1847–1849.
Sheep Rock Shelter Archaeological Site, Penn Township, Huntingdon County
Beneath Lake Raystown lies the Sheep Rock Shelter archaeological site. Excavations in the late 1960s by archaeologists from the Pennsylvania State University and Juniata College revealed evidence and artifacts representing one of the longest periods of successive and continuous Native American occupation. Evidence traces major changes in Native life from small mobile groups exploiting wild plants and animals for food and shelter to later farmers living in nearby villages and hamlets.
Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden, Baden Borough, Beaver County
Founded in Ebensburg in 1869, the congregation relocated their motherhouse to Baden in 1901. Known for their efforts in human relations and civics education, they became the first western Pennsylvania Catholic sisters to minister in a foreign country—China in 1926. The sisters have served in education, healthcare, social service, social justice and other ministries in Pennsylvania, 32 other states, and five other nations.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Created by William Penn in 1684 and operating independently since 1722, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in Pennsylvania and the oldest appellate court in North America.
The Trial of Hester Vaughn, Philadelphia
The case of Hester Vaughn set a legal precedent in allowing women a right to a jury of one's peers, foreshadowing suffrage and a woman's right to fully participate in the justice system. Hester Vaughn, accused of infanticide, was sentenced by an all-male jury but was later pardoned after the efforts of Susan B. Anthony and the Workingwoman's Association.
Women of Idenlea, Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County
The first woman physician in Pennsylvania, Dr. Hannah E. Longshore, her sister and successful early woman physician Dr. Jane V. Myers, and her daughter, prominent women’s advocate Lucretia Mott Longshore Blankenburg lived at the Idenlea estate in Philadelphia. These women were most notable for their leadership in advancing the causes of women’s rights and suffrage, women in medicine, abolition of slavery, and civic and municipal reform in Philadelphia.