Then and Now: A 1918 Mask Comparison

The 1918 strain of influenza was unique among most types of flu, as it had a high mortality rate among 15 to 34-year-olds, rather than the oldest and weakest of the population. By the time what we now incorrectly call the “Spanish Flu” was over, it had even lowered the life expectancy across the United…

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Taste the History: Trying Out Historic Recipes

While everyone is at home I thought it would be cool to look at something a little different this week: a historic cookbook! Most of us have cookbooks laying around, and a lot of those are the ones put together by small organizations as a fundraiser you feel obligated to buy: Boy Scouts, church groups,…

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Bringing The Giant to Its Knees, A Brief History of the Giant’s Despair Hillclimb: Part II -The Golden Anniversary Brings About A Golden Age 1951 – 1985

In 1951 after being dormant for 35 years, Giant’s Despair was reborn. The revival of “The Giant” coincided with a post-war boom in auto racing interest throughout America. American G.I.s had spent the years after the war in England watching the small, two-seat sports cars so popular in Europe race around the dozens of now…

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The Badge of a Freemason – A Wilkes-Barre Masonic Apron

One of the most well-known Masonic symbols is the apron.  Freemasonry is a fraternal organization for men that teaches a system of ethics using symbols, rituals and ideas drawn from stonemasons’ regulations, Enlightenment philosophy and Judeo-Christian teachings.  The exact origins of Freemasonry are unknown.  At some point during the 1500s or 1600s in Scotland and…

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Threads of History – Swetland Family Samplers

In 1842, The Hand-Book of Needlework by Miss Lambert explained that “no feminine art affords greater scope for the display of taste and ingenuity than that of needlework.  The endless variety of form which it assumes…each in their turn serving as graceful occupations for the young, and an inexhaustible source of amusement for those in…

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Frances Dorrance and the Indian Survey – A Crusader for Local History

Rather archaically named, the Indian Survey was the first statewide archaeological survey in Pennsylvania, and was only made possible through the hard work of Frances Dorrance (1877-1973), the Luzerne County Historical Society’s first executive director.  In 1922, Christopher Wren, the corresponding secretary and librarian for the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society (WHGS) (now known as…

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Bringing The Giant to Its Knees: A Brief History of the Giant’s Despair Hillclimb – Part 1: The Birth of “The Giant,” 1906-1916

Certain parts of our culture are as old as time itself. Other things remain unchanged throughout the course of their lifetimes, creating a rich, deep tradition. Motorsports is one such activity. Although only dating back about 150 years or so, it has remained almost exactly the same throughout that time. The first car to cover…

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