Pennsylvania

Water Street Train Station, Connellsville, PA. photo credit: Phill Provance
Water Street Train Station, Connellsville, PA. photo credit: Phill Provance

“Though I was technically born in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania, my hometown is Connellsville, one of many sleepy hamlets nestled in the Laurel Ridge spur of the Appalachian Mountains. I took this photo of the town’s recently updated Water Street train station from the overlook in front of my property on N. Arch Street, and the lush blues and grays, the fog and the Romantic dreariness of the town’s industrial-era brick structures and prefab Sears & Roebuck houses, as well as the train station itself, have long made this one of my favorite images. Connellsville, after all, is best known for two things: first, since the early 1800s, when it broke with the county seat in Uniontown and instigated the Pittsburgh-Connellsville Rail Corporation, the town has served as the site of the first major train depot west of the Alleghenies on one of two eastern lines that eventually feed into the Transcontinental Railroad; and, second, Connellsville is more known for its famous sons and daughters who have left, such as Las Vegas founder, senator and railroad magnate William Clark, than for those who have stayed. As a poet and non-fiction writer, my views on place are complicated by having lived many places since high school, but though I rarely write about my hometown as a setting, I hope my work is never devoid of the northern Appalachian drawl and hard-bitten attitude of the descendants of coal miners and coke cookers I grew up around.” – Phill Provance

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Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Pennsylvania

"Philadelphia Fire Hydrant" by Kwanesum, public domain
Philadelphia Fire Hydrant” by Kwanesum, public domain

“Playing in the fire-hydrants was the most awesomely funnest thing I ever did as a kid. To me it represents how a poor high-crime urban neighborhood can be a great place for a kid to grow up. I’d just walk out my door and there’d be 20 other kids to play with. Unlike kids in suburbia today who have to be driven to soccer practice by their helicopter parents in order to socialize with other children. Hell, we didn’t even have soccer balls. But we played stick ball (using a broom handle and whatever we had for a ball. Parked cars in the street would be designated as bases). And we played BuckBuck. Seriously. What an awesome game! I think it was born in Philly. Maybe you’ve never heard of it. Bill Cosby did a reeeeeally funny bit on it. (He’s from Philly). One team forms a human bridge and the other team takes turns running and jumping onto the bridge trying to make them collapse. Ok, so it’s a little violent but hey, we were kids and kids have a violent streak in them. We would also play a game where we’d see how many people we could squish into a phone booth or an alley or small stairwell. But I think that was more about trying to keep warm in winter.” – Kate Krause

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Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Pennsylvania

photo credit: Harvey Freedenberg
photo credit: Harvey Freedenberg

“This was taken at the end of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in September 2015. This beautiful river is not always so placid, as I experienced in the catastrophic flood of June 1972.” – Harvey Freedenberg

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Header image: map of Northeast Houston in 1922, courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.