Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xvi

This book tells the story of Pennsylvania farming through its historic barns, farmhouses, outbuildings, and landscape features. I hope that the perspective offered here will help nonspecialists see the rural landscape in new ways. In these pages readers can learn not just how to identify specific building types or landscape features, but also how to decipher the stories the countryside tells about Pennsylvania’s farming past. ...

Part I: Beginnings

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Chapter 1. Colonial Pennsylvania Farming and the Atlantic World

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pp. 3-18

The story of farming in Pennsylvania properly begins in prehistoric time. Many millions of years ago layers of sediment accumulated under a vast, shallow sea gently sloshing between immense land masses. The sediments slowly turned to rock over many millennia through various dynamic slow-motion processes. ...

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Chapter 2. Transformations in the New Republic, circa 1780–1830

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pp. 19-36

Monro probably embellished her new life for the benefit of her audience back in New England; but even if we assume a little hyperbole her letter provides a striking portrait of a productive farm in a place that not long before had been heavily forested and even subject to competing claims by Pennsylvania and Connecticut. ...

Part II: The Era of Regionalism, circa 1830–1910

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Chapter 3. Pennsylvania’s Farming Regions Evolve

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pp. 39-48

The Pennsylvania agricultural landscape during the republic’s early years (at least if judged by modern-day sensibilities) was rather jumbled and inconsistent. No discernible agricultural regions had yet crystallized. In the recently settled interior small log houses, crude outbuildings and tiny clearings lent a homogeneity to farming lands whether they were in central Pennsylvania or along the Ohio border. ...

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Chapter 4. Farm and City in Southeastern Pennsylvania, circa 1830–1910

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pp. 49-61

Today when we think of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties, we tend to visualize heavy traffic, vast suburban tracts, and acres of shopping malls and parking lots—certainly not bucolic scenes of dairy cows knee deep in pasture. But in the nineteenth century these were predominantly farming counties; in 1910 about 90 percent of the land in Bucks was still in farming. ...

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Chapter 5. Transformations on the Lancaster Plain: The Rise of America’s “Banner County”

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pp. 62-78

Lancaster County is one of the best-known farming places in the United States today. At its heart is the Lancaster Plain, a belt about twenty miles across at its widest point and extending nearly forty miles east to west across the northern two-thirds of Lancaster County. (The county’s hilly southern portion, “Solanco,” belongs more properly with the southeastern Pennsylvania farming region.) ...

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Chapter 6. A Different Rhythm: York and Adams Counties

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pp. 79-94

While Lancaster County and southeastern Pennsylvania were diverging, another agricultural region was developing just westward in neighboring York and Adams Counties. These two adjoining counties form a long southern border with Maryland. Although they lie directly across the river from Lancaster County, they evolved in a different direction agriculturally speaking. ...

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Chapter 7. Landlords and Tenants in the Ridge and Valley Region

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pp. 95-111

In July 1857, in Brush Valley, Centre County, a weary tenant farmer named Samuel Gramly was facing a long walk home. So he rejoiced when his landlord came along in a spring wagon, and “as he had no load, he, very kindly invited me and Br. Elias Stover to go along.” The incident would be unremarkable except that Samuel’s landlord was his own father. ...

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Chapter 8. The Susquehanna Lowlands: A Little Bit of Everything

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pp. 112-123

Geographers often peg the Susquehanna Lowlands region as a “section” of the larger Ridge and Valley Province. What makes it worth treating on its own is the way it is defined by topography and river system working together. The Susquehanna enters from the north in two branches (North and West), emerges from the anthracite coal country and the Allegheny Plateau, respectively ...

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Chapter 9. Grassland Farming in the Northern Tier

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pp. 124-140

A few months after peace was made at Appomattox a young Union Army veteran from Austinville, Bradford County, bought a farm. Edwin Benedict became a landowner on September 26, 1865. He recorded the momentous event in his diary: ...

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Chapter 10. Northwestern Pennsylvania: “A Hard Soil and a Fickle Climate”

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pp. 141-152

Three important factors shaped farming in Pennsylvania’s northwest. One was geographic location. Cut off from the east by the Allegheny Plateau, the region was initially isolated from the rest of the state. Once rail and road connections improved, simple distance from markets continued to shape farmers’ choices. A second factor was the way settlement occurred. ...

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Chapter 11. Southwestern Pennsylvania: Riding a Wool Wave

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pp. 153-165

Today a visitor to rural southwestern Pennsylvania is likely to be struck by how the Marcellus shale gas extraction is transforming the rural landscape. Heavy equipment rumbles along country byways; new roads reach far back into the hills; tall rigs light up the night sky, their eerie glow visible from miles away. It takes imaginative effort to travel back more than a century and think of the sound that would have greeted ...

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Chapter 12. Farms, Mines, and Industry on the Allegheny Mountain Plateau

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pp. 166-182

In 1877 the J. A. Caldwell Company published a Historical Combination Atlas of Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Collectibles today, these large-format books graced many a parlor table in the nineteenth century. Atlas publishers like Caldwell would send out canvassers to drum up support through advertisements and private subscriptions. ...

Part III: The Diverse Landscapes of Modernization, circa 1910–1965

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Chapter 13. Modernization Comes to the Pennsylvania Farm

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pp. 185-192

Sometime between 1905 and 1910 the number of farms in Pennsylvania peaked. Then it began a sustained decline. In the early twentieth century the losses were dramatic enough, but after 1945 they accelerated still more, not slowing until around 1970. The United States Census changed its definition of a farm several times and switched to a sampling method from all-inclusive surveys during these years, ...

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Chapter 14. Cows and Chickens: Statewide Trends toward Dairy and Poultry Production

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pp. 193-215

The expansion of fluid milk dairying was the single biggest story for twentieth-century Pennsylvania agriculture. In the late nineteenth century, cows’ milk had come to be lauded as “nature’s perfect food” for human infants and children. As we have seen, the earliest shift to fluid milk in Pennsylvania occurred in the southeast, driven by proximity to Philadelphia. ...

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Chapter 15. Persistent Localism: Local Marketing and Farm Household Self-Provisioning, circa 1910–1965

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pp. 216-227

In the preceding chapter I showed how Pennsylvania farming became more specialized, mechanized, and capitalized. That is demonstrably true. However, when we look at where Pennsylvania farm goods ended up, we find that Pennsylvania farming families still operated within a system that was essentially local. A good many Pennsylvania farm productions went toward market sale but only indirectly; ...

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Chapter 16. Potatoes in Dutch Country: Lehigh County, circa 1910–1960

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pp. 228-240

In September 1913 the Kutztown (Berks County) Patriot ran a story with the headline “Berks and Lehigh Farmers in Potato Belt Harvesting Crop Exceeding One Million Bushels.” It described a “great potato belt” that “extends from Albany, Berks County, to Best station, Lehigh county [sic], a distance of about 18 miles.” The article went on to note that along the Berks and Lehigh Railroad ...

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Chapter 17. Potter County, Unlikely Stop on the “Florida Itinerary”

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pp. 241-254

Two hundred miles to the northwest lies another potato region, where Lehigh County potato growers often procured their certified seed stock. The Potter County potato region could hardly have been more different. Potter County occupies a sleepy border location along the New York State line. Trees are the big landscape story here—logging reduced the thick original forests substantially until about 1920, ...

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Chapter 18. Provisioning Tourists: Farming in the Pocono Region, circa 1865–1960

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pp. 255-268

Well to the east of Potter County was another region where agriculture flourished briefly in an unlikely, rugged setting. Most Pennsylvanians today would not ordinarily pair the words “Poconos” and “farming.” Vacations, honeymoons, camping, auto racing, hunting, fishing, skiing, swimming, canoe excursions, and nowadays gambling—all these are more likely to come to mind. ...

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Chapter 19. The Lake Erie Fruit and Vegetable Belt

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pp. 269-282

Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie shore region boasts some of the most arresting agricultural landscapes in the state. Vast, rigidly linear rows of grapevines (figure 19.1) cover the lakeshore border in crisp, rectangular blocks. From the gentle slopes above the lake, striking views juxtapose vineyards (and the occasional orchard) against the expanse of open water and blue sky in the distance. ...

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Chapter 20. Apples in Adams: The Rise of the Adams County Fruit Belt, 1875–1960

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pp. 283-298

Today’s Adams County apple belt (figure 20.1) is one of the state’s most lovely and distinctive regions. Each seasonal progression presents dramatic differences in its orderly orchard ranks. In spring thousands of white and pink blossoms stand out against blue sky and white clouds; in summer the trees fill out with rich greenery and budding fruits; in fall the heavy colorful fruit causes limbs to bend; ...

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Chapter 21. Mushroom Country: How a Fungus Became Pennsylvania’s Top “Vegetable”

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pp. 299-313

If you have eaten mushrooms recently, the chances are good that they were produced in Pennsylvania. Not only does Pennsylvania rank first in the country for mushrooms (producing 70 percent of the United States crop) but indeed, in some census years a fungus—not a tuber or even a plant—claimed the top spot as the state’s number one "vegetable crop." ...

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Chapter 22. Amish Farming Landscapes

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pp. 314-332

It may surprise some readers that a chapter on the Amish comes so late in the book. After all, Amish and Mennonite (“Plain Sect”) immigrants first came to Pennsylvania early in the eighteenth century and today these groups are associated with archaic practices that seem to reach far back into the past. Especially to tourists the Amish are often synonymous with Pennsylvania agriculture. ...

Part IV: Pennsylvania Farming in the Late Twentieth Century

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Chapter 23. Swimming with the Agricultural Mainstream: Pennsylvania Farm Landscapes since 1960

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pp. 335-354

We have seen that up to about 1900 Pennsylvania farming was highly diversified, with characteristic crop and livestock mixes in different regions of the state. Not only did agricultural patterns vary from one part of the state to another, but most individual farming households pursued a diverse set of strategies, relying exclusively on no single product. ...

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Chapter 24. Alternative Voices

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pp. 355-365

Well before modernization and food-system integration were consolidated, indeed even a generation before Silent Spring, a few dissenters voiced concerns about the direction in which agriculture was headed. Before the First World War the Haber-Bosch process paved the way for mass-produced synthetic fertilizer, and arsenic-based insecticides were already being heavily used. As early as the 1920s, the Austrian thinker, ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 366-372

What sort of future can we contemplate for Pennsylvania farming? Does the past hold any clues? How will the landscape change?
Consistent with recent historical patterns, there is no shortage of threats to Pennsylvania farming today. Competition from various quarters still puts a great deal of pressure on Pennsylvania farmers, and probably will continue to do so. ...

Notes

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pp. 373-408

Bibliography

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pp. 409-450

Index

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pp. 451-456