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Past PA

From Three Mile Island to the Chocolate King, learn the inside, sometimes unknown stories behind key events and people in Pennsylvania history. New episodes feature the near-miss disaster at Three Mile Island, the complicated legacy of Milton Hershey & key figures in Pennsylvania’s fight for abolition. And don’t miss our episodes on the Whiskey Rebellion, an unlikely hero at the Battle of Gettysburg, the Johnstown Flood of 1889 and a favorite Pennsylvania ghost story.

Past PA illuminates the history of Pennsylvania. It will bring a deeper understanding of important events that people have likely heard of but might not know very much about, and help people learn new stories about well-known events.

Many of the events and individuals throughout the Commonwealth’s history have important lessons to teach us today.

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Historic images of figures from Pennsylvania's history of opposing slavery.

Abolition: Pennsylvania’s Fight Against Slavery

The movement to abolish slavery had many Pennsylvania roots. Learn about key figures like John Brown and Absalom Jones.

6/5/24 | 9m 41s


An image of Milton Hershey in a suit.

Milton Hershey: Unwrapping the Chocolate King

There is perhaps no more instantly recognizable candy on the planet than the famous Hershey Kiss. Learn the story of Milton Hershey's life and legacies.

6/5/24 | 9m 35s


Staff at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in hazmat gear.

Three Mile Island: Near-Miss Nuclear Disaster

Learn the truth behind Three Mile Island and how the nuclear incident and ensuing panic shaped the future of nuclear power.

6/5/24 | 11m 7s


The Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood of 1889 was one of the worst natural disasters in American history. What do the circumstances that caused the flood, and its recovery, teach us about the best and worst of human nature?

5/26/23 | 10m 56s


The White Lady of Wopsy

Everyone loves a good ghost story. The White Lady of Wopsy is a Pennsylvania version of the classic ghostly hitchhiker tale, with roots that may stem from a real tragedy.

5/17/23 | 8m 11s


John Burns, Hero of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg is one of the best-known engagements of the American Civil War. Learn what made resident John Burns an unlikely "Hero of Gettysburg."

5/17/23 | 7m 28s


The Whiskey Rebellion

The Whiskey Rebellion is often called the first major crisis for the newly founded United States. But what was this conflict, how did it involve whiskey, and what can we it teach us today?

5/17/23 | 7m 16s



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