Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Friday, July 1, 2011
Four flags were flying at the main intersection of Millbrook Village. They include a Massachusetts (yellow) "Don't Tread on Me" flag, a Liberty flag, a U.S. Army flag and the 13-star American flag.

Flags and bunting turned Millbrook Village's old houses into a colorful panorama as the village celebrated Independence Day. Millbrook is part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

On a corner, a set of four flags includes the yellow Don't Tread on Me flag of Massachusetts, a blue Liberty flag, a United States Army flag and the 13-star United States flag.

Sue Grove, who is with the National Park Service, said the celebration is like a 19th century event when Independence Day was a big deal in small towns.

Saturday, June 25, 2011
At the Visitor Center at Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Farmington, Pennsylvania, the story is told how a young George Washington led a regiment of Virginia frontiersmen into a skirmish with French troops that escalated into the French and Indian War.

In the rural southwestern corner of Pennsylvania, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, but much closer to the Maryland and West Virginia borders, is a site where George Washington surrendered, started the first world war, and sowed the seeds of the American Revolution.

Friday, June 24, 2011
Town named for teen

Before the 1850s, Eckley wasn't a mining town, but a rural, forested community called Shingletown. It was located on land owned by the Tench Coxe Estate. The inhabitants took advantage of the surrounding woodlands and made shingles to be sold in White Haven and Hazleton. The goods were traded for the necessities, such as "whiskey, port, and tobacco."

Friday, June 24, 2011
Bob Vybrenner, Tamaqua, and Mary Theresa Belusko, Eckley, volunteer in support of Eckley Miners Village, a living museum operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Eckley almost ceased to exist two years ago at the age of 155.

But just like the miners who defined the town's existence, Eckley has re-emerged.

It's a town that refuses to give up.

"It needs to be here," says George Keifer, part-time employee of Eckley Miners' Village. "It needs to remain because of everything it stands for."

Eckley is an anthracite coal mining patch town located in Luzerne County, just 20 miles north of Tamaqua, Jim Thorpe and Lehighton. Since 1970, it has been owned and operated as a museum by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Saturday, June 18, 2011
Travel companion Layla and I visit the Three Pagodas at Dali built in the Tang Dynasty about 1,200 years ago.

(This the final part of a series of articles about Taylor's recent trip to south China's Yunnan Province. More photos appear at


Standing amid a sea of yellow wheat, the tall golden grains waving ever so gently in the wind, I was just about as out of place as you could get. Wearing jeans and a fake black North Face jacket, I stood out from the Chinese workers in their iconic saucer-shaped field hats and torn pants.

Friday, June 17, 2011
Rob Evans holds up a charred brick from a pile located at the H. A. Weldy Powder Mill. The charring suggests that the bricks were part of a smokestack or oven.

Explorer Rob Evans makes his way through brush, ferns and trees covering an abandoned 21-acre industrial complex.

Like Indiana Jones, Evans watches every step, prepared for the unexpected.

"It's not too overgrown. I've seen worse," notes Evans, an Auburn resident and former employee of Atlas Powder Company.

The lush, moist woods carry a sweet smell, along with the low roar of the rushing Little Schuylkill River as it rolls along its rocky course. But there's an invisible demon - the woods are filled with dangerous ticks.

Friday, June 10, 2011
A late 1800s lithograph depicts the Weldy plant, with the Tamaqua Tunnel visible far right.

Coal, railroad and iron turned Tamaqua into a bustling small city in the late 1800s, but it was explosives that created a boom town.

Explosives for mining and industry, plus gunpowder for war, helped one local man build an empire

With the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, there is renewed interest in rediscovering one of the town's first great industries - H. A. Weldy Powder Works of Tamaqua.

According to an early publication by J. H. Beers & Co., Henry A. Weldy was born Sept. 13, 1831, and spent his early life at Reading, Berks Co.

Friday, June 3, 2011
Kids can't resist fresh baked chocolate chip cookies

If you travel along an old country road in Kunkletown, it's not unusual to pass by a barn now and then. But there's one old dairy barn that no longer gives shelter to some of God's four-legged creatures. Instead, it offers shelter to some of God's children who have doubts, fears, questions about life and their own place in this world. It is a sanctuary for many each Thursday night.

It is known simply as The Barn.

It is a ministry to youth that began as a dream of a young couple many years ago.

Saturday, May 28, 2011
BRANDON TAYLOR/TIMES NEWS Dai residents gather for a re-enactment of a water splashing festival, usually held every April during the Dai's New Year celebrations In Dai culture, water symbolizes purity or the ability to wash away the past and start anew. Splashing water is a gesture of goodwill toward one's family, friends, neighbors or anyone who happens to get in the way of a water-filled bowl.

(Editor's Note: This is the first column in a four-part series on Taylor's recent trip to south China's Yunnan province.)

Yunnan, one of China's southernmost provinces, means "south of the clouds." It's a name fit for fairy tales and other childhood stories, one that hints at hiding something behind its cloudy veil. The name couldn't be more spot on.

Friday, May 27, 2011
Curator Ed Pany of the Atlas Cement Museum

When the Atlas Portland Cement Company closed in 1982 Ed Pany went to homes, churches and newspapers to get the names of 2,376 people who worked at the plant. It was to remember these people that he started the cement museum in the municipal building of Northampton Borough. The names were placed on stainless steel plaques in the lobby.

Five cement companies remain in the area but all are foreign-owned: Keystone, LaFarge, Heidelberg, Essoc and Hercules.