Aaron Burr and the Two Logan Inns

Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.

Did he then hide out at the Logan Inn, mere blocks from present-day downtown New Kensington? Here in the land of Sheetz and the Black & Gold?

Or, did he flee to a different Logan Inn, in present day Flyers & Eagles Country?

Here is the link to Mrs. Luella Rodgers Frazier’s “The Early Years of New Kensington, Pennsylvania.” Halfway through this history, Frazier wrote that Alexander Logan owned the land that became Parnassus.

Frazier wrote that Aaron Burr stopped at Logan’s property “for a few days” after he dueled Alexander Hamilton. Per Frazier, “the Logans did not know about the duel and did not recognize Mr. Burr.”

As Frazier noted, Burr proceeded (by way of Pittsburgh) to Blennerhasset Island in the Ohio River.

Harman Blennerhasset owned the island and he allowed Burr, General James Wilkinson, and others to store men and supplies on the island in their  bid to create a new nation in the southwest.

Burr’s accusers arrested Burr in Alabama. They chained him. (This, during a time when men chained their slaves. During a time when Burr’s own son-in-law owned a plantation.) The accusers brought Burr to Virginia in these chains. They tried him for treason.

Burr won his freedom by acquittal.

This follows the history and lore of Aaron Burr.

History buffs know about the Logan family’s prominence here. I even added to this blog post the photo that Jonathan took of the former Logan Trust Company in downtown New Kensington.

However, ANOTHER Logan Inn on the opposite side of PA – along Ferry Street in New Hope – also claims that THEY hosted Burr after the duel. The OTHER Logan Inn markets itself with Aaron Burr lore.

Perhaps Aaron Burr did in fact shelter at two Logan Inns, on opposite sides of the state. Perhaps both ends of the Pennsylvania Turnpike own this story.

What do you think?

Here’s my post from my other blog about the novel My Theodosia by Anya Seton. 

Help Me to Find Rinehart’s Circular Staircase

Mary Roberts Rinehart grew up on Pittsburgh’s North Side. She wrote her first novel, The Circular Staircase, in the North Side house pictured at the top of this blog post. (MRR’s old neighborhood now markets itself as Allegheny West and it sits behind Heinz Field.)

(My father-in-law, Dennis Woytek, took this photo when we toured this house on the Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour several years ago.)

Now, here’s the thing:  I don’t positively know which house actually inspired The Circular Staircase. This novel takes place at a summer home in the countryside.

Now, I have a copy of History of Old Alleghney Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, From Prehistoric Times to c. 1876 by Rev. Reid W. Stewart, Ph.D., self-published in 2005. Stewart claims that this house which inspired The Circular Staircase “stood toward the southern end of River Forest Golf Course in Allegheny Township.” (This is near Freeport, PA.)

Stewart claims that Duncan Karns built this mansion in the 1870’s but that he lost his fortune in oil speculation. Finally, he claims that Mary Roberts Rinehart visited the house before it burned down.

The First “Roller Coaster” of Mauch Chunk

Have you ever heard of Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania?

Well, then. Have you ever heard of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania?

In the 1950’s, the officials of Mauch Chunk renamed their borough “Jim Thorpe” after Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe. That whole story deserves its  own blog post. (Or its own blog.)

The humans cognizant in the 1820’s still spoke of this Lehigh Valley town as “Mauch Chunk.” Many earned their livings from the coal mined above this town. In the 1820’s, they built the Switchback Gravity Railroad from these coal mines.

The railroad used gravity to transport the coal down the mountain, past Mauch Chunk. This “railroad” used mules to haul the empty coal cars back up the mountain.

Eventually the railroad offered rides to tourists on this gravity railroad. This inspired the first roller coaster at Coney Island.

If you want to read about Mauch Chunk ghosts, check out this post that I wrote on my other blog:

They Saw the Bloody Handprint – and Orbs

Here is a blog post that my sister wrote:

5 Reasons To Visit The Jim Thorpe This Halloween Season (or anytime)

Pittsburgh Sunrise

Good morning!  Here’s the sunrise view from the window closest to my desk at my job in downtown Pittsburgh.

So, many years ago, a woman from my employer’s Manhattan office came to visit my co-workers here in our Pittsburgh office.

(I shall henceforth call her “the Manhattanite” even though she may live in Jersey, for all that I know.)

The Manhattanite looked out of our office’s windows onto downtown Pittsburgh.

( Maybe the Manhattanite looked out of this very window.)

The Manhattanite said, “My, my, my. That’s a regular little city out there!”

Why, yes, it is.

Do outsiders ever damn a place that you love with faint praise?

Overview: 2013 WPF In Your Write Mind Workshop at Seton Hill University

Stained glass windows. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. Digital Humanities.
Stained glass windows. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA. (Photo: Jonathan Woytek)

Note: This is a redux from my prior blog, www.jennyandjonathangetmarried.com.

I attended the In Your Write Mind Workshop sponsored by Writing Popular Fiction Alumni at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, held June 27-30, 2013. This is my perspective as an outsider both to Seton Hill and its “Writing Popular Fiction” program.

My General Background with Seton Hill

Neither Jonathan nor I have ever attended Seton Hill.

Seton Hill first became coeducational in 2002. My Aunt Sue commuted to Seton Hill to earn her undergraduate degree when the school was still all-female, and she worked at the Seton Hill Daycare briefly.

In Your Write Mind

Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA was advertised on a billboard near my house.

I discovered that the program had inspired  the anthology Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller. The contributors all have connections to the Seton Hill program. To quote Michael A. Arnzen on page 11, “Many Genres, One Craft is like a graduate writing program housed between the covers of a book.” I paid Amazon about 20 bucks for my copy of Many Genres, One Craft. Guess who just saved thousands of dollars towards a new retaining wall for her yard? I jest. I liked the book so much that I kept going back to the Writing Popular Fiction website.

A few weeks ago, I found the link for the four-day In Your Write Mind Workshop.

I didn’t know anybody who planned to attend In Your Write Mind, nor did I know anybody who had ever enrolled in the Writing Popular Fiction program.

In regards to the workshop itself, I didn’t pick any of the sessions that required one to bring extra copies of the first five pages of a current project. I didn’t sign up for any of the Individual Agent Pitch and Critique Sessions. However, I attended 17 different 50-minute sessions over the course of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. A choice of two different topics were offered for each time slot.  (I skipped Sunday because were only three modules on Sunday, and even though they were all on topics for which I have an interest, I needed a day to rest up and do laundry clean write this blog entry.) I participated in the discussions.  Everybody that I spoke to was excessively friendly. I met other conference attendees who were not alum of the Writing Popular Fiction program either. To my surprise, much of the fiction used as examples in the presentations were books that I had read, or else I had at least seen the movie or read other work by the same author.

Many of the sessions were from contributors of Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular FictionSince I own and read this anthology, I felt as if I already knew the writers on some level. On Saturday, I saw one attendee have each of these authors sign his copy of Many Genres, One Craft. I wish that I had thought to bring my own copy of the book so that I could do likewise. In my opinion, all of the presenters were excellent,

One of my favorite articles in Many Genres, One Craft was “Tomorrow’s Kiss: The Duality of SF Romance” by Heidi Ruby Miller.  For this reason, I chose to attend a session titled “Thirty-Minute Novel” that she was to present. To my delight, Ms. Miller announced at the beginning of her presentation that the title had changed to “Tomorrow’s Kiss,” and she read excerpts from that piece. (I don’t even read much Science Fiction or Romance, and I have not yet tried to write either of these genres.)

As an outsider who is not considering an MFA but who still intends to work on developing her own craft, I would consider attending the workshop next year. I have several pages of notes on my insights and ideas. I enjoyed interacting with multiple authors and hearing stories about the business and lifestyle of their craft.

Update I found the below-linked video for Michael Arnzen’s lecture titled “Wet Cement: Risk and Transgression in Writing Fiction.” Dr. Arnzen was one of the special guests at the workshop and this is a video of the presentation that he gave there on that Sunday. This was one of the events that I wanted to attend but missed because I stayed home and rested on Sunday. Last night I happily watched this:

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