Thaddeus Stevens: railroad developer

Besides being a masterful politician and unrivaled lawyer, Thaddeus Stevens was an enthusiastic promoter of railroads, pushing for two early railroads in Pennsylvania and then laying the legislative groundwork in the 1860s for the Transcontinental Railroad. Stevens’s first railroad venture was the Gettysburg Extension of the Pennsylvania Main Line, nicknamed the Tapeworm Railroad because its

Friends of Caledonia State Park needs more friends

The Friends of Caledonia State Park, the site of Thaddeus Stevens iron works, needs a lot of new friends. The group that supports the operation of the Caledonia State Park near Chambersburg is holding an open house on Saturday, May 18, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the park’s office at 101 Pine Grove Road,

Thaddeus Stevens Museum opens in Gettysburg

On April 4, something will happen that should have happened a long time ago — the grand opening of the first Thaddeus Stevens museum at 46 Chambersburg Street in Gettysburg, PA. The event from 5 to 7 p.m. will include music by noted musician Tom Jolin and the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner by Jesse

Thaddeus Stevens’s 14th Amendment again in the news

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution is one of the greatest achievements of the Reconstruction era and the essential person in its birth was Thaddeus Stevens, the most powerful congressman of his time. The amendment has been at the heart of many landmark court cases, including desegregation, same sex marriage, and reproductive rights. Now the

Thaddeus Stevens museum will open in Gettysburg

With the help of members and supporters, the Thaddeus Stevens Society has reached its goal of raising $28,000 for a new museum. The society has leased a storefront at 46 Chambersburg Street in downtown Gettysburg for the first Thaddeus Stevens museum.  The grand opening is planned for April 4, 2024, the 232nd birthday of Stevens

Why support the Thaddeus Stevens Society?

In his 1939 biography about Thaddeus Stevens, Alphonse B. Miller wrote this:  “It is an ironic commentary on fame that in so short a time as seventy years, Thaddeus Stevens has become little more than a name even to well-educated Americans. In his lifetime, which reached its climax during a major crisis in American affairs,

The wig of Thaddeus Stevens

Thaddeus Stevens had many distinctive traits, such as his cutting wit, his brilliant intellect and his dour countenance. But the thing that hit people first was his ill-fitting, chestnut colored wig. Stevens started wearing a wig in the late 1820s after an attack of “brain fever,” which was probably Typhoid, that rendered him hairless. The

Gettysburg needs a Thaddeus Stevens museum

The Thaddeus Stevens Society is launching a fundraising effort to create a Gettysburg museum for one of its most important historic personalities. To raise this money, the Society is participating in the Giving Spree, held by the Adams County Community Foundation, that will occur on November 9 at Gettysburg Middle School from 3 to 7

Thaddeus Stevens and the Christiana Resistance 

On September 11, 1851, an organized group near the small town of Christiana, PA, successfully fended off an effort by a Maryland slave owner to capture freedom seekers, killing the slaver in the process. The event, known as the Christiana Resistance or Riot, sparked a political firestorm that drew in Thaddeus Stevens. The event had

Gettsburg recognizes Thaddeus Steven’s accomplishments

Two new actions in the last week recognized the importance of Thaddeus Stevens to Gettysburg:  a Stevens display in the Gettysburg borough building and the installation of “Stevens Run” signs on Constitution Avenue. The newly arranged display is outside the mayor’s office in the borough building and consists of a bust of Stevens on a small oak table

Thaddeus Stevens and Gettysburg College

Thaddeus Stevens was one of the most important persons in Gettysburg College history, securing funding for the college’s first major building, providing land for its campus, and keeping it in Gettysburg when others wanted to move it in 1854. Gettysburg College, then called Pennsylvania College, was founded in 1832 by Samuel Simon Schmucker in the

Thaddeus Stevens versus James Buchanan

One of the great ironies of American history is that President James Buchanan, a defender of slavery, lived in the same city of Lancaster, PA, as Thaddeus Stevens, a relentless foe of the infernal institution. This stark contrast was highlighted in a new book, American Ramble: A Walk of Memory and Renewal, by Neil King, a

The financial genius of the Union cause

When the Civil War started in 1861, the United States was in horrible financial shape. The country was $100 million in debt, its main source of income — duties on imported goods — was significantly reduced with the departure of southern states, its banking system differed from state to state, and the paper currency was