Kennett Classic: A Vintage Computer Museum

• Series: Attractions of Pennsylvania • Tags: history of computingmuseumsKennett Square • Places: Kennett Square

The Donner 3500 analog computer from 1959, used for analyzing audio spectra
The Donner 3500 analog computer from 1959, used for analyzing audio spectra

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is a town best known for mushrooms. South of the town center, there are numerous mushroom farms, which lovingly spread a distinct aroma of the manure used as fertilizer.

The less aromatic town center of Kennett Square has many amenities, such as giftshops, books stores, and so forth. To my surprise, it also has a shop and museum dedicated to the history of computing, which opened in January of this year.

Its full name is "Kennett Classic – Vintage Computing Gallery and Giftshop." It's free to visit, and home to a lot of really cool, historically valuable devices.

During my visit, co-founder Bill Dengan was more than happy to chat about the collection and visitors' interest in computing more broadly. He was also more than happy to demo any of the computers, including an Atari 2600, on which a young visitor enjoyed a game of Frogger.

As Bill explained, the gallery highlighted the growth of personal computing, from Korean War-era technology, to developments that enabled computers to enter people's homes, and become something more usable and desirable.

Mount Davis: Pennsylvania's Highest Point

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Attractions of Pennsylvania • Tags: high pointsMt. Davis Natural AreaForbes State ForestWestern Pennsylvania • Places: Mt. Davis

Mt. Davis

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of visiting Mount Davis, Pennsylvania with a couple of Pittsburgh-based friends of mine.

Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania, but you wouldn't know that if you stood there and didn't take a close look at its commemorative plaques. Surrounded by forest, the high point offers no sweeping vistas.

Even driving to the summit doesn't feel particularly special. Nearby towns are already at 2,000 feet, so ascending an extra 1,200 feet by car isn't all that particularly dramatic. (Mount Davis is part of a longer ridgeline which extends south into Maryland where it is very unfortunately-named Negro Mountain, which state legislators have failed at renaming.)

All is not for naught, though. Mount Davis High Point is home to a parking lot, a set of relatively short hiking trails, and some commemorative plaques.

Most importantly, it is home to an observation tower, which provides an expansive view of the surroundings.

Mt. Davis

James Buchanan's Birthplace

✍️ 🕑 • Series: Attractions of Pennsylvania • Tags: State/Provincial ParksU.S. PoliticsAmerican History • Places: James Buchanan Birthplace State Park

The pyramid, as cinema-worthy as I can photograph it.

In the early days of November 2020, we were all subjected to a multi-day anxiety attack. Votes trickled in, but no one knew what would happen. We held our breath as states slowly changed color, and news anchors told us it was too close to call.

And then, rather unexpectedly, on Saturday November 7th -- four days after Tuesday's vote, Pennsylvania was officially called as a blue state. Joe Biden officially became the 46th President-elect of the United States.

The bar for Biden is rather low.

I cannot imagine that it will be challenging to be less divisive, and more responsible, respectful, and professional than Donald Trump.

I also cannot imagine that Biden will not be regarded as the best Pennsylvania-born president in history.

Up until now, there has only been one President whose birthplace was Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately for my home state, and for the nation, that man was James Buchanan.

I visited James Buchanan Birthplace State Park on Saturday. I will discuss the man and the place in this post.