When we opened a container that was temporarily housing two Valley & Ridge Salamanders we discovered they appeared to be tied up in knots. After documenting them and recording their features for a research study they were returned to their hillside homes.
The Valley & Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani) is found in our park system and in various places of appropriate habitat in Indiana County.
Jacob Sweitzer was an artist from the Armagh area who lived from 1848 to 1947. Sweitzer's primitive artwork features many scenes of the area around Armagh and the Conemaugh River. He often painted on the backs of Shredded Wheat boxes and used local plants and berries to make his own paint.
The above photo is reportedly a painting of the Buena Vista Furnace. We write reportedly Buena Vista because there are several features of the painting that do not match the appearance of Buena Vista: the arch on the front of the furnace is shaped differently and the color of the Buena Vista Furnace is a grey limestone, not the brown sandstone color as depicted.
The photo of the painting was taken by Bruce Siskawicz of the Tribune Review. The furnace is located along the present-day Ghost Town Trail.
An article about Jacob Sweitzer appears in the Tribune Review at this link:
Entering Smicksburg from the south on Route 954 you will note this large marker at the Smicksburg Cemetery. This is the grave of John B. McCormick, one of Indiana County's most accomplished citizens. McCormick was an inventor who perfected the turbine and if you look closely you will see that the monument has an etching of a turbine on it. Mr. McCormick's patent for an improved turbine was used world-wide. He also was an accomplished musician who wrote music and taught 'singing schools' throughout the region.