Welcome!

Jack Rabbit Trading PostHello! My name is Jennifer Sopko and I’m a Pittsburgh-based  writer with a love of history that permeates both my avocation and personal interests.  I believe it’s absolutely vital to document and preserve the past and I am always in search of a new story to tell.

I have worked as a professional writer and historian in western Pennsylvania for more than 11 years.   I am experienced in print and online magazine and newspaper writing and I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

I am the author of Ligonier Valley Vignettes: Tales from the Laurel Highlands, a series of historical vignettes about Pennsylvania’s Ligonier Valley that was published by The History Press.

Since 2003, I have written about the Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County and southwestern Pennsylvania for several regional publications. My current writing projects mainly focus on southwestern Pennsylvania history with goals of enlightening readers about forgotten and obscure regional history and reinterpreting connections between familiar topics.

You can find out more about my background and check out my writing samples and blog posts through this website.  Please contact me to discuss possible writing projects.

Happy History!

4 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. I came upon your book Ligonier Valley Vignettes at the local library and greatly enjoyed reading it. It reminded me of growing up in Latrobe in the 40s and 50s. I remember well Harry’s Danceland and working at the Latrobe Valley Dairy making skyscraper ice cream cones. As a grade school kid a big part of every Saturday was going to either Latrobe’s Manos, Grand or Olympic Theaters for 20 cents to see the afternoon double feature which we kids would sit through twice.This was followed by going through G C Murphy’s toy department playing with every toy. Also traveling the whole way to Ligonier and Nick Gallo’s or the Kingston Dam for swimming was a great treat. Or you could ride the single railroad car called the “dinkie” of the Ligonier Valley Railroad along the Loyalhanna Creek to Idlewild. Thinking back to those days I wish you would write a Latrobe Vignettes book. I think you would find a lot of people very interested in reading such a book.

    Wishing you the best in your writing,
    Jerry B

    • Hi Jerry! Thank you very much for your kind message! I am so glad you enjoyed my book and even more pleased that it sparked some memories for you. I would love to hear more about your growing up in this area. Do you still live in the area? An acquaintance of mine is writing a book on Latrobe locals I believe, but that’s a great idea for a Latrobe vignettes book! Thank you again for your wonderful message – it’s much appreciated! And feel free to share more memories! :-)

  2. Hello Jennifer:
    My interests in the area would be: Ligonier history, including the LVRR…..Stoystown history….Lincoln Highway between Stoystown and Ligonier….Item: Note of the rail car mentioned above….It was also called the “Doodlebug”……I have photos of both of them. I found them on the internet. I did not take them. But I watched it come in from Latrobe and drop off the {I believe it was}, The Latrobe Bulletin, in the late afternoon, when I was visiting there as a young person.
    Quentin Mong
    Muncie, In.

    • Thanks for your message Quentin! It’s nice to hear from yet another reader interested in Ligonier history! And the Lincoln Highway! Did you grow up in Pennsylvania originally ? Glad to hear you tracked down some pictures of a LGV Doodlebug! I didn’t know the railroad delivered the Latrobe Bulletin – very neat! :-)

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