History + Heritage
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There are many interesting historical sites to visit in Pittsburgh. The Fort Pitt Block House is the oldest authentic building in Western Pennsylvania and the last vestige of the British Empire, built in 1764 by Colonel Henry Bouquet of the British Army. Much of its original fabric is still intact and it is open and free to the public year-round as a historic landmark. Allegheny Cemetery is the sixth-oldest cemetery in the United States, dating to 1845. The land became Pittsburgh's first public park modeled after the fashionable romantic landscapes of English parks.
Step into the Victorian age at the Frick Art & Historical Center. Visitors can tour Clayton, the restored turn-of-the-century home of Pittsburgh coal magnate Henry Clay Frick. Located in the eastern neighborhood of Point Breeze, the Frick Art & Historical Center grounds include six acres of lawns and gardens, the Antique Car and Carriage Museum, a Greenhouse, The Cafe at the Frick and the Frick Art Museum. The historic St. Anthony's Chapel in Troy Hill, founded in 1883, houses a collection of more than 4,200 relics. The chapel is open to the public.
Take a ride up a 300-foot bluff in a century-old cable car to the top of Mt. Washington, where you'll see a magnificent view of Pittsburgh, named the "second best view in America" by USA Weekend. Ride the Duquesne and Monongahela Inclines, the only two remaining of 17 original funiculars. Utilizing two original 1877 cable cars, the Duquesne Incline is a working museum. The Upper Station on Grandview Avenue includes a new platform for the public to view the Incline's historic hoisting equipment, as well as displays regarding the history of the Incline and the City of Pittsburgh. The Monongahela Incline was built in 1870 and has transported millions of passengers. The incline opened up Mt. Washington to development, enabling people to live 600 feet above the city and still have easy access to factories and businesses along the river. The Monongahela Incline was declared a historic structure by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in 1970.
Tour an antique-filled mansion or enjoy free concert at Hartwood Acres. Hartwood is a 629-acre equestrian estate park which includes Hartwood Mansion. The mansion's 16th century architectural design affords both young and old opportunity to glimpse into a part of Pittsburgh's past. Guided tours are available as well as a variety of free concerts during the summer. Visit the birthplace of a world famous ecologist and author at the Rachel Carson Homestead. Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was an author, environmentalist and Pittsburgh native whose 1962 best-seller "Silent Spring" launched the modern environmental movement. Guided tours and special events are offered.
After a century of industrial prominence, Pittsburgh's steel industry finally collapsed with the closing of the last mill in 1984. The Rivers of Steel Heritage Area is dedicated to preserving this significant part of Pittsburgh's past. Located in the Bost Building, built in 1892 as a hotel for the rapidly growing worker's ward of Homestead, the site was at the center of American labor history's most dramatic episode—the Homestead Lockout and Strike. This National Historic Landmark was renovated in 2002 and includes an exhibit space dedicated to the American worker and a visitors' center. The Bulgarian-Macedonian Cultural Center is the country's national center for Bulgarian and Macedonian culture and education. It is the oldest Bulgarian-Macedonian organization in the United States. Built in 1935, its two-story brick headquarters building holds thousands of Bulgarian artifacts, the largest collection in the nation.
Relive history at Braddock's Grave. The land stands today as one of the richest in American history. It is where George Washington began the first true "world war" and fought his first battles. Here lie the remains of British Major-General Edward Braddock and countless artifacts of his grand army as well as traces of the first National Road, with its weigh stations, stagecoach stops and toll houses. Walk where soldiers once battled for freedom at Bushy Run Battlefield. The opening of western Pennsylvania to settlement was the result of a decisive victory over the Native Americans at the Battle of Bushy Run in 1763. Highlights of the site include an interpretive exhibit as well as guided and self-guided tours, special events and educational programs.
Fort Necessity is the site of the battle in the summer of 1754, the opening action of the French and Indian War. Talks, tours and historic weapons demonstrations are offered during the summer months. There are also trails that lead through the forest and meadows around Fort Necessity. Relive the stirring days of young Colonel George Washington, General John Forbes and the encounters of the British and Americans against the French and Indians at Fort Ligonier. The impressive Fort, finest of its type in North America, is a full-scale, on-site reconstruction of the 1758-1766 original. Living history activities and pageantry such as reenactments, battles, encampments, folk crafts and archeological digs enhance your experience. Visit the West Overton Museum, the only intact pre-civil war industrial village in Pennsylvania. Birthplace of Henry Clay Frick, the Museum includes the old Overholt Distillery and 20 buildings dating from 1803. A variety of events are offered from June through October.
Learn about a world that existed a century ago. Old Economy Village interprets the history of the Harmony Society, a highly successful 19th century religious communal society. The Village, a National Historic Landmark site, features guided tours and a variety of events for visitors. Get a rare glimpse inside a 16,000-year-old archaeological site and discover a 19th-century village at Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Museum of Rural Life. Experience how our ancestors lived by spinning wool from Merino sheep, dipping candles, celebrating an old-fashioned Independence Day in July, or participating in holiday taffy parties.