Sunday, June 28, 2009

Positively PIttsburgh Live, Stuff to Do, Historic Sites

This show was recorded on 6-1-2009 as a series on Pittsburgh Stuff to Do, first in the series, Historic Sites. Archived version can be heard at:

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
"Take a Ride into the Past"
Open Daily through Labor Day
Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
1 Museum Road
Washington, PA 15301
Phone: (724) 228-9256
Fax Number: (724) 228-9675
(you’re here, so, you knew that!)

* Pennsylvania Trolley Museum -

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum Mission Statement

The mission of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is to communicate the story of Pennsylvania's Trolley Era to a diverse audience through the preservation, interpretation, and use of its collection of electric railway and railroad equipment, associated artifacts and photo/document archives, and to ensure that its visitors have an enjoyable and rewarding educational experience.
History of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum started out as the dream of a few people in the early 1940s when streetcars began to be replaced by buses and automobiles. The Museum has evolved over the past 50 years from a handful of volunteers and a few trolleys to approximately 600 members and 50 railway vehicles preserved at its museum in Washington, PA. It is unique in that visitors actually experience the Trolley Era first-hand by riding the Museum's beautifully restored streetcars for a scenic four-mile ride into the past.

The Museum’s beginnings go back to 1946 when the Pittsburgh Electric Railway Club was organized. Between 1949 and 1953 three cars were acquired for the collection and the group searched for a suitable location to preserve and operate them. In late 1953 the group formally organized as a nonprofit corporation and purchased a 2,000-foot section of the Pittsburgh Railways Company's Washington interurban trolley line near Washington's County Home in Chartiers Township. On February 7, 1954 these three cars were moved under their own power from Pittsburgh to the Museum's new home. During the next nine years museum volunteers constructed storage tracks and a carbarn to protect the trolley cars, and set up a diesel generator to provide the 600 volts DC power necessary to operate the cars. Its corporate name became Pennsylvania Railway Museum Association, Inc. to reflect its being a museum.

The Museum opened to the public in June of 1963 using the trade name Arden Trolley Museum (named for nearby village), and provided visitors with short demonstration trolley rides plus an informal tour of the carbarn. Two years later an eighty-foot 1923 railroad baggage/passenger car was acquired and turned into a gift shop/museum area. A restoration shop was built in 1975 to provide additional indoor storage for the trolley collection and an area for trolley car restoration, and in 1988 a restoration parts storeroom was added to the building. The Museum's Visitor Education Center was added and opened to the public in November 1993. It allows the public to begin their visit in a pleasant, climate-controlled area housing exhibits, restrooms, a theater and a gift shop. Between 1979 and 1995 the Museum's volunteers extended its operating trolley line up the scenic Arden Valley along the right of way of an abandoned coal mine railroad spur. The Museum completed this one-mile segment of track with the opening of a trolley turning loop in August of 1995. During 1998 the Museum's trolley display car house was completely renovated to provide an improved display area for its streetcars based upon recommendations from an IMLS Conservation Assessment Program report done a few years earlier.

Woodville Plantation | 1375 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017-2821 | 412-221-0348

Woodville, locally known as the Neville House, is the oldest house museum open for tours in Allegheny County and is one of only 10 National Historic Landmarks in the County.

The house was built in 1775 by John Neville for his son Presley, and was originally part of a 10,000 acre estate that covered much of the area in the South Hills that today includes Scott Twp. , Mt Lebanon, Carnegie, Heidlberg, Collier Twp, and Bridgeville. (Only 2 1/2 acres are preserved of that original property)

John and Presley Neville were the wealthiest men in Western Pa in the 1780's and 1790's. In addition to Woodville, John Neville owned a country house on the property known as Bower Hill ( originally located about 3/4 mile away from Woodville) This house was burned by local farmers in July of 1794 during the "Whiskey Rebellion"

Both John and Presley Neville owned town houses Pittsburgh as well. John Neville built his third and final resdence on Montours Island (Neville Island) in 1799 following the burning of his Bower Hill house.

Woodville was occupied by three families in 200 years- Neville (1775-1815) , Cowan (1815-1835), and Wrenshall (1835-1975)

Woodville is interpreted through a Multigenerational Interpretation - presenting the house as it would have been seen from 1780-1820 and all of the architectural changes that occured throughout that period. As you tour the house, visitors will "travel through time" via interpreters and historic furnishings.

Woodville is owned and administered by the Neville House Associates (NHA). The NHA , along with Pittsburgh History and Landmarks (PHLF), saved the house from sale and demolition in 1975 following the death of the last owner of the house. PHLF owned the site from 1975-2007. During that time the programming and administration of the site was handled by the NHA. In 2007, the NHA took ownership of the site.

The NHA and Woodville are run entirely by volunteers.

The Colonial Dames of America, Western PA chapter, assist the NHA in aquisitions of historic furnishings and decorative arts matters. They have been involved with the site since 1975.

Woodville is Western PA's link to the late 18th century, promoting the history of the Federal Period of American History. This period (1780-1825) coincides with Pittsburgh's largest incremental period of population growth. Pittsburgh's population in 1790 was 390 people. This figure grows to 12,500 by 1830.

The NHA is also committed to presenting the history of the Whiskey Rebellion. (1791-1795)

Woodville presents over 2 dozen historic programs each year- including 18th century cooking demos, 18th century laundry demos, palnting and growing a garden using only period correct species of plants, raising an 18th century flock of poultry (Dominique Chickens), and recreating the regiment of soldiers that helped defend Bower Hill during the WHiskey Rebellion - Waynes Fourth SubLegion.

Also visit the website for additional material.
Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS
110 Federal Park Road
Gallitzin, PA 16641
(814) 886-6150

Megan O’ Malley

Talking Points –

Yesterday, May 31st was the 120th anniversary of the Johnstown Flood. We held a number of special programs and events, most notably the lighting of 2,209 luminaria to commemorate the flood victims.

This weekend marks the beginning of summer programs at Johnstown Flood NM. Starting June 7 and continuing through Aug 22, the program Journey Around Lake Conemaugh will be offered daily at 10 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM. This free van tour takes visitors around the ruins of the South Fork Dam and the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.

Summer programming has started at Allegheny Portage Railroad. Daily demonstrations of log hewing and stone cutting are offered daily. Tours of the historic Lemon House, an historic tavern along the route of the portage railroad are also available daily.

June 13 is the start of the program Evening on the Summit at Allegheny Portage Railroad. Programs are $2 and include theater productions, music and special historic presentations.
Johnstown Flood National Memorial
Johnstown Flood of 1889
There was no larger news story in the latter nineteenth century after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The story of the Johnstown Flood has everything to interest the modern mind: a wealthy resort, an intense storm, an unfortunate failure of a dam, the destruction of a working class city, and an inspiring relief effort.
Special Events
Every year, the luminaria serves as a moving tribute to the victims of the flood. More than 2,209 candles are lit on the ruins of the South Fork Dam and on the farm of Elias Unger, president of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.
The Johnstown Flood National Memorial has two trails that lead out to the remains of the South Fork Dam. One of the two trails takes you into the lakebed and down into the old remnants of the dam. There is an interpretive trail that points out various cultural resources and acts as a guide book and Junior Ranger Program for children visiting the park.
What To See
The Johnstown Flood National Memorial has many cultural resources within its boundary. The historic South Fork Fishing and Hunting Clubhouse, and cottages line Main Street in St. Michael, PA. The remnants of the South Fork Dam and the restored Unger House all are important in the story of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889. The park has a visitor center and a wonderful film entitled “Black Friday”.

Journey Around Lake Conemaugh - Travel through the Allegheny Mountains on a journey back to 1889 and the Great Johnstown Flood. This van tour begins at Johnstown Flood National Memorial and includes the Clubhouse of the South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club and the ruins of the South Fork Dam.
Tour is offered daily at 10 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM from June 7 to August 22.

Johnstown Flood National Memorial
733 Lake Road
South Fork, PA 15956
The Allegheny Portage Railroad
The Allegheny Portage Railroad was a great achievement in early travel. Charles Dickens, Jenny Linn, and Ulysses S. Grant traveled over the Allegheny Mountains. They braved a system that injured passengers on a weekly basis. A system of inclined planes and a nine hundred foot tunnel carved through solid rock by Welsh coalminers made this feat possible. For twenty years, it was the fastest way to transgress the rough and wild terrain of Pennsylvania.

Special Events
The Allegheny Portage Railroad offers many special events and tours. Come join us on a Ghost Tour of Staple Bend Tunnel. Sit down under the evening sky and take part in our Evening on the Summit Series. Watch park rangers cut stone and hew logs just as they did in the early 1800’s.

The Allegheny Portage Railroad has many trails and places to explore. Bring your bike and ride the 2.5-mile trail back to the historic Staple Bend Tunnel. Hike the old trace of the level sections of incline planes 10 through 6. Take a stroll down to the Skew Arch Bridge or relax and walk the Nature Trail.

Fort Necessity and Albert Gallatin’s Home
Mary Ellen Snyder
Acting Site Manager
Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services
Fort Necessity National Battlefield
Friendship Hill National Historic Site
One Washington Parkway
Farmington, PA 15437
MaryEllen Snyder is currently serving as the Acting Site Manager at Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Friendship Hill National Historical Site. She has been working in this position since November 2008. In this position she supervises 21 staff and manages both parks, with an annual visitation of over 125,000 visitors and 1500 acres. Her previous position was Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Service at both parks and had been in this position since July 2000.
The Gallatin House is open daily 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; the park grounds are open from sunrise to sunset.
The park’s ten miles of hiking trails offer woods, meadows and undeveloped river front environments to explore. The graves of Sophia Allegre (Gallatin’s first wife) and Thomas Clare (Gallatin’s friend & neighbor) are located along the trails. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center. Sturdy, comfortable shoes are highly recommended. A picnic area is also available during regular hours of operation.
Friendship Hill is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, mid-way between Uniontown, PA and Morgantown, WV on State Route 166, three miles north of Point Marion, PA. For more information call 724-725-9190 or write Friendship Hill NHS, 223 New Geneva Road, Point Marion, PA 15474.

AugustFort Area
Daily: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.
Join costumed park staff as they present the story of Fort Necessity from a soldier’s prospective. When staffing permits, an historic musket demonstration will follow the Soldier Life program
Saturday: 11:30 a.m., 1:30 & 3:30 p.m.
Following the Soldier Life program, the soldiers will demonstrate the use of swivel guns Washington brought on his campaign, anticipating an assault on the French Fort Duquesne.
Wed-Sat: 1:00 p.m. thru 3:30 p.m.
Meet a coureur de bois (French Canadian trapper) or trading partner to learn about the trade between European and American Indian cultures and the economic factors that led to conflict.

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