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Blairsville

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Located in Southern Indiana County on the north shore of the Conemaugh River, Blairsville was settled in 1818 and incorporated in 1825.   James Campbell named the town after John Blair of Huntington .  Because of its location along the Conemaugh River, Blairsville has a storied manufacturing history, plate glass and lumber being two of the larger ones throughout its history.  Blairsville's population peaked at over 5,200 residents in 1930 but has since declined to just over 3,200. The Einstein Block Building -  Built in 1904, it was once an opera house. Blairsville was a key point in the Underground Railroad.  Here, many freedom-seeking slaves continued their journey northward towards Canada with the assistance of over 90 different 'conductors' within Indiana County.  The Blairsville Area Underground Railroad History Center is located at the site of the former Second Baptist Church.  From there, you can embark on a guided journey throughout Indiana County to numerous waypo

Mt. Vernon Iron Furnace

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The Mount Vernon Iron Furnance is a historical site just off of PA 982 in Fayette County.  The stone furnace was one of five built by Isaac Meason.  This particular furnace was built in 1795, reconstructed in 1801, and operated until 1830.  The furnace was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.  In 2003, the property around the furnace was acquired by the Bullskin Township Historical Society .   Since then the Historical Society has restored the furnace and improved the surroundings to include a waterwheel, casting shed, and interpretive signage.   Photo taken by post author - December 24, 2011. Further Reading: Mount Vernon Iron Furnace ---Bullskin Township Historical Society Iron Built Fayette County ---Paul Davis/Uniontown Public Library How To Get There:

Butler Walkabout

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(Editor's note: This feature was originally published on gribblenation.org on December 31, 2011. Feature moved and updated to Quintessential Pennsylvania.) Butler is a unique town of 15,000 located about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. It is the county seat of Butler County. The County Courthouse (shown below) was built in 1885 and is still in use today. One of the more unique buildings in Bulter is the Butler County Motor Company Ford Dealership .  The dealership's building was constructed in 1918 and has been owned and operated by the Cramer/Glasgow family since 1926. This is the first time I had seen an automotive dealer be housed in a multi-story building like this. The Butler County Motor Company (aka Butler County Ford) has been around since 1918 and was one of the first Ford automotive dealerships authorized by Henry Ford. Walking down Main Street in Butler - there are numerous great older buildings, storefronts, and ghost signs. One of the buildings that caught my eye at

Morris

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  MORRIS - Founded 1799. Named for Benjamin Wistar Morris, landowner and capitalist of Philadelphia. Benjamin Wistar Morris was also the founder of nearby Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. How to Get There: Sources and Links: Benjamin Wistar Morris - GENi

Marion

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  MARION - Founded 1748. Named for General Marion, a Revolutionary War general. Marion was first known as Independence, but by the time a post office was opened in this Franklin County village, the village was known as Marion. You can find Marion at the intersection of US 11 and PA 914, between Chambersburg and Greencastle. How to Get There: Sources and Links: I.H. McCauley (via Internet Archive) - Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania

Spring Run

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  SPRING RUN - Founded 1764. Named for a nearby mountain stream. Spring Run is located in Fannett Township in Franklin County. How To Get There:

Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN - Founded in 1800.  Westmoreland County town of about 300 residents named for the Young family which was one of the first to settle in the area. The more modern keystone replaced an original keystone town marker sometime between 2006 and 2011.  Fortunately, Jeff Kitsko was able to capture the original.  How To Get There:

Independence National Historical Park

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One of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia is Independence National Historical Park.  Celebrating both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Independence National Historical Park is home to Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and numerous other historic sites.   Independence Hall, where both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and signed, is the centerpiece of the park.  Built in 1753 as the Pennsylvania State House as part of the Colonial Capital, Independence Hall was home to the Second Continental Congress (Declaration of  Independence) and the Constitutional Convention.   Statue of George Washington in front of Independence Hall Tours of the building are free; however, the only way to see the interior is through a park guided tour.  The tour includes the Pennsylvania Assembly Hall which is where both the Declaration and the Constitution were signed. The Pennsylvania Assembly Hall where the Declaration of Independence was debat

Belle Vernon

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  BELLE VERNON- Founded 1813.  The town was laid out by Noah Speer - whose family the nearby town Speers is named after.  Belle Vernon - originally named "Bellevernon " is French for "Beautiful Green". Speer's son, Louis, would found and lay out the town of North Belle Vernon in 1872.  The neighboring town of Speers was laid out in 1860.

Irving Cliff

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Rising some 300 feet above historic downtown Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Irving Cliff at Gibbons Memorial Park in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. A view of the Lackawaxen River as it meets Dyberry Creek, historic buildings and even the Moosic Mountains in the far distance can be seen from the perch upon this ledge. A recent trip brought me through Honesdale, and upon looking for any points of interest that were worth exploring and being a sucker for scenic vistas and local history, a visit to see the view from Irving Cliff was a must-do. Irving Cliff was named after Washington Irving , author of "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Irving visited Honesdale in 1841 at the invitation of his friend Philip Hone (the first president of the Delaware and Hudson Canal , a former mayor of New York City, and the namesake of Honesdale Borough) on a trip the Delaware and Hudson Canal from Kingston, New York to Honesdale. This beautiful blending of rock, lake and stream el

Greencastle

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GREENCASTLE - Founded 1750. Named for Greencastle in North of Ireland (County Donegal, Northern Island) where many of the first settlers to Greencastle came from. Greencastle is located at the intersection of the old Baltimore and Carlisle Pikes, and is home to the the oldest continuously operating drug store in the United States, Carl's Drug Store, which opened in 1825. Sources and Links: Our History - Greencastle Borough

The Red Caboose - Elizabeth

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For the past 40 years, a hot dog stand that looks a lot like a red caboose along Route 51 in Forward Township (Southeastern Allegheny County) has been a lunch time treat for many in the Monongahela Valley.  The Red Caboose - family operated since 1980 - serves hot dogs, kielbasa, and french fries.  Plus popular toppings like cheese, chili, sauerkraut and gravy. Cheese Dogs and Fries (Steve Reynolds) The menu is simple - and so are the prices.  Most items are under $3 - making it an extremely affordable meal.   The Red Caboose is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm.   Seating is all outdoor or in your car.  And if you come during the peak lunch time hours - the line will stretch out the door!  It's definitely worth it though. The Red Caboose is Cash Only so be sure to stop at the ATM before you go.  Oh, and don't forget your appetite! (Top photo courtesy the Red Caboose) How To Get There:

King's Covered Bridge

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Just south of the Barronvale Covered Bridge sits King's Covered Bridge.  This bridge also crosses Laurel Hill Creek and sits just off of PA Route 653.  King's Covered Bridge dates to 1906 and received a massive restoration in 2009.    The 127 foot long Burr Arch Truss was a privately owned bridge by the King family.  The bridge, which had not seen vehicular traffic since the 1930s, served as a livestock barn for the King family until 2002.  It was in 2 002 when the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy took over the bridge and in 2008 handed it over to Middlecreek Township .  With the assistance of various grants and federal highway administration funding, restoration of the bridge began in 2008 and was completed the next year.  The cost to stabilize and restore the bridge was $1.035 million dollars. The restored bridge is absolutely beautiful. Bridge Specs: Number: 38-56-06 Built: 1906 Design: Burr Arch Truss Length: 127 feet Crosses: Laurel Hill Creek All photos taken by post au

Perryopolis

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Fayette County's Perryopolis has a unique history.  The town's history can be traced to George Washington and his purchase 1644 acres of land in 1769.  Washington found the area perfect for a grist mill which was constructed and began operation in 1776.  Over a decade later in 1789, Washington leased portions of his land and the mill to Colonel Israel Shreve.  When both Washington and Shreve died in 1799, the land would be subdivided and sold. The layout of Perryopolis ( Madalyn Linderman/Perryopolis.com ) Originally known as New Boston , the layout of Perryopolis would take shape in 1814.  Renamed Perryopolis after War of 1812 hero, Oliver Hazard Perry , the town's layout is in the shape of a wagon wheel .   The hub of the layout is known as Washington Square which to this day remains the center of town. Perryopolis would grow as the main town and marketplace for a number of the local farmers and grist mills in the early-mid 1800s.  As the 19th century continued, coal and

Salina Bridge & General Refractories Plant

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In Northern Westmoreland County, there is a little known - and little traveled - bridge over the Kiskiminetas River that connects the village of Salina on the Westmoreland County side with the village of Edmon on the Armstrong County side.  The Salina Bridge, built in 1906, is one of the oldest standing bridges of its style in the state. The nearly 700 foot long Parker through truss bridge saw a major rehabilitation in 1978.  However, continued deterioration has led to a 10 ton weight limit and the state is currently debating on whether to repair or replace the bridge . Salina was a company town of the Kier Firebrick Company.  Most of the homes were built at the start of the 20th century.  The Kier Firebrick company would eventually become the General Refractories Company.  The former plant sat on the Salina side of the bridge.  The plant was eventually demolished and all that remains is a concrete pad. All photos taken by post author - December 24, 2008. How To Ge