Last Updated on January 11, 2022 by Jeremy
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Harmony, Pennsylvania (30 minutes north of Pittsburgh) is one of our favorite boroughs for a number of reasons. It is quaint, historic, and is home to one of the best restaurants in the region- Harmony Inn.
When it comes to the history, Harmony is rather unique. To celebrate it, the borough has a robust museum that we were really excited to check out.
Featuring the History of Harmony, Pennsylvania
While most every city, township, and borough in southwest Pennsylvania has an interesting history behind it, the borough of Harmony (located about 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh) is exceptionally interesting.
Some of the earliest history of Harmony dates back to 1753 when George Washington came through the area and was almost shot by a native- giving the area a nickname of “Mutheringtown” or, as is often considered today, “Murdering Town.”
Just over 50 years later in 1804 Johann George Rapp brought his Harmony Society to the New World from Germany in order to find land where they could live in a commune lifestyle without restriction.
That land became the town of Harmony, and is a spot where they lived for about 10 years before selling the land to Abraham Ziegler to head west (and thus ushering in close to 100 years of Mennonite lifestyle).
Today, Harmony features a number of ways to take in this history be it through walking around the historic borough to see the log cabins, Harmonist cemetery, the historic Mennonite Meetinghouse, or by checking out The Harmony Museum!
The Harmony Museum Features This Rich History
For those who want to get the most out of their visit to Harmony, a stop at The Harmony Museum is a must (note, this one has limited hours- typically 1-4pm Tuesday to Sunday; please verify before visiting).
Despite being fairly small, the Harmony Museum features a number of historical items since the borough's founding and includes rooms setup like the Harmonists would've had, a Harmonist bible, a rather impressive family tree spanning many generations from the early settlers, historic guns, and more- most of which were donated family heirlooms by borough residents!
One of the coolest features about the museum is that it is also a historic storehouse in its own right as it was built in 1809. On the tour you are able to see elements of the original building style and also explore the surprisingly large cellar. (Likewise, many of the nearby log cabins are kept with period specific decor as well.)
With advanced notice guests can also explore more historic buildings in Harmony including a large and historic barn constructed in 1805 (now used for events) that is one of the oldest west of the Alleghenies and the Mennonite Meetinghouse and cemetery that is on the National Register of historic places.
Overall, the Harmony Museum is a great little spot to check out for those who are looking to learn more about the early history of Western Pennsylvania, the history behind the Harmonist and Mennonite settlers, and really get a full appreciation for this charming town north of Pittsburgh.
And what happened to the original Harmonists, you may ask? Well, 10 years after leaving the region they returned to nearby Economy, PA, and died out by the early 1900s due to celibate vows. But their legacy lives on in Harmony and is definitely worth a visit next time you are north of the city!
The Harmony Museum is located at 218 Mercer Street in Harmony, PA. I'd like to thank the museum for the tour of the sights during my visit. As always, all opinions are my own.