Learning the History of Pontiac’s Rebellion at Bushy Run Battlefield

In the early days of southwest Pennsylvania history, a number of battles ensued for control over the confluence of the three rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh.

You likely know about George Washington's mishap at Fort Necessity in the Laurel Highlands that is considered the start of the Seven Years War. You may also know about the Forbes Campaign that passed through Fort Ligonier in order to capture Fort Duquesne a short time later. But the Battle of Bushy Run during Pontiac's Rebellion may be one you have not heard much of, and if so, a trip to Jeannette, PA, should be on your radar.

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Take a Trip Into a Coal Mine at the Tour-Ed Mine & Museum

Virtually everyone knows about Pittsburgh's steel history. You may even know that the city was a big producer of glass and iron as well. But did you know that the area was also a big coal producer too? 

While coal mining was necessary for steel production, there were numerous uses for this bountiful material found in the area- and coal mining boomed for several centuries.

One mine decided to close down in the mid-1900s, despite sitting on a large deposit of coal, and converted the area into an educational museum in order to highlight the history of coal mining in the region. They became the Tour-Ed Mine & Museum, and this spot has been operating educational tours for over 50 years!

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Exploring the Historical Jail Museum in Downtown Pittsburgh

If you've spent some time walking around downtown Pittsburgh, odds are good you've seen the old Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. This historical building is one of the most stunning in the city and even includes its own Bridge of Sighs walkway that connected the two buildings.

Today the jail has been decommissioned and converted into a Common Pleas court, yet many artifacts from the era exist and are available on display in the Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.

But if you want to check this one out you'll have to plan accordingly- it is only open from 11:30am to 1pm on Mondays, February to October!

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Visiting the Donora Historical Society and Donora Smog Museum

One of the things we love about the boroughs in southwest Pennsylvania is that many of them have a historical society and museum dedicated to sharing the history of the area.

Some of these, like the Saxonburg Museum, are huge. Others, like the Harmony Museums, are spread out over multiple historical buildings that are all worth exploring.

In Donora, the museum managed by the Donora Historical Society is fairly small. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in sharing the borough's history and the Donora Smog environmental disaster.

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The Saxonburg Museum is a Wonderful Historical Gem

Prior to visiting Saxonburg, I only had heard a few stories about the borough's rich history.

It wasn't until I visited for a Burgh, Bits, and Bites food tour that I was able to learn more about the history due to the fact that the tour started out at the wonderful Saxonburg Museum!

If you're in the area during the museum's seasonal operating period, this one is most certainly worth a stop.

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Touring the Historic Harmony Museum and Log Cabins

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.

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Kentuck Knob is a Stunning House in the Laurel Highlands

When it comes to Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces in southwest Pennsylvania, odds are good you know of the iconic Fallingwater house. But did you know that Wright was also commissioned for a house just a few miles down the roads for friends of the Kaufmann family?

This house is Kentuck Knob- a large, Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built for the Hagan family (of local ice cream fame).

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The Forbes Campaign in Western Pennsylvania at Fort Ligonier

When driving through the borough of Ligonier in the Laurel Highlands, you can't miss Fort Ligonier. This imposing, recreated fort is located right in the heart of the town and is a highlight all visitors must check out.

We've got to hand it to this one, it does an exceptional job of bringing the history of southwest Pennsylvania during the 1700s to life!

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