Celebrating – and preserving – special places

Heritage Areas help build community – for today and for future generations. Partnership programs help support the health of local businesses. Preservation programs create jobs and restore, rehabilitate and reuse distinctive and historic buildings. Cultural events, from workshops to festivals, celebrate the diverse histories we share and pass on skills and knowledge.

Please use HeritagePA as a hub for discovering the many opportunities for family-friendly fun and adventures related to history and cultural heritage. Below we’ve listed a very small sampling of an action-packed summer in each of Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas.

Be Hands-On

There’s something for everyone in Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas — from walking tours and railroad excursions to photo safaris and art classes! If you aren’t excited by the sample listed here, visit the individual Heritage Area websites for a complete listing of opportunities with art, history, walking tours, cycling, hiking, paddling and more!

Explore the Arts in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.
Whether you sign up for a workshop or tour the Carrie Blast Furnace site, the arts are thriving here in the Pittsburgh area. The cornerstone of Rivers of Steel’s work is its dedicated effort to the preservation and interpretation of the region’s cultural and industrial heritage. Their heritage sites serve as rich interpretive resources that provide the foundation for education, arts, and heritage tourism programs. Check the Rivers of Steel website for more opportunities to engage your inner artist. We’ve noted two upcoming opportunities here that will be offered regularly until October.

Sunday, 10am to 1pm
(Three Hour Safari)
Carrie Blast Furnaces
In 2021, this workshop will be offered from 10am–1pm on Sunday,
August 8, September 12, October 10
One of Rivers of Steel’s most in-demand programs, the Photo Safari at the Carrie Blast Furnaces inspires novice and experienced photographers alike! The interplay of light and seasonality at the Carrie Furnaces offer endless perspectives of this industrial muse. These three-hour photo safaris are appropriate for both novice and experienced photographers who crave an “open” shooting experience with very little interruption, guidance, or interference. Take your time and line up the perfect image of the historic Carrie Furnaces!

Sunday, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
(One-day workshop)
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
In 2021, this program will be offered from 5-8pm on the following Sundays: July 18, August 22 & November 14, and on Monday, October 4, and Monday, October 25.
This is not your grandma’s sip and paint party! DYOB with BYOB! Doodle your own bowl and bring your own bottle of booze for this Doodle Bowl Experience! Invite your friends and join Rivers of Steel for a night of fun and creativity at the Carrie Blast Furnaces. The Metal Arts team will help you create your own bowl design (doodle bowl) and cast that bowl in solid aluminum! The bowl mold and tools are provided, you just carve your own design right into the pre-made mold. Finished bowl castings can be taken home at the end of the night.

Do the Doodle! Make a Doodle Bowl at just one of the many creative workshops and classes offered by Heritage Areas.
Photo from Rivers of Steel

Preserving the Past – for the Future

Heritage Areas make learning fun, no matter your age. You can time travel via the history-filled rooms of local house museums. Discover the stories of people just like your own family, who lived and worked in Pennsylvania years ago. What was daily life like? What challenges did they face? What did they do for fun? How did they earn a living? Here are just a few recent preservation highlights from Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas. Use HeritagePA as a hub to explore individual Heritage Areas and all they have to offer!

Support the Raise the Roof Campaign!
The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor has worked hard for nearly 25 years with limited financial and human resources. Fortunately, they have board members committed to action; supporters who not only like what they are doing along the 200-mile Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, but also admire the perseverance and creativity in developing a premiere attraction, Lincoln Highway Experience, that Trip Advisor has ranked #1 in the area. Local residents and heritage tourists alike are able to learn the compelling story of how this particular highway route changed America.

Yet there’s a critical need to raise funds in order to replace the 31-year-old roof on our 1815 National Register-listed Johnston House. The patching efforts have reached their limits and the replacement is important, not only to protect and preserve the historic structure, but also to prevent damage to exhibits and archives.You do the math: 55 squares of shingles, at $675 per square. To support this Lincoln Highway effort, please send your donation to: LHHC, 3435 Route 30 East, Latrobe, PA 15650, or donate securely online by credit card or PayPal online at : https://lhhc.org/how-to-help/donate.html

Tarbell House Open During Titusville’s Oil Fest
The Tarbell House, childhood home of investigative journalism pioneer Ida Tarbell, will be open for free tours Saturday, August 14 following the annual Oil Festival parade in Titusville. The home was constructed of materials salvaged from the Bonta House hotel in the oil boomtown of Pithole on its current site at 324 E. Main St., Titusville in 1870 by Ida’s father, Franklin. The Oil Region Alliance took ownership of the property in 2007 and began a ten-year, ten-phase rehabilitation resulting in the property’s use as a house museum and setting for special events. The home’s exterior approximates the 1870 appearance while the interior mimics the 1895 appearance, complete with Victorian style paint colors and curved walls demonstrating Franklin Tarbell’s skills as a barrel maker. The Tarbell House should make the must-see list of any history buff or architecture fan.

Restored McClintock-Steele-Waitz House in 2006, after it was rescued and opened to visitors.
Photo courtesy of the Oil Region Alliance.

Updated Titusville Historic Walking Tour Brochures Now Available
Walk the 2.4-mile historic walking tour of Titusville in northwest PA’s Oil Region and discover twenty-three interpretative panels. The accompanying brochure was recently updated to include the site of Cytemp Specialty Steel Company, opened in 1884 as “Cyclops Steel Works”, which produced steel for the oil fields and later for WWI and WWII. At its peak, the plant covered more than 265 acres and employed around 1,200 people. Other highlights of the tour include the Tarbell House and William H. Scheide House, both owned by the Oil Region Alliance, managers of the Oil Region National Heritage Area.

Two Phases of Scheide House Restoration Completed
The latest two phases of the William H. Scheide House rehabilitation project in Titusville in the Oil Region are complete. Phase II Building Stabilization included securing the foundation and making repairs to the gutters and drainage system and adding dry wells. Phase II was ADA upgrades including an exterior lift and dedicated parking. Phase I, which focused on the library wing, was completed in 2019. The next phase, Safety and Security, which will include alarm and sprinkler systems will begin in the fall.

In 2018, the Oil Region Alliance took ownership of the 1866 house, which was home to three generations of oil company executives with a penchant for collecting rare manuscripts. The fireproof masonry wing was added by the Scheides to protect the collection, which was donated to Princeton University after William H. Scheide passed away in 2014 at the age of 100. The donation was valued at more than $300 million at that time, constituting the largest gift ever given to the university. Following the rehabilitation, the property will operate as the Scheide Cultural Preservation Center.

Check out our recent posts for more ideas about having fun in Pennsylvania’s Heritage Areas!