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History

White Mountain: The PA Ski Area You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

When it comes to skiing in the Laurel Highlands, most people think of the big three ski resorts: Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley, and Seven Springs. What many people don’t realize is that in addition to those three current resorts is that there were several other popular resorts at the time, including White Mountain Ski Area.  …

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Allegheny Arsenal: The Day Pittsburgh Exploded

Tucked behind a playground and a ball field in the shadow of Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood lies a 200-year-old building which stood witness to the largest civilian disaster of the Civil War. While most of the Allegheny Arsenal is now gone, the powder magazine is still standing as a reminder of this nearly-forgotten …

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Pittsburgh’s National Negro Opera Company House

Nowadays the house doesn’t look like much. In fact, the building has been condemned and there are missing walls and broken windows. It will take millions of dollars to restore the house to its former glory, but former glory it once had. This house was once home to the National Negro Opera Company and saw …

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The Tumble Bug: The Midway’s Classic Flat Ride

The Tumble Bug was once a staple of the amusement park midway. A classic flat ride, there were two variations that many parks had. One featured a sort of stubby “face” that looked like a bug, hence the Tumble Bug name. The other variation looked like a turtle and that ride is often referred to …

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The Loyalhanna Gorge Stone Tipple and the Ligonier Valley Railroad

If you frequent Route 30 between Ligonier and Latrobe, you are probably familiar with the old stone quarry tipple which was serviced by the Ligonier Valley Railroad.  The stone tipple was part of a quarry which sat on the north wall of the Loyalhanna Gorge. It was used to load hopper cars full of gravel …

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Pittsburgh’s Smokey Island and it’s Ghoulish Past

It’s not a secret that Pittsburgh has more than a little bit of a dark history. There’s absolutely a reason why it was once described as “Hell with the lid off.” One part of the dark history was the former Smokey Island near Pittsburgh’s Point. This island was nowhere you wanted to be if you …

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Old Overholt Whisky and the Broad Ford Distillery Near Connellsville

Did you know that the Old Overholt brand of whiskey is America’s oldest continually maintained brand of whiskey and it has it’s roots right here in Western Pennsylvania?    Recently, Ryan and I took a trip out to Scottdale’s historic West Overton Village which is the birthplace of Henry Clay Frick. It was also the …

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The Soldier Statue in Greensburg’s Courthouse Square

For nearly 100 years the soldier has silently watched over downtown Greensburg, a silent reminder of those Westmoreland County residents whose lives were lost in battle. While many may be familiar with Greensburg’s soldier statue, many more may not know the story behind this somewhat enigmatic statue. Beginning in 1865, at the end of the …

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Conneaut Lake Park’s Blue Streak Pittsburgh Connection

When it comes to the lost amusement parks of Western Pennsylvania, one of the ones that stands out in the minds of many longtime residents of Pittsburgh is West View Park. While I never had the chance to experience West View, as it closed in 1977 (six years before I was born), I had the …

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Five Facts About Lakemont Park’s Roller Coasters You Might Not Know

Lakemont Park has transformed itself into a unique family entertainment complex complete with go-karts, miniature golf, and batting cages, but two things that still prominently stick out in the park are the wooden roller coasters. While the park may have gone through a transformation, the owners (thankfully!) made the decision not to just keep the …

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From Killarney Park to Mill Run’s Camp Christian

If you know me and you know my blog you know that I love discovering the hidden history of locations that we know and love. Especially if those histories are hiding right under our noses. This is the case of Killarney Park which eventually became Camp Christian, a Christian summer camp.  I’ve been familiar with …

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The Hidden History of Greensburg’s St. Clair Park

Right now in downtown Greensburg, off of Maple Avenue, is St. Clair Park. This unassuming city park is probably best known for its annual SummerSounds outdoor concert series held at the Robertshaw Amphitheater each summer. However, there is more history to this park than meets the eye.  Last week we had a beautiful evening so …

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