Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor Driving Tour - Westmoreland County
Featuring sites along Pennsylvania's Lincoln Highway in Westmoreland County, PA
Compass Inn Museum and Historic Site is a restored 19th century stagecoach stop along the original Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Turnpike. Originally built in 1799, Compass Inn captures the history of fast-paced stagecoach culture and the family history of seven generations of the Armor family who lived there. The site features a fully functioning cookhouse and blacksmith shop along with a reconstructed barn containing a restored Conestoga Wagon and stagecoach. Compass Inn Museum was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 and sits along the Lincoln Highway.
Linn Run State Park is a Pennsylvania State Park located in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is bordered by Forbes State Forest. While it used to be described as a “waste land”, it is now thriving as a second growth forest. The park was once clear cut, and a railroad ran through it, until the Commonwealth gained the land in 1909, and Linn Run Park was created. Thus began the process of restoration, and once again the park is thriving. The park is currently a beautiful and popular state park, that offers many activities to partake in, in the park, and the surrounding areas.
Founded on July 2nd, 1925, Ligonier Beach was a fun and relaxing way for travelers driving across the Lincoln Highway. The massive 400-foot by 125-foot pool was once America’s largest swimming pool. Accompanied by a slide, fountain and great local, homemade food added for one of the best summer stops among tiresome families. The giant swimming pool offered many activities like live bands, buffets, and lowered admission days. The famous Ligonier Beach sign was welcoming to all who were looking to cool off and enjoy the Ligonier community. After severe flooding in 2018, Ligonier Beach is closed indefinitely.
Fort Ligonier is a reconstructed eighteenth century fort in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The fort was established as an outpost for British forces planning an attack on Fort Duquesne in modern-day Pittsburgh. On October 12, 1758, the British successfully defended Fort Ligonier from an attack by French and Indian forces. Less than two months later, General John Forbes, along with Colonels George Washington, Henry Bouquet, and Archibald Montgomerie, departed Fort Ligonier and successfully captured Fort Duquesne on November 25. The capture of Fort Duquesne, replaced by Fort Pitt, solidified British occupation of the Forks of the Ohio and led to the establishment of Pittsburgh. Fort Ligonier was reconstructed in the mid-twentieth century and is the setting of historical reenactments, tours, and a state-of-the-art museum that interprets the history of the Pennsylvania frontier and French and Indian War.
The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA) is a community art museum with locations in the southwestern Pennsylvania cities of Altoona, Bedford, Johnstown, Ligonier, and Loretto, where the museum was founded in 1976. The Ligonier location opened in 1997 and has since collected and exhibited the works of numerous local, regional, and national artists working in various mediums. The museum at Ligonier offers changing exhibits, educational programs, juried shows, artists-in-residence programs, workshops, and a sculpture garden, connecting people of the Ligonier Valley and surrounding area with the arts. SAMA successfully operates the nation’s longest-running museum satellite system.
Located on Route 30 along the historic Lincoln Highway is Idlewild Park and Soak Zone in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Opened in 1887, Idlewild was initially developed by Judge Thomas Mellon as a means of drawing passengers to the Ligonier Valley Railroad. The Park started as a picnic/camp grounds for visitors to take a “country vacation.” In the 1930s, the Park changed management and began to form into an amusement park. It was in the 1950s when the focus of the Park began to be centered on children and family fun. Maintaining business through the Great Depression, World War I and II, Idlewild stands today as the longest-operating amusement park in Pennsylvania and the 3rd oldest in the nation.
The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum preserves and interprets the history of the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, a 10.3-mile railway that connected the communities of Latrobe and Ligonier from 1877 to 1952. The railroad hauled freight and offered passenger service between Latrobe and Ligonier, including destinations like Idlewild Park, which was founded by the railroad's owner, Judge Thomas Mellon. The Museum was opened in 2010 by the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association in the former Darlington station, built in 1896. Today, the Museum is home to a collection of artifacts and documents, exhibits, and a 1905 Bobber Caboose.
The Lincoln Highway, our nation’s first coast-to-coast highway, marked the birth of popular American tourism – vacationing by automobile. Visitors who begin their journey at the Lincoln Highway Experience, nestled in the Laurel Highlands, will have a more enriching tour because they will see an inspiring orientation film, view a number of interpretive exhibits on quirky roadside architecture (including the Ship Hotel and Coffee Pot), trace the Lincoln Highway across Pennsylvania in beautiful black and white photographs, enjoy pie and coffee at the restored 1938 diner, and shop for Lincoln Highway memorabilia and fine artisan crafts. Since 1996, the not-for-profit Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor has worked with a number of local, state and federal partners on heritage preservation, sustainable community development, and responsible land conservation in south-central Pennsylvania. Enjoy your journey on the Lincoln Highway, and remember to "Keep Thinkin' Lincoln!"
The Latrobe Railroad Station was built by architect William H. Brown for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in 1903. It is located at 329 McKinley Avenue. It served the mainline between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the Pennsylvania Railroad and currently serves as an Amtrak stop and an Italian restaurant.
The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College is a 50 acre nature reserve adjacent to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The Reserve includes a native landscapes, trails, meadows, gardens, Environmental Learning Barn, Nature Explore Certified play spaces, pond, wetlands, and more! The property is open to the public for recreation, conservation, and education.
Built between 1892 and 1905, Saint Vincent Basilica is an iconic structure on the Saint Vincent campus, which comprises a Catholic parish, archabbey, liberal arts college, and seminary. The beautiful Romanesque Revival basilica is a well-known feature of the Latrobe area landscape. Guided tours are available on select weekends of the year and mass is celebrated every day.
The Inn at Mountain View, now renamed to Mountain View Inn, is a historic hotel located just outside of Greensburg, PA. A hotel that has been around for nearly 100 years that has been heavily expanded and reworked to accommodate multiple generations of visitors currently boasts a high number of guest rooms along with a breathtaking view of the surrounding Westmoreland County and the Laurel Mountains peeking over the horizon. The Inn at Mountain View has been a successful landmark and staple within Westmoreland County and has given many Lincoln Highway travelers and comfortable place to stay overnight and even accommodates for long-term visitors. The landscape of the inn has changed drastically over the years, with every new owner altering the hotel to the way they see fit, whether it be adding a pool, expanding the living quarters with more room for guests, or demolishing a part of the hotel entirely. The Mountain View Inn has also seen its fair share of famous and memorable faces.
Hanna's Town served as the site of the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains and first seat of government for Westmoreland County, established in 1773. Hanna's Town was an outpost for settlers, travelers, and those seeking law or court interventions. In May 1775, citizens of Westmoreland County drafted the Hanna’s Town Resolves condemning British actions at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and calling for a county militia. Throughout the Revolutionary War, Hanna’s Town served as a recruitment center for the county militia as well as the Continental Army. On July 13, 1782, Hanna’s Town was burned by British and Seneca forces in one of the last conflicts of the Revolutionary War. Today, Historic Hanna's Town offers guided tours of the reconstructed historic site, educational programs, and special events. Historic Hanna's Town is a Westmoreland County park managed by the Westmoreland Historical Society, which bases its operations at the Westmoreland History Education Center on site.
First opened in 1959, The Westmoreland Museum of American Art focuses on American and Southwestern Pennsylvanian art and has shared such work with the public for over 50 years. The museum features over 3,400 pieces of art from the mid 18th-mid 20th centuries, including paintings, sculptures, portraits, works on paper, objects with images, and decorative arts. In addition to its exhibitions, the museum also hosts many different educational programs, including programs in the classroom, art classes, and summer camps.
The Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department Museum collects and preserves artifacts of the GVFD including antique firetrucks, uniforms, equipment, and pictures of historic Greensburg Fires. In addition, the museum cares for a large collection of toy and model fire trucks. Today, the museum houses three fully restored fire engines. Both the 1805 Pat Lyon engine and 1825 Goodwill engine were used in the Great Fire of Pittsburgh on April 5, 1845 before being sold to the GVFD. The third, a 1949 Seagrave Pumper was purchased new for Hose Company No. 3.
Baltzer Meyer Historical Society acquired the historic schoolhouse in 1996, and began renovating the building that same year. It has long been their goal to restore the building so that it could function as a museum, as well as a place for contemporary students to peek into the past.