A Historical Road Trip Along Pennsylvania’s National Road
published on August 14, 2017
It’s a traveling shame to equate the notion of travel to the act of visiting far off places alone and neglecting the opportunities on home territory. Pennsylvania’s National Road has an abundance of historical sites to broaden our perspectives and enlighten our souls. Here’s a list of our favorite historical sites that are 100% road trip worthy:
1. Addison Toll House
Stop #1 on Pennsylvania’s National Road is the Addison Toll House, formerly called the Old Petersburg Toll House. Located in the Allegheny Mountains in Addison about 30 miles east of Uniontown, it’s one of two remaining toll houses in Pennsylvania that served the National Road in the 1800’s. It’s the only hand-cut native stone toll in PA that remains an authentic reflection of the structure as it existed back in 1835, when toll collection began. Just left of the toll house’s door is a handmade sign of the toll fees for traveling the Road back in 1830’s. Curious of the cost? We’ll save the answer for when you make a personal visit!
Who wouldn’t want to visit a house built atop a 30’ waterfall in Pennsylvania? Located in the Laurel Highlands, Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely recognized works, was built in 1936 for Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann. The home was used as a mountain retreat by the family and was deeded to The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in October 1963. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, more than 150,000 visitors tour the building each year, and more than 4 million have visited since 1964 when the iconic house was opened to the public. We recommend taking the in-depth tour to get a strong sense of what the house and its surroundings are all about.
3. Fort Necessity National Battlefield
As Uncovering PA so wonderfully put it, “Of all the locations associated with George Washington in Pennsylvania, it’s likely that none changed the course of history and Washington’s life as much as Fort Necessity.”
Fort Necessity National Battlefield gives visitors a chance to learn more about the history and impact of the opening battle on July 3, 1754 and the entire French and Indian War, in which Colonel George Washington surrendered to the French. The perfect sequence to your visit starts at the park’s visitor center with a 20-minute video overviewing the war and PA’s National Road, which runs alongside the park. From there, time spent at the battlefield’s museum is a must-do, following a visit outside to view the reconstructed Fort Necessity.
4. David Bradford House
The David Bradford House was built in 1788 and was home to the Whiskey Rebellion, the first domestic challenge to the new American government. Bradford and his family occupied the house only for 6 years, until 1794, when he fled under threat of arrest. The opening day of the house is on April 6th and will be available for drop-in visitors every Wednesday from 11am-3pm. Scheduled, customized tours can also be made for larger parties. The two-story Georgian style house, considered a mansion back in the day, is an enchanting one not to be missed.
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it – Pennsylvania is full of rich historical sites waiting for your arrival. Follow the historic open road this spring or summer and you’ll be in for an eye-opening experience.