Region offers opportunities to connect with the past
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Joanna Moyer knows that history isn't everyone's favorite subject. So, as education coordinator at the Westmoreland County Historical Society and adjunct history professor at Saint Vincent College in Unity Township, she tries to hold on to the tenets that carry from one era to the next and keep them accessible to audiences.
"We all have to eat. We all have to sleep. We all have people whom we care about. We all have things that we don't like," she says. "And people were the exact same way [then]. The circumstances were all different, but human nature is pretty much the same."
Those themes persist throughout American history. If the Whiskey Rebellion homesteads don't appeal to you, here are a few other spots in our region where you can learn about them:
When physician Francis Julius LeMoyne noticed that his neighbors in Washington were getting sick and exhibiting similar symptoms, he linked their illnesses to contaminated material from decomposing bodies poisoning the water supply. As a solution, he built the first crematory in the Western Hemisphere on his own land for $1,500. "Gallows Hill" is now a plot of land on South Main Street on the outskirts of Washington.
His home and other properties were also stops along the Underground Railroad, a secret route for runaway slaves. The home was built by Mr. LeMoyne's father, John Julius LeMoyne, in 1812.
Open year-round for guided tours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday by appointment for group tours of 20 or more. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students. For more information, call 724-225-6740 or visit www.wchspa.org.
Home of the 19th century Christian communal group, the Harmony Society, Old Economy Village was established in 1824 and known throughout the world for its "piety and industrial prosperity," its website says.
It is open year-round from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for youth and $9 for seniors. For more information about guided tours, call 724-266-4500 or oldeconomyvillage.org.
First Published May 24, 2012 12:00 am