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Baldwin-Reynolds House
Baldwin-Reynolds House
Meadville, PA

Historic Sites and Museums

Pennsylvania has a strong connection to the formative years and history of the United States. Northwest Pennsylvania, the farthest point colonized before western expansion began, was home to a number of historically-important individuals, industries, and events. George Washington visited and stayed in the region on several occasions. The world's first zipper was created here. If you enjoy tourism experiences with educational and historical significance, you will find many opportunities in northwest PA to explore sites and museums that document and preserve the rich history of the area, and you will discover that it has not always been the "Quiet Northwest."

 

Historic Sites
 
Baldwin-Reynolds House

Located in Meadville, the Baldwin-Reynolds House was built in 1843 by Supreme Court Justice Henry Baldwin (1780-1840), and was also home to two Meadville mayors. Purchased by the Crawford County Historical Society, visitors can now explore the grounds which include an ice house, tannery, garden, spring-fed pond, and a turn of the century country doctor's office. The house contains 19th century objects and furnishings, and is architecturally patterned after a Tennessee plantation house of that era. Open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, guided tours are offered Wednesday through Sunday between 12 p.m. and 4p.m., with the last tour beginning at 3 p.m. There is a small admission charge.

Additional information...
Crawford County Historical Society (814) 724-6080

 

 

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David Mead Log Cabin

David Mead CabinHave you ever wondered where the first colonial settlement in northwest Pennsylvania was located? Well, look no further than Meadville. In 1787, at the age of 36, David Mead and his brother, John, built a log cabin on the bank of French Creek which became the first building of a new settlement.

The current David Mead Log Cabin in Meadville's Bicentennial Park is a replica of the original structure, constructed with a split room design — one room for the family residence and the other for storage. Also the site of one of the first schoolrooms in the area, David's second wife, Jeannette Finney, began teaching classes here shortly after their marriage.

The cabin is open for tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from Memorial Day through August, and by appointment for groups and organizations.

Additional information...
Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau click here
1-800-332-2338

 

 

 

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Johnson-Shaw Stereoscopic Museum

On Chestnut Street in Meadville, the Johnson-Shaw Stereoscopic Museum provides an opportunity to step back in history and view life in the 19th century through the lenses of a stereoscope and a massive collection of stereoscopic 3D photographs showing natural history, world events, tragedy, and whimsy. This extensive collection of stereoviews, lantern slides, historic documents, books and equipment are all items manufactured by Keystone View Company, the largest manufacturer of stereoscopic views in the United States, and formerly located in Meadville. Take your children or grandchildren with you and let them experience one of the things their ancestors did for entertainment before the days of moving pictures and television.

Additional information...
Johnson-Shaw Stereoscopic Museum (814) 720-5503
info@johnsonshawmuseum.org

 

 

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Drake Well and Museum

Drake WellProbably one of the most extensive historical sites in northwest Pennsylvania, the Drake Well Museum in Titusville is located on the site of the birthplace of the modern oil industry. In 1859, Edwin Drake struck oil here, a substance that has become one of our most valued resources. The Drake Well site has been turned into a robust tribute to the oil industry, providing a museum, a replica of the original oil rig, a picnic area, several monuments, and much more. The Drake Well Museum has a number of artifacts and objects documenting the development of the oil boom in this region. There is also a gift shop where visitors can purchase a variety of souvenirs.

Additional information...
Drake Well Museum (814) 827-2797

Drake Well (pictures)

 

 

 

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Erie Maritime Museum

US Brig NiagaraOne of the newest museums in northwest Pennsylvania, Erie Maritime Museum was opened to the public in May of 1998. The Erie Maritime Museum presents the rich maritime history of the Erie region, including how the U.S. Brig Niagara, (present-day ship is a reconstruction) became the warship that won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. With interactive and captivating exhibits and programs, the museum captures the excitement and attention of its visitors and explains such maritime associated topics as the Great Lakes ecosystem and past environmental history.

Additional information...
Lake Erie and the Great Lakes

 

 

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Fort Le Boeuf

The town of Waterford was established in 1794, and prospered due to its position between the Great Lakes and Pittsburgh. The French realized the importance of this site as a crossroads of trade and as a link between their claims in Canada and Louisiana, establishing Fort Le Boeuf in order to retain control from the expanding English. On the eve of the French and Indian War, George Washington delivered a demand from the English for the French to leave Fort Le Boeuf as well as the Ohio Valley.

The Fort Le Boeuf Museum was erected as tribute to this pivotal fort's location and involvement in our nation's history (actually three different forts were established here in the 1700's). Edinboro University currently has responsibility for the museum, and operates tours, special events, and film presentations of Fort Le Boeuf's history. Tours are by appointment during the school year and to the general public on selected days.

Additional information...
Edinboro University Department of Sociology/ Anthropology/ Social Work (814) 732-2573

 

 

 

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John Brown Farm, Tannery, and Museum

Few realize the importance of Crawford County in Pre-Civil War days, when the Underground Railroad was active through the area, and the great abolitionist John Brown lived in New Richmond (located just outside of Meadville on Route 77). Residing in Crawford County from 1825 to 1835, Brown's tannery and farm were a major stop on the Underground Railroad, and played a key role due to its position between the South and Lake Erie/Canada. Working with several other individuals in the Meadville area, Brown established several "depots" throughout Crawford County and it is estimated that approximately 2,500 slaves passed through the area. Brown was also very active in creation of a local mail service and a leading member in Guys Mills Congregational Church.

John Brown is best known for the seizure of the Federal Armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia in 1859. Brown, along with eighteen other liberators, held the Armory for a single day. After a short skirmish the Armory was retaken, and on December 2, Brown was hanged for treason.

The John Brown Farm, Museum, and Tannery allow one to better understand the life of John Brown and his involvement in the Meadville area. Only recently opened in May of 2001, the tannery and adjacent acres of the Hotchkiss site in New Richmond, PA, are an interesting and educational experience. The museum and gift shop also provide information and articles related to this famous abolitionist.

Additional information...
Donna and Louise Coburn (814) 967-2099

 

 

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Meadville Market House

Meadville Market HouseBuilt in 1870, the Meadville Market House is Pennsylvania's oldest market house in continual use. Located in downtown Meadville, the market house serves as a venue for sale of area produce and products, as well as a meeting place and a link between the town community and surrounding farms.

The market house remains open year round, offering fresh baked goods, maple syrup, crafts, fresh meats, and cheeses; fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant during the harvest season. Breakfast is ready and the coffee is hot when the homestyle restaurant opens every day at 6 a.m. The doors close at 5 p.m. daily (Saturday at 3 p.m.) to prepare for the next day's business.

In 1917, a second floor was added to the Market House, and this area is currently home to the Meadville Council for the Arts, which has converted the extra space into an art gallery, a dance studio, and a small theater. In its early days, the Market House was a place of great importance (much like the central hub of the community), and today it remains one of the main links to maintaining downtown Meadville's infrastructure.

Across the country, the infrastructure of many communities has deteriorated as large corporations and shopping centers develop on the outskirts of many towns. Likewise, suburban sprawl has led to a move away from local communities and to greater distances between downtown vendors and shoppers.

Additional information...
Meadville Market House (814) 336-2056

Downtown Revitalization

 

 

 

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Penn-Brad Oil Museum

Penn-Brad oil wellLocated 3 miles south of Bradford, PA, the Penn-Brad Oil Museum's purpose is to "...Preserve the philosophy, the spirit, and the accomplishments of an oil country community; taking visitors back to early oil boom days of the first billion dollar oil field." Providing artifacts, tours, and explanations of the oil industry of the past, the Penn-Brad Oil Museum is an interesting and interactive experience. The central attraction is a 72 foot wooden drilling rig, which at its construction in the 1880's, provided 74% of all the oil used in the United States.

Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, the Penn-Brad Oil Museum charges $5.00 for adults and $1.00 for children.

Additional information...
Penn-Brad Oil Museum (814) 362-1955

 

 

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Pennsylvania Hunting and Fishing Museum

Though still in the planning stage, the Pennsylvania Hunting and Fishing Museum will eventually celebrate two of the most popular and cherished activities in Pennsylvania. Proposed in 1994 by Representative Lynch, the Hunting and Fishing Museum will be constructed in Tidioute, PA. The envisioned museum will be a historical documentation of hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania, as well as an interactive and learning-based museum. Visitors will be able to look at the background of these two great outdoor sports and will also be given the chance to learn safety procedures and gun handling. Possibly, even training in basic canoe techniques will be made available.

Additional information...
Hunting and Fishing Museum

 

 

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Pennsylvania Lumber Museum

Maple TreeA tribute to the state's lumber industry, the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Potter County documents and explores the history of one of Pennsylvania's leading industries: timber harvesting. The museum preserves and documents an era when white pine and hemlock were the wealth of the nation a century ago. In addition to visiting the museum, one can walk along the weathered buildings of a logging camp and sawmill re-created on the grounds. Eighty-five miles of hiking trails through the Appalachian Wilderness are close at hand if you desire to explore the area further. The museum is open daily April through November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional information...
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum (814) 435-2652

 

 

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Pithole -The Oil Industry's Vanished Boom Town

Pithole -Historical Site MarkerAround the 1860's, numerous wells in the Venango County area gushed oil in such large amounts that towns virtually sprang up overnight. In May of 1865, Pithole became just such a town when oil was discovered at the site. By September of that year, nearly 15,000 people lived in Pithole, filling the town's 57 hotels and making the newly built post office the third busiest in the state! However, within a year of the town's explosion, nearly all the oil had been pumped and the town had shrunk to a mere 2,000 residents. Eventually the town of Pithole was completely abandoned.

Today, all that remains of the original town are the cellar remnants of buildings, meadows, and the reconstructed model of what the town once looked like. The Pithole Visitors Center is open Memorial Day through Labor day, Wednesday noon to 5 p.m., and Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $2.50 for adults, $0.50 for children, and/or $5.50 per family.

Additional information...
Pithole: contact the Drake Well Museum (814) 827-2797

 

 

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Tyred Wheels Museum

bicycleLocated near Oil Creek State Park, the Tyred Wheels Museum is home to antique cars and airplanes, as well as over 5,000 miniature vehicles. Focusing on transportation, this museum has everything from motorcycles to tractors. Open daily from May 1 to October 31 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Tyred Wheels Museum is a great testament to how much transportation has changed over the last century.

Transportation is an essential part of our lifestyles, and technological improvements have made our world a more connected planet. However, our systems of transportation depend on a nonrenewable resource. Fossil fuel use causes many deleterious effects to the health of the planet, such as pollution and waste. Therefore, alternative transportation and fuels have been at the exterior of our thoughts for the past 25 years.

Alternative Transportation and Fuels

 

Additional information...
Tyred Wheels Museum (814) 676-0756

 

 

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Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry

Venango Museum of Art, Science, and IndustryThe Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry is dedicated to the history of the oil industry, and educates both adults and children through participation in interactive science and art exhibits. With constantly changing displays, programs for children, performances, and even local tours, the museum has a lot to offer. Group tours and buses are welcome, and the museum is accessible to people with dissabilities.

Additional information...
Venango Museum (814) 676-2007

 

 

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Wild West Museum

The Wild West Museum in Franklin, is one of the largest collections of wild west memorabilia east of the Mississippi River. Housed on the second floor of the Franklin Antique Mall, the museum displays such items as guns, knives, Native American artifacts, and saddles. Also on display are personal possessions of many famous western figures such as Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, and John Wayne.

Additional information...
DeBence Antique Music Museum (814) 432-5668

 

 

 

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Zippo/Case Visitors Center

The Zippo/Case Visitors Center in Bradford is one of the more popular attractions in northwest Pennsylvania. Opened in 1997, the museum contains many fascinating exhibits related to Zippo lighters and Case knives, and promotes the importance of these two products as American legends. Also included in the visitor center is a repair clinic and a Zippo/Case store which features a full line of products. A great experience for all, and a chance to experience the history of two of Pennsylvania's world renowned products, the Zippo/Case Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional information...
Zippo/Case Center (888) 442-1932

 

 

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