This week’s 2022 Community Initiative Award winner spotlight is on the Blairsville Underground Railroad organization in Blairsville, Indiana County.
Blairsville was laid out in the early 19th century along the Conemaugh River at the southern end of Indiana County, about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh along the planned route of the Huntingdon, Cambria, and Indiana Turnpike. Blairsville’s history and growth is closely tied to its transportation corridors – the river, the stagecoach in 1818, the canal in 1829, and the rail in 1851 – and natural deposits of salt, coal, and iron, which together supported a thriving and flourishing community.
What many may not know about Blairsville is its African American history, particularly related to abolition and the Underground Railroad (UGRR). The borough had one of the larger Black communities in Indiana County and the county’s first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church was organized there in 1844. Indiana County was an important and active Underground Railroad stop in Pennsylvania as freedom seekers escaped from their enslavers in search of freedom.
I asked Denise Doyle from the Blairsville Underground Railroad organization to share their story with us.
What better time of year than National Historic Preservation Month to announce the latest round of PA SHPO’s Community Initiative Award winners! The four recipients and their projects showcase a range of preservation success stories, demonstrating the value of volunteers, creativity, and community engagement.
The Pennsylvania Baseline Survey Team is excited to share another year of findings! Between January 2022 to October 2022, our five Year 2 Baseline Survey teams surveyed in 18 counties and recorded 6,663 new resources in 396 municipalities. Quite an impressive number!
We all know the story of the classic American film, It’s a Wonderful Life. But did you know that the star of this quintessential holiday film is a Pennsylvanian? And that there is a Pennsylvania Historical Marker for this star?
This past June Barbara Frederick and I were in Saltsburg, Indiana County attending a stakeholder meeting for the Loyahanna and Conemaugh Dam’s master planning process. The Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District has been hard at work this summer updating their planning documents, and, as the Western Region Section 106 review team, Barbara and I have been doing our part to provide our support to their process. We also used the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the Dams, Saltsburg, and some really great historic resources! Continue reading