Historic Sites & Cultural Heritage
... Greene County, Pennsylvania
Contact for Information Requests: County Information Services Line Phone: 724-852-5399 / Toll Free: 1-888-852-5399
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m., MondayFriday
Greene County Beginnings:
Formed February 9, 1796; named for General Nathanael Greene. Surface, fertile valleys, hills, and rolling uplands, making a region of natural beauty, well watered from the tributaries of the Monongahela River and Wheeling Creek. There are still a number of covered wooden bridges throughout the county, from fifty to a hundred years old, a very old double bridge crosses Ten Mile Creek, one mile east of Waynesburg; formerly an old forge and furnace were on this creek.
Many Indian village sites that were occupied long before the advent of the whites are here; their age is indicated by large old trees growing on their mounds; three distinct forms of ancient burial are found here, showing that three waves of population swept over this land before the coming of the Europeans; the two principal Indian mounds now in the county, are at Crows Mills. Two great Indian trails crossed the southern part of the state, the Warrior Branch passing through this county to the Ohio River. A chain of forts crossed Greene Co., ending at Fort Zane, now Wheeling; three are especially well known-Fort Ryserson and Block House at western end of county; Fort Jackson west of Waynesburg; and Fort Garard on Whitely Creek; seven miles west of Greensboro, the birthplace of Robert J. Burdette, and his eminent sister Mary G. Burdette.
The earliest glass works were established by Albert Gallatin, on the Monongahela in 1785; which was the forerunner of the vast business in Pittsburgh and nearby vicinities. The first settlers were Scotch-Irish. Chief industries were agriculture and the mining of bituminous coal; the Pittsburgh vein of rich depth and highest coking value, and three other veins, almost as rich, namely, the Waynesburg, Freeport, and Mapletown. Oil and gas production being very valuable, with are a number of gas-pumping stations within the county. The Philadelphia Gas Company had one in Brave, which is reported to be the largest in the world. Near Brave is Jollytown, with a monument to Jesse Taylor, first Greene County soldier to fall in the Civil War.
Greene County Pride:
The longstanding pride in the County's agricultural heritage is exemplified by the fact that Greene County is home to the nation's oldest continuing fair, the Jacktown Fair, which was first held in 1865. Other agricultural festivals include the Greene County Fair, held annually in August at the county fairgrounds; the Sheep and Fiber Fest (started in 2003) celebrates the heritage of sheep, wool, and fiber.
Other events promote the historical framework of Greene County including the Carmichaels's King Coal Show (in late August), Rain Day (July 29 annually), the Greensboro Arts Blast, the Covered Bridge Festival and so much more. The covered bridge festival is a very successful heritage tourism partnership with Washington County that celebrates the architectural heritage of covered bridges.
Greene County Promotions:
One of Greene County's visible attractions for travelers is the I-79 Kirby Welcome Center. The visitor's center is one of the finest in the state that provides visitors with information about Greene County and Western Pennsylvania.
Our welcome center serves travelers entering Pennsylvania from West Virginia, and hosts can provide information about Pennsylvania's cultural, historical, private and scenic attractions as well as the latest road and weather conditions. As an added service to visitors, a free accommodation reservation service is provided to more than 1,000 Pennsylvania hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or campgrounds.
The Welcome Center is also a full-service rest area facility providing restrooms, vending machines, picnic spots and pet areas. Personalized travel counseling is available for visitors entering Pennsylvania from West Virginia, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. (Voice Phone: 724-627-7331) or for additional information, go to: www.dot.state.pa.us
The Greene County Pennsylvania I-79 Visitor's Center is also the location of our Miner's Monument. In the courtyard, to the right of the center, is the Miner's Monument. It serves as a memorial to miners who died in a mine explosion directly beneath the monument. The memorial features a likeness of the famous mine labor leader John L. Lewis. On the reverse side of the monument, is a roll of Greene County Miners. (Click image for more ... )
Brochures: Click here for a brochure about historical Greene County. Read about the history of Greene County through many of our famous landmarks and historical buildings. Sites illustrated in this brochure include the first Greene County Courthouse, the Greene County Historical Museum, the Warrior Trail, Mason-Dixon Park, W. A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop, the Greene Academy, the Greene River Trail, and the Thomas Hughes House.
Greene County Heritage:
Greene County has a rich and diverse history that is reflected in its rural countryside, historic villages, and covered bridges. The County has 42 sites identified by the National Register of Historic Places (2006), including three historic districts and seven covered bridges that provide a foundation on which to base future tourism development. County officials are working closely with community-based historical groups and residents to support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect historic and archeological resources.
Following is a listing that places an emphasis on our "strong cultural heritage" through historical sites and annual events that occur within Greene County:
Covered Bridges: symbolize small-town America. Something from the nineteenth century, a little archaic and strange to nineteen-nineties eyes and certainly unfamilar to the Y2K generation, picturesque and sentimental, "kissing bridges" recall a time when life was simpler and closer to the land if only in our dreams. Covered bridges complement autumn leaves and autumn emotions. Photogenic and often remote from the interstate highways and cities of the twentieth century, covered bridges lure the explorer to find the little streams and dirt roads that the twentieth century has almost passed by.
Like the Willow Tree Covered Bridge built in 1875, and so many others in Greene County, couldn't withstand the test of time. At one time these wooden shrines numbered as many as 35 throughout Greene County, but now there are just seven left standing/some functional and some have been restored. These historical landmarks and romantic structures resembling the past can be found in Cumberland, Morgan, Center, Wayne and Greene Townships. Click The following covered bridges remain standing throughout Greene County:
the Carmichaels Covered Bridge, Cox Farm /Lippencott Covered Bridge, King Covered Bridge, the Neddie Woods Covered Bridge, Scott Covered Bridge, Shriver Covered Bridge, and the White Covered Bridge.
Click here for detailed information about our covered bridges.
Mail Pouch Barns: are barns with one or more sides painted from 1890 to 1992, in advertisement for the West Virginia Mail Pouch chewing tobacco company (Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company), based in Wheeling, West Virginia. At the height of the program in the early 1960s, there were about 20,000 Mail Pouch barns spread across 22 states.
Click here for detailed history and information.
Greene County Museum: is located on Rolling Meadows Road in Franklin Township. The brick building that houses the Museum was originally the county’s poor farm, which was a home and workplace for indigent men. Constructed in the 1860’s, the museum has 52 rooms and is maintained and operated by the Greene County Historical Society. The Museum is home to the Harvest Festival, Spring Festival, Civil War re-enactment, Whiskey Rebellion re-enactment and other special events. It is estimated that approximately 6,000 visitors come to the Museum yearly.
Click here for more history on the museum.
Old Log Courthouse: located on Greene Street near the Waynesburg Fire Department. The historic courthouse is a two-story log house that was built in 1797.
The Cornerstone Genealogical Society is housed in the original Greene County Courthouse. The Society is a non-profit 501(c)3 entity, holds monthly meetings, and has approximately 530 members. Due to the growing popularity, the Society constructed an addition to the original courthouse in order to create a library and store genealogical records.
This has become one of the biggest tourist attractions in Greene County and approximately 1800 to 2000 visitors come each year to research their ancestry. The historic log courthouse is also used by various community organizations and groups for meetings as well as home to school programs in May. During the summer, visitation reaches over 200 people daily.
Click here for more information on the old log courthouse.
W. A. Young Machine Shop and Foundry: located on Water Street in Rice’s Landing, the Foundry was built in 1900 by William A. Young. The Foundry is a prime example of America’s industrial heritage and is operated by the Historical Society. Open for tours, the Foundry is full of antique equipment and live demonstrations (by appointment).
Click here for more information on the Foundry.
Greene Academy of Art: located in Carmichaels (Old Town), the Greene Academy was built in 1791 and operated between 1791 and 1810. It is listed on the National Registry of Historical Sites. (North Market Street Carmichaels, PA 15320 - Phone contact: 724-966-2731 & to schedule tours). Click here for additional information.
Mason-Dixon Park: located at 79 Buckeye Road (between Core, West Virginia and Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania). The historical park holds the stone marker that designates the point at which Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were forced by a group of angry residents to halt their westwarad surveying expedition. The resulting line was named after the two men and served as the boundary between free and slave states in the Civil War. It is still occasionally used as a boundary between the American north and south. The park offers primitive campany, a fish pond, and seasonal activities.
Click here (Source: www.masondixonhistoricalpark.com) for additional information about the park and the line boundary restoration.
General Stores: that have been around for many years and are still operating (as of 2012); click here for images.
Greene County Fairs and Festivals - Past and Present:
Brief History of Fair's past:
Carmichaels Fair was held in September 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, October 1920, and September 1921.
Jefferson Fair the fairgrounds adjoined Jefferson Borough on the road to the Mather collieries and comprised of 31 acres with a number of buildings. In May 1919, the fairgrounds was sold for a reported price of $17,000. The buildings were sold off and the area was divided into building lots. Seventy-three lots were sold for $13,202 at a public acution (September 20, 1919).
Wind Ridge Fair known today as the Jacktown Fair, and is the oldest continuous running fair in the nation; first held on October 3 & 4, 1865, and today is held in annually in mid-July. The fairgrounds is located on Route 21 about 20 miles west of Waynesburg. The first few fairs were 'Day Time Only', then oil and gas lights were hung in trees as there was little activity at night. In 1927, the Fairboard realized they needed to carry the Fair over into the nights and started investigating a lighting system. Click here to read more about the wind Ridge (Jacktown) Fair.
Waynesburg Fair the initial fair was held in about 1867 and was located on the south side of Waynesburg, east of Morgan Street (in the area currently holds the Waynesburg University Football Stadium). For several years in the early 1890's, no fair was held in Waynesburg. By 1911, the new Waynesburg Fair and Agricultural Association had formed and purchased the 60-acre farm of R.S. Sayers, located 1/2-mile east of Waynesburg where it resides today. The first fair was held there on October 3-6, 1911.
Click here for more history of the Greene County Fair.
Present day Fairs, Festivals, and more... learn about today's fair, festivals, and other area events, just click here for a brochure, featuring the Covered Bridge Festival, Harvest Festival, Greene County Fair, Riverfest, Jacktown Fair, Frontier Fest, Arts in the Park Festival, Bituminous Coal Show, Rain Day Festival, and National Pike Days Festival.
Greene County Agricultural Fair(formerly Waynesburg Fair) the initial fair was held about 1867 in Waynesburg and was sponsored by the Waynesburg Central Fair Association. It took place on the fairgrounds, which was then located on the south side of Waynesburg, east of Morgan Street (in the area where the current Waynesburg College football field). Click here for the Greene County Fair website of events and information.
Jacktown Fair(formerly Wind Ridge Fair) "You'll never die happy until you go to the Jacktown Fair" is a saying which dates back for more than a century. As Jacktown Fair is the nation's oldest continuing fair, which was first held on October 3 & 4, 1865. Click here for the Jacktown Fair website of information.
King Coal Festival The year of 1953 was proving to be a difficult one for the town of Carmichaels and the coal mining industry. Hundreds of local miners had lost their jobs due to the mechanization of the surrounding coal mines. Click here for additional information.
Sheep & Fiber Fest "Celebrating the Heritage of Sheep, Wool & Fibers in Greene County" began its annual festival in 2005. Click here for a website of information.
Rain Day in Waynesburg ("Waynesburg's Claim to Fame") Rain Day got its beginning in 1874 in the Daly & Spraggs Drug Store, located in the center of Waynesburg. Legend has it that one day a farmer was in the drugstore and mentioned to Byron Daly that it would rain the next day, July 29, 1874. Click here for an account of "The Rain Day Boys" and here for the rain day events.
50's Fest and Car Cruise is held in downtown historic Waynesburg each year in September. Over 200 cars, trucks and motorcycles of all years attend this family event every year. The "rides" get to park in front of our stores and in nearby parking lots.
Click here for the website of information.
Greene County Museum Annual Harvest Festival is held in mid-October at the Greene County Historical Society Museum in Waynesburg, and offers something for everyone. Area crafters, artisans, demonstrations, re-enactments, encampments and skirmishes. The sights and sounds of fall intermingle to welcome guests to the annual festival. Click here for more information.
Rices Landing Pumpkin Festival held at Pumpkin Run Park in Rices Landing, PA is held the first weekend in October. Crafters, food, contests, interactive crafts, pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie eating contest, pumpkin painting and more.
Greene County recreational & entertainment background Greene Countians did not lack for recreational opportunities during the early years (1916-1921, World War I). Hunting and fishing were always popular in such a rural setting. Occasionally, the state authorities took steps to improve hunting opportunities, such as the release in March 1920, by Gail Sines, Greene County's game warden, of a number of pairs of Texas quail, a popular game bird. The county's leading fox chasers belonged to the Tri-State Fox Hunters' Association, which held its annual fall meeting at Mt. Morris in October 1917. John H. White of Brave was president and G. Edward Huffman of Waynesburg was secretary.
Click here to read more on county recreation and entertainment of the past.
Viable Farmland, Livestock, Crops, and more in Greene County:
Farms: The number of active farms has been increasing in Greene County. Since 1997, Greene County experienced a two percent increase in the number of farms. This indicates a strong interest of residents to maintain a working agricultural business. Additionally, the size of Greene County farms has also grown, which is a reflection of the desire to expand farm holdings. In fact, the average size of a farm in Greene County is larger than that of any comparison county in Southwestern Pennsylvania, with an average size of a farm at 161 acres.
Sheep In the later part of the 1860's, Greene County became Pennsylvania's second largest producer of wool.
Crops: Tomatoes by the ton (2009): Jack Davin grows tomatoes as a business at his Forever Greene House on Route 21 near Rutan; he grows plants six-feel tall in mid-April, and 870 tomato plants in a 30- by 30-foot greenhouse next to his home. He uses hydroponics, a method in which all the plants' nutrients are supplied through water, without soil. Davin grows about 30,000 pounds of tomatoes a year. (Source: Greene County Living, Summer 2009, p12-13. Story by Bob Niedbala)
Farmers Market: a summer attraction of purchasing locally grown products can be substantiated with the success of the Waynesburg Farmers Market sponsored by Waynesburg Prosperous and Beautiful. This event features fruits, vegetables, meat products, baked goods, and jam/jellies/sauces that are prepared or grown by local farms. Initially started in 2005, attendance has grown over the years with an average spending per shopping group of $12 to $15. Customer satisfaction surveys revealed that shoppers frequent farmers market to purchase farm products and support the continuation of the market.
Click here for more information on the farmer's market.
Livestock Auction, going since the 1930s: (Source: Greene County Living, Summer 2009, p7. Story by Colleen Nelson)
"The arena at the livestock auction is a cross section of society, from farmers buying and selling the livestock to local residents buying a horse and saddle for their children." The Pennsylvania Livestock Auction building is located in West Waynesburg (Bucktown) off Rt. 21 in Greene County. Trucks loaded with bawling livestock pull through to the weighing station, leaving deep tire tracks in the gravel and grass of the parking lot.
Vendors display their wares while standing beside their vehicles, and shoppers rumish over tools, toys, plants, and other odds & ends. Tables are loaded with boxes of fresh produce; saddles and tack decorate tailgates. The area in front of the old wooden building with the silver rool and its name painted in big block letters on the side is filled. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, every Thursday is auction day in Waynesburg. This piece of rural history on the hoof comes alive as it has since the 1930s. That's when the narrow-gauge railroad stopped running between Waynesburg and Washington and trucks and auctions became the way to do business.
Rich in tradition and touch with the color of a carnival, the auction continues to draw farmers, livestock buyers, impulse shoppers and those who just stop by for a good home-cooked meal.
Joe Friend bought the Waynesburg business in 1971, he also owns auctions in Grantsville and Accident, Maryland. He runs them all with the help of his family and an extended family of loyal employees who make the food, balance the books and manage all those animals for sale. He occasionally does the auctioning, but his son Joe Jr., normally does the auctioning now.
The long wooden building started life as the Waynesburg Sheet, Tin and Forge Mills in 1900. A group of local investors led by Belgium horse breeder and auctioneer Charles Orndorf, bought the site and turned it into a livestock auction in 1936.
Hunting and Gameslands in Greene County:
Hunting: Greene County is flanked to the south and west by West Virginia and the Monongahela River on the east. It's an area of rolling hills in the Appalachian Plateau knows for the narrow valleys and steep, narrow ridges. Greene County is one of the top producers of whitetail deer and turkey harvests. Good populations thrive through the county. In general, Greene County offers a mix of habitat for wild game. Agricultural land in the valley and wooded slopes of massive crops and plentiful fruits and flowers, all help support healthy populations of big and small game.
Our area churches and restaurants prepare hearty meals for the hunting season with special hours to accommodate your early morning, lunchtime and dinner appetites after a rigorous and successful day of hunting. (Source: Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency 08-09 Visitor Guide, p27, Historic Section)
Whitetail Deer with a healthy deer population spread across the entire area, Greene County offers a mix of public and private land for whitetail hunters. Many areas are under-hunted and the deer population is very high. In addition to the three State Game Lands in Greene County: Ryerson Station State Park, just off of SR 21 south of Wind Ridge, offers another 1,000 acres of public land open to hunting.
Pheasants / Turkey Southwest Pennsylvania is known to be excellent turkey habitat with high harvests each year. Wild turkeys are widespread throughout Greene County and are readily available on the same game lands and other public hunting areas as whitetail deer.
Squirrel For a squirrel hunter, Greene County is the place to be ... extensive tracts of mature forests with heavy mast trees mean squirrel habitat is superior. Both gray squirrels and big fox squirrels are abundant throughout the county and hunting pressure is light.
Raccoon If you love dogs and enjoy the thrill of the chase, you need to learn more about coon hunts and coonhounds. Greene County has an active coon hunting club (Greene County Coon Hunters) and they offer a variety of hunts during spring and summer. Coon hunting today is much different than it was decades ago. Modern coon hunts still rely on wild raccoons, but the hunt ends when the coon is treed. Firearms are not permitted and the entire sport is governed by rules developed by various dog registreis. At a typical event in Greene County, dogs and their handlers pay an entry fee and must be registered with the sanctioning organization.
Fishing The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission regularly stocks seven stream sections in Greene County; in addition to two lakes receiving trout in a typical year. Stocking generally include pre-season additions in March followed by one or two in-season stockings in May. All stream sections receive mixtures of brown trout and rainbow trout, while lakes receive rainbows.