North Pittsburgh Region
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Visit one-room historic Schools in the area and see what it was like to go to school before cell phones and computers.
Cemeteries are a fairly common feature of roadside landscape. But here’s an itinerary of some cemeteries you probably don’t pass everyday.
Begin your drive at 200 Union Church Road, one mile east of Mars-Evans City Rd., south of Callery. Behind Old Union Presbyterian Church, James Glover is buried in the middle of the 7th row of graves. Glover was Butler County’s first permanent white settler and a Revolutionary War veteran. Head northwest to the Evans City Cemetery, one mile south of PA-68, off Franklin Rd. Much of the 1968 zombie movie “Night of the Living Dead” was filmed here! There is also a monument honoring Civil and Spanish-American war veterans.
Take PA-68 West to Harmony and the Harmony Society Cemetery. Commune members lived in this now National Historic Landmark District from 1804-1814. The cemetery holds about 100 graves and the gate is an easily movable one-ton revolving stone! The Harmonists did not believe in marking graves, so all remain unmarked.
Near Harmony, between US-19 and Mercer Road, is the Harmony Mennonite Meetinghouse and Cemetery. It is the oldest Mennonite Meetinghouse west of the Alleghenies and its last regular service occurred in 1902. The cemetery dates back to 1815. While in Harmony, have some lunch at the Harmony Inn or Otto & Gerts.
From Harmony, take I-79 North; get off the Portersville exit onto Route 488. Pull out your Moraine State Park map from this guide’s center spread to find 10 cemeteries within the park’s boundaries! Continue north on Route 528, then go east on West Liberty Road. About one mile on the right is the B.W. Snyder Cemetery (40 degrees 58 minutes N, 80 degrees W). This is the largest cemetery within Moraine State Park, containing 20 stones, all dating back to the 1800s. Back on Route 528, continue east to the end of West Liberty Road and turn right onto Muddy Creek Road. Make another right onto North Country Club Road. After about 1.5 miles, there is a parking lot. From there, you can access three more cemeteries within half a mile of each other. First is the Harris or Shaffer Cemetery, (40 degrees, 57 minutes N, 80 degrees W) which is enclosed by a hand-cut stone wall. This cemetery contains three headstones, dating back to 1827. It was rebuilt in 1964 due to vandalism. Next, walk to the left, where you will find a horse cemetery. “Judge Saulsberry” is buried here, under a plaque. Further to the left is the third of the larger cemeteries within the park, the McBride Cemetery (40 degrees, 57 minutes N, 79 degrees, 59 minutes W). It is south of the Earl Stamm farm, in the middle of an old field. Six persons are buried within this cemetery, all of whom were born in the 1800s; one of the stones is flipped over.
Travel north on Route 8 to Slippery Rock for a unique dinner experience, complete with spirits. The North Country Brewing Company building used to be a funeral home! Don’t worry, that’s now history! You deserve a good meal and a cold brew too.
Other Notable Stops
Travel east on Route 422 and take Cornetti Road south toward West Winfield. On Sasse Road is Wooden Cross Cemetery which contains a marker for the worldwide influenza pandemic that killed 550,000 in the U.S. alone. This marker commemorates the many Eastern European immigrants buried here. North of Sarver, at the intersection of Route 356 and Cooper Road, is a monument and marker at Pape or Hannahstown Cemetery. Buried here is William Andrew “Uncle Billy” Smith, the man who drilled Edwin Drake’s first producing oil well near Titusville, Pa., in 1859.
A northbound One-Room Schoolhouse tour concluding in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
Start your morning off with a clean slate in Cranberry Township, where the historical society offers our first one-room schoolhouse of the day, Sample School. See what it was like to go to school before cell phones and computers. Afterwards, take a ride North on Route 19 to Baldinger’s Food From All Nations. This candy and specialty foods store fits well into the old-fashioned theme of the day. It still has the original crank cash register and “penny candy” that costs a penny!
For a nice lunch and another history lesson, continue North on Route 19 to The Kaufman House. This vintage hotel restaurant was built in 1837, three years before Zelienople became a borough! Enjoy a tasty meal and you just might learn something, too! For afternoon history lessons, follow Route 68 to Route 422 East into Butler where you can visit the Little Red Schoolhouse. This schoolhouse dates back to 1838 and was the first public school built in Butler. It is currently a living history museum recreating the one-room school experience for school classes.
From Butler, take Route 8 North to Slippery Rock to visit the Hickory Corner Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is now located on Slippery Rock University’s campus, but was named for its original location at the intersection of Hickory Corner and Unionville Road in Franklin Township. Back in its heyday, eight grades would be taught at the same time within this one room.
To finish up the day, travel west on Route 108 and stop at The Birdwatcher’s Store. This store is a newly-remodeled century-old schoolhouse!