"World War II Hometown Heroes"

Open Saturday and Sunday 12 to 4

In tribute to all the brave noble service personnel and civilians who enabled the United States to achieve victory in WWII, the Fayette County Historical Societyfeatures "World War II Hometown Heroes" at the Abel Colley Tavern and Museum.

The second floor features stories and artifacts of our Fayette County heroes and heroines from Medal of Honor winner Alfred E. Wilson to the experiences of the 359th Engineer Company E as they lay pipeline in the European theatre, to the "Mad Russian", Lt. Michael Roskovich, to Jewish refugee Lisa Lott Pollak Burger, and many others.

This exhibit will be telling Fayette's story in three parts: Part One, The Home Front, including programs and projects, like the Victory Gardens, War Bonds, Scrap drives, Book drives, etc.

Part Two will show how local industries contributed to the war effort and supported the troops. These industries will include mining, agricultural, glass and manufacturing plants that became militarized. Included will be documentation on the “Captive Mine Strike” of 1941. Visitors will learn about the reaction by President Roosevelt, the outcome of the mining strike and its impact on the people in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Third Part will be the War Front. The Fort Mason Historical Society, many members of the Fayette County Historical Society, BARC, Ed at the California Army Navy Supply, and Fayette County Residents have loaned many items for display in this section. It includes photos, artifacts and other unique items and stories that show how Fayette County helped to win the war.

The exhibits opened on Saturday, March 24 at noon and will be open Saturday and Sunday, last admission at 4:00 PM, until June 39. Admission is $5.00 per adult. We invite you to attend this very special exhibit and experience a reminder of that most significant era in our history.

We also encourage everyone to visit exhibits and events sponsored by our Partners in this project. Please check individual websites for more details.

Brownsville History and The Melega Art Museum by BARC will be open on Sundays from 1 to 4pm melegaartmuseum.org

East End Community Center, located 150 Coolspring Street, Uniontown on Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM eeucc.org Fayette Cultural Trust Connellsville Canteen is located at131West Crawford Avenue, Connellsville. Their mission is to enrich the area’s quality of life by promoting the cultural, artistic, historic and natural assets and by creating partnerships to revitalize communities and further economic development. www.ConnellsvilleCanteen.org.

Uniontown Public Library, located at 24 Jefferson Street Uniontown will be open from Monday to Saturday, hours vary. uniontownlib.org and fayetteparoom.wordpress.com


Past Events

Iron Puddling at Upper Middletown

A First In America

It is often only with the hindsight of many years of history that we can recognize a movement that made a sea-change in the life of a natiom. Two hundred years ago, on September 15, 1817, a unique event occured in the small village of Upper Middletown, Fayette County, western Pennsylvania. It was a unique event in that it represented the first operation, in America, of the iron puddling process.

This event is historically significant because it was a major step forward in transforming brittle pig iron, produced in early blast furnaces, into malleable materials, wrought iron. The introduction of the puddling process in America, together with an innovative way to roll a variety of bar shapes, can be attributed to the persitence of a Welsh entrepreneur, Thomas C. Lewis. and the local Western Pennsylvania ironmaker, Issac Meason.

Join The Fayette County Historical Society and The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission on Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 3:00 for the dedication of the official state historical marker commemorating The First Puddling Furnance in the United States.

America's First Puddling Furnace Marker Dedication Ceremony

Open link for your invitation to the ceremony and reception.

History of the County

Fayette County, carved from Westmoreland County in 1783, was named for the Marquis de Lafayette, the French hero who aided the American colonists in their fight for freedom from England. Early exploration and mapping of the rich forests and fertile valleys of this region was done by Thomas Cresap and Christopher Gist in 1750-51 working with the native Americans . Gist built his home on a large tract of land known as Gist Plantation, near the current site of the Isaac Meason House, a National Historic Landmark near Mt. Braddock. He joined Wendell Brown and sons who had earlier settled in the western part of the county . Gist left the area with George Washington after the defeat at Fort Necessity, but his son Thomas Gist returned and reclaimed their property after the end of the French and Indian War. Other early settlers were Col. William Crawford, also a friend of Washington's, who came to the area in 1765 and built a log cabin where Braddock Road crossed the Youghiogheny River, near Connellsville.

Abel Colley Tavern Stew

In keeping with the tradition of hospitality of the National Road, and our facility's origin as an tavern/inn, we are sponsoring a contest to identify the quintessential menu item that represents the National Road Era. Our September meeting will be devoted to sampling and selecting the specific dish.

Peter Colley born onboard a ship enroute to this country opened his 1796 tavern to early travelers. We don't know any of his recipes, but do know of the great fireplaces he had in his tavern, particularly the one in the basement that was big enough to cook a steer. Abel, his son and builder of our Abel Colley Tavern, carried on this tradition first at his very successful Green Tree Tavern and later at the fine brick house we occupy. Because they were Irish and because soups and stews were a mainstay of colonial diet, stew was likely a standard item on their menus.

For some time we have been trying to develop a signature dish. We recently enjoyed the tasty stews made by Woody Kelly and Jo Lofstead this May, which not only fed our hungry bellies but proceeds from their sale fed our equally hungry coffers. Both could be contenders, but we want to be sure we come up with a stew that can become the featured menu item during the annual National Road Festival. The stew will be just the beginning as we will also develop a complete meal: bread, dessert and a drink.

So put on your chefs' hats, pull out your family favorites, or hunt through those recipes handed down from your parents and grandparents, or research on line for some traditional 19th century tavern fare and submit your suggestions via mail or e‐mail to us for one of us to prepare if you live too far, or come to our September meeting on the 12th to show off your skills.

Dukes-Nutt Article

Pike Day Pictures