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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Exploring Pittsburgh’s Point State Park

Downtown Pittsburgh and Point State Park

Downtown Pittsburgh and Point State Park

Out of all of the things to see in Pittsburgh, the one I wanted to visit the most was Point State Park and Fort Pitt. After all, this is the one place that has the most history – something that gets me in full geek mode – in a town that I was surprised to learn has a very deep and rich past. It was at this spot, at the confluence of the three rivers – the Allegheny, the Monongahela, and the Ohio – that Pittsburgh was founded in 1758.

A map of Pittsburgh's Point State Park

A map of Pittsburgh’s Point State Park

European trappers and traders moved through the area in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1753, the British built a small fort in the area, but were soon chased out by a larger force from France. They, in turn, were pushed out by a larger British force lead by General Edward Braddock. George Washington – yep, that George Washington – was his aide, and is celebrated quite thoroughly to this day in the Pittsburgh area.

George Washington at the Pittsburgh Airport

George Washington at the Pittsburgh Airport

Heck, there’s even a statue of the man at the airport…right next to Franco Harris and the Immaculate Reception.

Pittsburgh played a prominent part in the French and Indian War, which seems fairly obvious due to its location. What surprised me, though, was that it was also a significant western front during the Revolutionary War, had a part in the War of 1812, and also the Civil War. I had always assumed all of those wars were fought farther to the east – and the bulk of them were – but Pittsburgh was a strategic point along the three rivers in the west. And today all of that is remembered and documented at the Fort Pitt Museum.

The Fort Pitt Blockhouse

The Fort Pitt Blockhouse

Before heading into the museum, my friend and I stopped in at the Fort Pitt Blockhouse. It is the oldest standing structure in Pittsburgh, built just outside of the walls of the British fort – which are marked on the ground by a line of stones throughout Fort Pitt State Park – by Colonel Henry Bouquet in 1764. Today it is a small museum operated by the Fort Pitt Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Artifacts inside the Blockhouse

Artifacts inside the Blockhouse

I enjoyed stopping in at the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, seeing the various artifacts inside and the historical markings from floods throughout the years, but the main attraction is the Fort Pitt Museum. The museum is constructed where the southwest battlement for the where the fort once stood. A line of stones leading up to the doorway marks the spot of where the fort’s wall once stood.

The Fort Pitt Museum and the outline of the fort's old wall

The Fort Pitt Museum and the outline of the fort’s old wall

The whole history of the town and region is recounted at the Fort Pitt Museum with several fabulous videos and exhibits. I had only anticipated spending no more than an hour in there, but when we left we realized we had done more than that and had still only scratched the surface of everything on display. It really is a fantastic museum with a lot to see and experience. Add to it the opportunities to enjoy the park for what it is – a fun place to run, bike, and play – and Point State Park is easily one of the best spots in Pittsburgh.

Point State Park and Fort Duquesne's tracery

Point State Park and Fort Duquesne’s tracery

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2 Comments on “Exploring Pittsburgh’s Point State Park”

  1. Traveling Ted (@travelingted) May 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    I remember reading about Braddock’s defeat in history class. Did not know Pittsburgh played a part in the French and Indian War, but it makes sense since it is a key geographic area.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Five Things To Do In Pittsburgh | Jason's Travels - June 12, 2013

    […] 2. Play in Point State Park […]

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