Buttermilk Falls Natural Area
New Florence, PA 15944
This site features an impressive 45 foot waterfall and scenic woodland. The 48-acre natural area was donated to Indiana County Parks in 1995 by the Keystone-Conemaugh Group, owners of the nearby Conemaugh Generating Station. As a natural area, the site has been set aside to protect both typical and unique plant and animal communities and to protect outstanding examples of natural beauty. Between 1931 and 1956 the property was owned by Fred McFeely, grandfather of Fred Rogers of children's television fame. McFeely, a wealthy industrialist from Latrobe, PA, utilized the property as a retreat. His estate featured a cottage, horse stables, a three car garage, outbuildings and a swimming area in the creek above the falls. Mr. Rogers often visited the site as a child. Stone foundations and retaining walls from the estate are visible at the site.
Indiana, PA 15701
Although the smallest of the County Parks, Memorial Park is one of the most historic sites within Indiana County. Originally surveyed in 1774, the site was once a church cemetery. Many graves are still located in the park. During the Civil War, the site served as a hiding place for travelers of the Underground Railroad. The park's doughboy statue was erected in 1923 by a group of citizens led by Alex Stewart, father of the actor James Stewart. Nearby, is the Clark House and former Armory building, now home of the Indiana County Historical and Genealogical Society.
Saltsburg Canal Park/Contact: Saltsburg Borough
Saltsburg, PA 15681
Running the entire length of Saltsburg Borough is a 62 foot wide section of greenway known as Saltsburg’s Canal Park. The Park is located on the site of the former PA Mainline Canal that later became the PA Railroad and now overlaps a section of the West Penn Trail. Visitors will enjoy a scenic, river-view walkway enhanced by informative historic signs, a footprint of Canal lock #8, a footbridge, and benches and picnic tables for relaxing moments. Also, a section of the Park, known as North Park, now includes Saltsburg’s Veteran’s Memorial. The water-wave paved sections of the Park between Washington and Market Streets serve as the location for setting up community special events such as vendors’ booths and food stands during Canal Days and Saltsburg’s lighted Christmas Trees display during the month of December.
The Eliza Iron Furnace
The Eliza Furnace is a National Register site regarded as one of Pennsylvania's best preserved iron furnaces. Dating from 1846 the Eliza Furnace is one of only a few iron furnaces remaining in the United States which still retains its original heat exchanger piping. The two-acre site is leased to Indiana County by the Cambria County Historical Society. Eliza Furnace was constructed in 1845 and 1846. At its peak, the furnace employed over 90 people and utilzed 45 mules to produce about 1,080 tons of iron a year. The furnace was not a financial success, and operated only three years. Difficulties in transporting iron by teams of horses to Ninevah on the Pennsylvania Canal, poor-quality local ore, and a significant drop in iron prices sealed the furnace's fate. Despite its early closing, Eliza Furnace helped bring the industrial revolution to the Blacklick Valley. A detailed history of the furnace is available here in PDF format. Additional information about Eliza Furnace and other iron furnaces in Pennsylvania can be found at the Industrial Archeology and PA Iron Furnace Sourcebook websites.
Tunnelview Historic Site
Saltsburg, PA 15681
The Tunnelview tale begins with the Pennsylvania Mainline Canal. A 900' portion of canal visible at the site was part of the canal's Western division. The route extended from Pittsburgh to Johnstown, where the Allegheny Portage Railroad began. Once over the Alleghenies, passengers continued their trip to Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
Constructing the canal through the rugged terrain of the Alleghenies was a monumental undertaking. Faced with steep terrain and a sharp bend in the Conemaugh River, engineer Alonzo Livermore routed the canal through Bow Ridge, the narrow strip of land within the riverbend. Once through the tunnel, the canal continued over a stone arch aqueduct across the river. This was the only site on the canal with an aqueduct and tunnel next to one another.
The Western division of the canal operated until 1852, when maintenance problems, financial insolvency, and competition from the railroads brought an end to the brief canal era in Pennsylvania. The canal tunnel was sealed off as part of the Conemaugh flood control project in 1952.
By 1864, the Pennsylvania Railroad had constructed a new tunnel and stone arch bridge here for its subsidiary, the North West Railroad. The PRR completed construction of another tunnel here in 1907, when the railroad was realigned. This realignment required the construction of a stone arch bridge which still stands. The bridge withstood the 1936 Johnstown Flood. A sign on the stone arch bridge shows the high water mark.
In 1952 the PRR realigned its trackage again, and constructed the high level iron bridge standing today. Today the bridge carries trains of the Norfolk Southern Railway. A fourth tunnel was constructed through Bow Ridge in 1989 to deliver water to a nearby hydroelectric power station.