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Hanna's Town transports visitors back to 18th century situations

Westmoreland Historical Society - The Hanna's Tavern was reconstructed in 1974
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Westmoreland Historical Society</em></div>The Hanna's Tavern was reconstructed in 1974
Westnoreland Historical Societ - At Hanna's Towns Colonial Court Days re-enactors act out court cases.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Westnoreland Historical Societ</em></div>At Hanna's Towns Colonial Court Days re-enactors act out court cases.

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Hanna's Town events

Hanna's Tavern 40th Anniversary Celebration: 4:30 p.m. June 28. Admission: $25, $5 for children

Colonial Court Days: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. June 28; 2 p.m. June 29. Admission: $5, $4 for children; guided tour is included

Details: 724-532-1935 or

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Emma Deihle
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Ever wonder what it would be like to live in Western Pennsylvania in the 18th century? A visit to historic Hanna's Town is your chance to travel back in time and step into a world of petticoats, Conestoga wagons, civilian militias, even capital-court cases.

“One of Westmoreland County's best-kept secrets,” according to Westmoreland County Historical Society education coordination Joanna Moyar, Hanna's Town sits nestled in the hills outside Greensburg.

But rather than remain a secret, Moyar hopes this year's Colonial Court Days and the Hanna's Tavern 40th anniversary celebration will draw more visitors than ever before.

Founded in 1773, Hanna's Town served as the first English court west of the Allegheny Mountains. Hanna's Tavern was reincarnated in 1974 and opened to the public for tours, after the farmland was sold to the county in 1969 by the William Steel family, Moyar says. Unfortunately, no map of the town remains, so Moyar says reconstructors and the volunteer firefighters who aided in rebuilding had to rely heavily on archaeology and historical documents to recreate the site.

Guests will see the fruits of the rebuilders' labor at the 40th anniversary celebration June 28, which will include a guided tour of the tavern, views of the Proctor's Militia encampment, period music and dance and a barbecue picnic after the site closes at 4:30 p.m.

But the frontier fun doesn't end there. On June 28 and 29, visitors also will have to the opportunity to watch re-enactments of colonial-era, Revolutionary War-era life and recreations of early republic court cases that would have been tried there.

Among the cases are an indentured servant girl accused of stealing clothing and allegations against a town horse thief. Participants will see what consequences criminals of the 1700s would have faced.

This year's event will also feature a new capital case involving a Native American man accused of murder.

“Re-enactors strive to be as accurate as possible,” Moyar says. But in order to be accurate, the Historical Society has to spend a proper penny, or two.

“It's a very expensive hobby,” Moyar says, laughing. “But, if you're trying to portray an era and a certain class of person during that period, you want to be authentic.”

Don't miss Hanna's Town Antiques and Collectibles Markets every second Sunday of the month and the upcoming Family Friday program titled “Drums of Native Sisters” on July 19.

Emma Deihle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8513 or

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