Mt. Pleasant project showcases Braddock Road
By Linda Harkcom
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
In the mid-1700s, a road was built that became the heart of western expansion in America.
That passage, now known as Braddock Road, was blazed directly through the Mt. Pleasant area, yet few know some of the local roads they drive on every day were once part of the historic thoroughfare.
The newly formed Mt. Pleasant Area Cultural Trust has set out to ensure traces of Braddock Road will be more visible to members of several area communities and the tourists they attract.
The group recently announced the completion of its first project — a brochure, guide and signs noting the locations where Braddock Road passed through the Mt. Pleasant area.
“It is one of the most historic roads in Pennsylvania and it runs through the heart of Mt. Pleasant,” said Cassandra Vivian, one of the trust's members.
In addition to the trust, members of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society and leaders in Mt. Pleasant Borough and Bullskin, East Huntington and Mt. Pleasant townships have worked together to make the project a reality.
The trail was marked, researched and its route was determined by the work of Vivian, Bill Hare, Kathy Pieszak and Mike Tabita, who are all borough residents.
Purchasing of the signs was financed by the involved municipalities. Officials in each one will erect and maintain the signs.
“We agreed to purchase the signage for two locations in our township to keep our history alive in this day and age,” said Frank Puskar, chairman of the Mt. Pleasant Township board of supervisors.
The signs are the same as those used by the Braddock Road Preservation Association at Jumonville in Fayette County. Association officials use the same signs to mark the route of Braddock Road through its site.
“Robert Adamovich, one of our BRPA board members, designed the sign and has given permission for it to be used by other organizations to mark the actual trail cut by Braddock's men through the frontier,” said Jaye Beatte, the association's secretary. “Of course, we approved the idea, ordered the signs and we are very excited to extend the identification of the road and to increase the awareness and preservation of the history of the Braddock Road, which later became the first national road.”
The new brochure provides a history of local military activity during the time when the road was forged.
It also includes a detailed tour of Braddock Road vestiges from Greenlick Lake in Bullskin to Jacobs Creek, then into Mt. Pleasant Township and Mt. Pleasant Borough, East Huntingdon and the Westmoreland Technology Park located there.
The signs will be erected at what the trust members determine are a historically important locations along the route.
Signs will correspond with numbers in the guide.
The brochures were funded by a grant from the Westmoreland County Tourism Grant Program administered through the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau.
The brochure and guide are now complete and are currently being distributed.
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.
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