Braddock Road tour stops await visitor input in Mt. Pleasant area
By A.J. Panian
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Some stops signifying the pathway of Historic Braddock Road through the Mt. Pleasant area are “smartphone-friendly,” according to Cassandra Vivian of the Mt. Pleasant Area Cultural Trust.
The trust recently completed its first project — a brochure, guide and signage for the historic road through area with the help of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society, Mt. Pleasant Borough, and Mt. Pleasant, Bullskin and East Huntingdon townships.
The committee which marked the trail, researched its history and determined the route is composed of Vivian along with Bill Hare, Kathy Pieszak and Mike Tabita. The signs have been installed a total of nine local stops on the tour.
Three of the stops where signs are posted are also equipped with QR (Quick Response) codes — the Overly Log Cabin Visitor's Center in the borough, Greenlick Lake in Bullskin and the Native American Village at the Westmoreland Technology Park in East Huntingdon.
“A QR code is like a barcode but it is used by smartphones to take the user to a certain (online) location,” Vivian said.
The code offered at the three Braddock Road sites allows those with smartphones to access a page on the historical society's website — mphistory.com, Vivian said.
“There you will find both the brochure on the road in our area and also the guide that follows the trail of signage recently erected. There will also be a place for travelers to leave their comments,” she said.
Those with smartphones who wish to scan can download the QR code app via a simple search, Vivian said.
“I think that everything, nowadays, is geared toward easing access to information, whether it be over the Internet, or whatever,” said Bill Hare, a Mt. Pleasant resident who spoke about the road's history at a seminar last spring along with fellow experts Norman Baker of Virginia and James Steeley of Greensburg. “If people didn't have access to any trail-related information before, they can zoom in with their smartphone and access it. I think it's really handy.”
Mt. Pleasant Borough Manager Jeff Landy said he admires the fact that the trust is using technology to supplement its historical endeavors.
“It's ironic when the words ‘technology' and ‘historical' are in the same sentence, but it shows they're being progressive,” Landy said.
The trust was awarded funding from the Westmoreland County Tourism Grant Program administered through the Laurel Highlands Visitor's Bureau for the brochure and guide, which are now complete and being distributed, Vivian said.
The items provide a history of the army's travels in the area.
At each important location, a sign has been erected to mark the route. The signs correspond with a number in the guide.
The signage, which was paid for and will be erected and maintained by the various townships and the borough, is the same as was used by the Braddock Road Preservation Association at Jumonville in Fayette County, Vivian said.
It is hoped that other groups will pick up the idea, do the research, and link all of Braddock Road under the same brand of signage, Vivian said.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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