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Celebrate Fred Rogers’ birthday with trail trip | TribLIVE.com
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Celebrate Fred Rogers’ birthday with trail trip

Jeff Himler
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Jim Judkis/Focus Features/AP
This image released by Focus Features shows Fred Rogers on the set of his show “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” from the film, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor. This image released by Focus Features shows Fred Rogers on the set of his show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” from the film, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”

When spring officially arrives on March 20, there will be yet another cause for celebration.

It would have been the 91st birthday of Fred Rogers, the late Latrobe native and children’s television icon, and the perfect time to explore his life and legacy at area stops along The Fred Rogers Trail.

Saint Vincent College

One stop that shouldn’t be missed is the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College in Unity, where an exhibit includes memorabilia from the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show, a “Speedy Delivery” letter-writing station and recorded interviews with Rogers.

Added opportunities include viewing photos from the Fred Rogers-Lynn Johnson Collection and posing in “pop-ups” of Rogers’ trademark sweater and the Neighborhood trolley. Regular weekday hours at the center are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In celebration of Rogers’ birthday, visitors that day may pick up a free poster and enjoy a birthday cupcake, served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the college’s Carey Center Lounge. Before leaving, they can visit the campus bookstore to check out Rogers merchandise on sale.

Latrobe area

Just a short drive away in the Latrobe area are two more trail stops. Visitors can pose next to a statue of Rogers seated on a bench at the James H. Rogers Park, which honors Fred’s father, at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets in downtown Latrobe. They can visit Fred Rogers’ final resting place at Unity Cemetery, 114 Chapel Lane, Latrobe.

Pittsburgh

The trail heads west to Pittsburgh, where Rogers produced his children’s television show. The Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., features a large collection of artifacts from that show — such as King Friday XIII’s castle and Mr. McFeely’s tricycle.

On the city’s North Side, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, has its own collection of prized Rogers items. Original puppet characters from the “Neighborhood” include Henrietta Pussycat.

Not far away, an even larger seated statue of Rogers, depicted tying his sneakers is part of a “Tribute to Children” site along the Allegheny River near Heinz Field.

The full Fred Rogers Trail itinerary can be seen at visitpa.com/fredrogers.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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