In Pennsylvania, all roads lead to history.
To help find your path, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) has blazed several special-interest trails leading to some of Pennsylvania’s most historic sites. We invite you to explore one site at a time, travel an entire trail, or create your own road trip to Pennsylvania’s past.
No matter whether you choose one of our classic trails, a trail based on PHMC’s annual themes, or if you blaze your own, we’re sure it will lead you to experience and embrace the people, places, and events that make Pennsylvania so special.
History is just ahead! With over 300 years of American history at your fingertips, which trail will YOU take? Follow Pennsylvania Trails of History through our nation’s farming, industrial, military and community roots. Jump in the car, fill the tank and spend a day traveling back through the centuries. Plan your journey today!
For more information about the Pennsylvania Trails of History and it's journey through our nation's farming, industrial, military and community roots CLICK HERE!
Brandywine Battlefield Park (Brandywine, PA)
The Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site brings to life the largest engagement of the Revolutionary War, through educational and living history events. The battle was fought on September 11, 1777, between the Continental Army, led by General George Washington, and the British forces, headed by General Sir William Howe.
Bushy Run Battlefield (Jeannette, PA)
Colonel Henry Bouquet and a force of approximately 400 British soldiers left Carlisle in July 1763 to relieve the besieged Fort Pitt and end a series of unchecked attacks against frontier outposts. The opening of western Pennsylvania to settlement was the result of a decisive victory over the Native Americans at the Battle of Bushy Run, August 5 and 6, 1763. Highlights of the site include the interpretive exhibit, “The March to Bushy Run” at the site’s visitor’s center, as well as guided and self-guided tours, special events, and educational programs.
Conrad Weiser Homestead (Womelsdorf, PA)
The Conrad Weiser Homestead interprets the life of Conrad Weiser, an 18th century German immigrant who served as an Indian interpreter and who helped coordinate Pennsylvania’s Indian policy. He played a major role in the history of colonial Pennsylvania. The Conrad Weiser Homestead includes period buildings on a 26-acre Olmsted-designed landscaped park.
Cornwall Iron Furnace (Cornwall, PA)
America’s most complete charcoal fueled ironmaking complex, the furnace was originally built by Peter Grubb in 1742, underwent extensive renovations in 1856-57 under its subsequent owners, the Coleman family, and closed in 1883. It is this mid-19th century ironmaking complex which survives today. At Cornwall, furnace, blast equipment, and related buildings still stand as they did over a century ago. Here visitors can explore the rambling Gothic Revival buildings where cannons, stoves, and pig iron were cast, and where men labored day and night to satisfy the furnace’s appetite for charcoal, limestone, and iron ore
Daniel Boone Homestead (Birdsboro, PA)
Daniel Boone’s parents first settled the site in 1730 and the region was populated by many diverse people – English, Welsh, Scots-Irish, Germans, Swedes, Huguenots, and Lenape Indians. Daniel was born there in 1734 and spent his first 16 years there before his family migrated to North Carolina. Today, the site tells the story of Daniel’s youth and the saga of the regions 18th century settlers by contrasting their lives and cultures. This region left a lasting impact on Daniel Boone’s life, and on the history of Pennsylvania.
Drake Well Museum (Titusville, PA)
Drake Well Museum tells the story of the beginning of the modern oil industry with orientation videos, exhibits, operating oil field machinery, and historic buildings in a park setting. Recreational opportunities provide family adventure when combined with Oil Creek State Park bike and hiking trails, which begin at the museum. Picnic pavilions, fishing, and canoeing on Oil Creek, and a ride on the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad are also available.
Eckley Miners’ Village (Weatherly, PA)
Eckley Miners’ Village is an example of a planned nineteenth century industrial coal mining town. Companies often designated and constructed rural communities to house their employees in close proximity to the collieries or factories at which they worked, which allowed the company to maintain a greater control over their employees. Eckley Miners’ Village represents the lives of immigrant anthracite coal miners and their families as they lived through the industrial revolution.
Ephrata Cloister (Ephrata, PA)
One of America’s earliest religious communities, the Ephrata Cloister was founded in 1732 by German settlers seeking spiritual goals rather than earthly rewards. Gathered in unique European style buildings, the community consisted of celibate Brothers and Sisters, and a married congregation of families. At the zenith of the community in the 1740s and the 1750s, about 300 members worked and worshiped at the Cloister. Today, the National Historic Landmark is open for tours, special programs, and on-going research opportunities.
Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara (Erie, PA)
The Erie Maritime Museum opened in May 1998. As homeport of the U.S. Brig Niagara, it presents the story of the Niagara as the reconstructed flagship of Pennsylvania and the warship that won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Offering a wide range of multi-media and interactive exhibits and coupled with lively interpretative programs, Erie Maritime Museum vividly illustrates Niagara’s history and the region’s rich maritime history
Fort Pitt Museum (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Fort Pitt Museum, located in historic Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, is a two-floor, 12,000-square foot museum that tells the story of Western Pennsylvania’s pivotal role during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and as the birthplace of Pittsburgh.
Graeme Park (Horsham, PA)
Graeme Park is a 42-acre historic park, featuring the Keith House, the only surviving residence of a Colonial Pennsylvania Governor. The mansion has remained virtually intact since the late 18th century. It was home to Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson, who famously hosted her literary “Attic Evenings.” A visit to Graeme Park is nature trails, a picnic lunch, and a visit with the politicians, physicians, patriots, loyalists, poets, and writers who frequented the Keith House.
Hope Lodge (Fort Washington, PA)
Hope Lodge was built between 1743-47 by Samuel Morris, a prosperous Quaker entrepreneur. Morris acted as a farmer, shipowner, miller, ironmaster, shop owner, and owner of the mill now known as Mather Mill. Hope Lodge is an excellent example of early Georgian architecture, and it is possible that Edmund Wollery, architect of Independence Hall, offered advice in building.
Joseph Priestley House (Northumberland, PA)
The Joseph Priestley House is an historic site that preserves and interprets the contributions and significance to American history of Joseph Priestley, noted English theologian, educator, natural philosopher, and political theorist. As a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Chemical Landmark, the site features Priestley’s manor house with its laboratory wing situated along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River at Northumberland, PA – the place Priestley called home from 1794-1804.
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum (Lancaster, PA)
Landis Valley Museum, a living history village and farm, collects, preserves, and interprets the history and material culture of the Pennsylvania German rural community from 1740 to 1940 and enhances understanding of their successful practices, interactions with others, and the impact on the state and nations for citizens of and visitors to the Commonwealth.
Old Economy Village (Ambridge, PA)
The Harmonists, a Christian communal society, founded the Old Economy Village in 1824. The Harmonists were known for their piety, as well as for the economic successes in textile manufacturing, including silk production, and later in the oil and railroad industries. The village features gardens and 17 buildings furnished with original artifacts.
Pennsbury Manor (Morrisville, PA)
The recreated country home of William Penn in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, provides a peaceful contrast to the hurry of modern American life. The construction of the original manor was an expression of Penn’s belief that life in the country was more wholesome than in the worldly atmosphere of crowded cities. Exhibits, programs, and tours of the site explore William Penn’s “Holy Experiment,” his family, and other people who lived, worked, and visited at Pennsbury, including stewards, servants, Native Americans, and enslaved people.
Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum (Scranton, PA)
The Anthracite Heritage Museum tells the story of the people who came from Europe to work in the anthracite mining and textile industries. Visitors will experience the lives of proud people who endured harsh working conditions, yet carved out communities filled with tradition. The diverse collection highlights life in the mines, mills, and factories. Visitors are welcomed into the family’s homes and neighborhoods with a moment of reflection in the kitchen, a visit to the pub, or a seat in a local church.
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum (Galeton, PA)
The Pennsylvania Lumber Museum preserves and interprets the colorful heritage of the Commonwealth’s prosperous lumber era when white pine and hemlock were the wealth of the nation. Exhibits also explore the birth of professional forestry and modern forest management practices. Take a tour of the grounds where a 1912 Shay-geared logging locomotive, Barnhart Log Loader, Brookville Locomotive, and restored CCC Cabin are on display.
Pennsylvania Military Museum (Boalsburg, PA)
The Pennsylvania Military Museum recounts the story of Commonwealth citizens who served our county in defense of the nation. Their service is highlighted through exhibits and artifacts that are documented by the museum’s excellent collection of vehicles, uniforms and other personal effects, and small arms.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg, PA)
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania houses one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world. Devoted to preserving and interpreting the broad impact of railroad development on society, the Museum displays over 100 locomotives and cars from the mid-19th and 20th centuries, including the priceless Pennsylvania Railroad Historical Collection, and houses extensive exhibits of railroad artifacts, plus priceless art work, books, photographs, and corporate railroad material.
Scranton Iron Furnace (Scranton, PA)
Located near the Steamtown National Historic Site, the Scranton Iron Furnaces represent the early iron industry in the United States. The four massive stone blast furnaces are the remnants of a once extensive plant operated by the Lackawanna Iron & Steel Company. Started in 1840 as Scranton, Grant & Company, the firm had the largest iron production capacity in the United States by 1865. By 1880, it poured 125,000 tons of pig iron, which was converted in its rolling mill and foundry into T-rails and other end products.
Somerset Historical Center (Somerset, PA)
The Somerset Historical Center is a 150-acre rural history museum located 4 miles north of the town of Somerset, Pennsylvania. The Somerset Historical Center preserves the history of life in rural southwestern Pennsylvania from the times of the region’s first farmers to the present day through exhibits, workshops, and educational programs.