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Butler County, Pennsylvania

Updated on November 10, 2015

About 15 minutes north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lies Butler County. With a fairly large urban area, as well as miles and miles of rolling hills and beautiful farmland, Butler County, Pennsylvania is a rapidly growing county that offers something for everyone.

In 2012, the city of Butler received the distinguished honor of being named the seventh most livable small town in the United States by Smithsonian Magazine.

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Butler County CourthouseMars, Pennsylvania SpaceshipButler County Symphony JeepWashington's Trail
Butler County Courthouse
Butler County Courthouse | Source
Mars, Pennsylvania Spaceship
Mars, Pennsylvania Spaceship | Source
Butler County Symphony Jeep
Butler County Symphony Jeep | Source
Washington's Trail
Washington's Trail | Source

History of Butler County

Founded in 1800, Butler County was named after General Richard Butler, a colonial soldier in the American Revolutionary War. At the beginning of the French & Indian War, future President George Washington passed through the area on an expedition. His route can still be followed today on Washington's Trail, a series of roads which wind their way through Western Pennsylvania.

There is a large German influence in Butler County that remains today. This influence is found in the towns of Saxonburg and Harmony. Like Harmony, Saxonburg still retains its German ambience. It was co-founded in 1832 by John Roebling who designed the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, Saxonburg hosts the Penn's Colony festival which explores life in the mid-1700s. The festival draws over 60,000 people a year.

In more recent history, the original "Jeep" was created and manufactured in Butler, PA. The Bantam Car Company designed it in 1940 for use in World War II. While it was not manufactured in Butler for very long because the government decided to use another car maker for its vehicles, the car left its mark. Every year the city of Butler holds a Jeep festival which draws thousands of visitors along with their Jeeps.

In the 1950s, the city of Butler was one of the first cities in the United States to install bells at cross walks. The city is also home to one of the original Ford car dealerships that was authorized by Henry Ford when car dealers were started.

Butler County Demographics

 
 
Average Temperature in Summer
72°
Average Temperature in Winter
26°
Precipitation
40 inches
Size
793.3 Square miles
Population
174,112
Number of Townships (Municipalities within the county)
33
Average Household Income
$49,764
Data taken from Butler County Chamber of Commerce, butlercountychamber.com
Butler County and it's townships and boroughs.
Butler County and it's townships and boroughs. | Source

Present Day Butler County

Today, Butler County remains largely rural with over 1,100 farms, but in the southern end of the county large businesses and factories abound. Some of the county's largest employers are AK Steel and Westinghouse and corporations continue to move into the area.

For the last 150 years the county has been hosting the Big Butler Fair which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. The county is also home to a symphony and a number of theaters including the Butler Little Theater.

Cranberry Township, in the southwestern corner of the county, was recently recognized as one of the fastest growing communities in the Northeastern United States.

From colleges and museums to historical attractions and outdoor adventures, Butler County, Pennsylvania offers something for everyone. The following points of interest are just a few of the highlights found in this fascinating county located in Western Pennsylvania.

The Historic Village of Harmony

Harmony, Pennsylvania
Harmony, Pennsylvania | Source

The village of Harmony was founded in 1804 by Harmonists, led by Johann George Rapp, who were dissenters of the German Lutheran church. Today, the village remains and many of the lovingly restored homes bear historical markers indicating who lived there originally. The museum is a highlight of the town along with the numerous quaint shops. During the holiday season the village hosts a German Christmas Market along with various other events throughout the year.

Slippery Rock University

Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock University | Source

How did Slippery Rock get its name?

It is said that "Wechachochapoka" or Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania got its name during the French & Indian war after a soldier, being chased by Seneca Indians, was able to escape because the Indians slipped on the rocks due to the moccasins they were wearing. Some even claim that the soldier that escaped was George Washington. Fact or fiction, no one will probably ever know.

Located in the northwestern area of the county, Slippery Rock University (SRU) attracts over 8,000 students a year. It is well-known for its teaching degree and sports degree programs. During the school year SRU offers a performing arts series that often draws big name entertainers. The university is also home to the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research and the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center. The Equestrian Center provides Equine Assisted Activities (EAA) for individuals with disabilities as well as community programs in the summer months.

Wolf Creek Narrows

Wolf Creek Narrows in full springtime bloom.
Wolf Creek Narrows in full springtime bloom. | Source

Run by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Wolf Creek Narrows' spring blooming wildflowers are spectacular and draw visitors from near and far. The wildflowers include, triliums, Virginia bluebells, violets, phlox, spring-beauties and trout lilies. Hiking along the banks of the Wolf creek brings visitors to a narrow gorge and through dense deciduous forests. The trail is 1.5 miles long and hilly, but manageable.

The Maridon Museum

The Maridon Museum
The Maridon Museum | Source

Housing over 800 pieces of Asian art and 300 pieces of Meissen porcelain, the Maridon Museum is a unique museum in Butler County. The artifacts, along with the building, were gifts from Mary Hulton Phillips.

The Old Stone House Museum

The Old Stone House Museum
The Old Stone House Museum | Source

Run by Slippery Rock University, The Old Stone House was built in 1822 as a tavern and carriage stop on the route from Pittsburgh to Erie, Pennsylvania. Today it hosts reenactments, tours, ghost hunts and other fun activities.

Moraine State Park
Moraine State Park | Source

State Parks in Butler County

Moraine State Park

  • A true gem in Butler County, Pennsylvania, Moraine State Park is the third largest park in the state. It is home to Lake Arthur which is used year round. The park offers a 7 mile long bike trail through beautiful woodlands, hiking trails, 20 miles of horse trails, cabin rentals, a disc golf course, boating facilities, swimming facilities, kayak trails, cross country ski trails and snow mobile trails. If a visitor is lucky, they can catch a glimpse of a Bald Eagle as it soars over the lake.

Jennings Environmental Education Center

  • Located next to The Old Stone House Museum, the Jennings Environmental Education Center is home to a very rare relict prairie that is unique in Pennsylvania. Visitors can walk through the prairie and search for the endangered Massasauga rattlesnake or enjoy one of the other hiking trails with interpretive signs along the way. They can also take advantage of one of the numerous educational programs are offered at the facility.

North Country Trail

  • Hikers using the North Country Trail will hike through beautiful scenery in Butler County, finding many interesting stops along the way.

What does Relict mean?

Relict means a part of an organism or species that has survived from an earlier time while the rest of it has become extinct.

Fun Facts

  • Horror fans will be thrilled to know that George Romero's 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead was filmed in Butler County, Pennsylvania.
  • Diehard baseball fans may already know that Lou Gehrig, Whitey Ford and Joe Dimaggio all played a few games in the Pullman Park minor league ballpark.

Famous Faces

You might be surprised to know who comes from Butler County.

  • Bret Michaels - Lead singer of the rock group Poison
  • Marc Blucas - Actor
  • Brian Minto - Heavyweight Boxer
  • Khalil Greene - Baseball Player
  • Matt Clement - Baseball Player
  • Bill, Rich and Ron Saul - Professional Football Players
  • Eleanor Burns - Quilter

Butler County Points of Interest

show route and directions
A markerMoraine State Park -
Moraine State Park, 225 Pleasant Valley Rd, Portersville, PA 16051, USA
get directions

B markerHarmony, PA -
Harmony, PA, USA
get directions

C markerSlippery Rock University -
Slippery Rock, PA 16057, USA
get directions

D markerThe Maridon Museum -
The Maridon Museum, 322 N McKean St, Butler, PA 16001, USA
get directions

E markerJennings Environmental Education Center -
Jennings Environmental Education Center, 2951 Prospect Rd., Slippery Rock, PA 16057, USA
get directions

Why come to Butler County, Pennsylvania

A trip to Western Pennsylvania is not complete without a visit to Butler County. There are numerous historical attractions and the outdoor amenities can keep visitors busy for a long time. Many newcomers to the area choose to live in Butler County because of its proximity to Pittsburgh, its reasonable cost of living and the many rural areas.

All in all, Butler County, Pennsylvania is a terrific place to visit and to live in!

Sources

  • butlercountychamber.com
  • visitbutlercounty.com
  • sru.edu
  • maridon.org
  • oldstonehousepa.org
  • dcnr.state.pa.org
  • wikipedia.com

© 2012 Glimmer Twin Fan

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I always love hubs like this one; I get to learn so much about areas I have never visited. Great information my friend, and loved the pictures. Well done!

    • Kimberly Vaughn profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 4 years ago from Midwest

      Great hub! I saw the picture for Slipper Rock University and automatically thought "That is an interesting name, I wonder how it got that name." And, then you answered my question right below. Very intuitive!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for the interesting tour. I'm afraid I only visited Philadelphia.

    • bankscottage profile image

      bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Like Slippery Rock University, this Hub is Rock solid! My brother lives in Wexford and a good friend lives in Seven Fields so we get to the area often. I've even been to Mars. One of the best restaurants in the Pgh area is Clifford's, in Evans City. It is one of our favorites. Check it out the next time you are in the area, but you'll need a reservation.

      Voted up, interesting and shared.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much Bill. If you ever get out this way you have to visit! I love the tropical destination hubs, especially on the cold gray days we have been having around here lately!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Kimberly - Everyone asks that and lots of people from everywhere have heard of Slippery Rock because of the funny name. It's always fun hearing the stories behind the name. I appreciate the comments.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi Mhatter - The Western part of PA is really interesting too! I think people still have the perception that it is all smoke and steel mills and it really is not anymore. Thanks for commenting!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for your support bankscottage! I wish it had been a little sunnier when I was out taking pictures. I'll have to look into that restaurant. Have a great day!

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Wow - Butler County has some fantastic interesting sites as well as famous people. George Washington, the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, the invention of the Jeep for WWII. The German Christmas Market sounds delightful as does hiking and biking through beautiful wildflower lined trails. You can even partake in a ghost hunting tour and reenactments. Sounds like an interesting place to visit.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks so much shiningirisheyes! Butler County is a great place!

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      ESPeck1919 4 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Very interesting hub. I love all the history you'd included. Maybe I'll be able to take a look at some of those parks the next time I take a road trip to NY.

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      There is a lot of information here about Butler County. If you live there you are lucky ,it sounds wonderful with parks, Art , History and ghosts. I think the rolling green hills/ small mountains in Pennsylvania are beautiful in the fall of the year. I have driven threw there lots of times on the way to my friends home in Frederich, Maryland. Well done Hub.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks suzzycue! Frederick is a gorgeous area too, but Butler county has a few more hills around.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks ES! We are only about 4 hours from NY state so depending on where and how you go, it may be on the way.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      I love all the typical American names, my dad used to say he would love to visit pennsylvania, something to do with a cousin? lol! great hub and voted up! nell

    • hadashot profile image

      Marci Barnes 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA

      Great resource for when we want to "get away" for the day! Thanks for all the research!!

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Glimmertwinfan this is an awesome hub and if you wrote it for the review contest you need to add the star rating capsule near the top. It would be a shame not to enter this hub about a place. Good luck. Great writing.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Nell - Pennsylvania is a really neat state. If you ever make it over here, make a stop in the state. You won't be disappointed. Thanks for commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi hadashot - Straight up 79 will get you to Butler and you are right, it makes a good day away. Thanks for commenting.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Interesting idea suzzycue. I never really intended for the hub to be a review, but it sort of turned out that way. I'll have to think about that suggestion. I really appreciate your comments.

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Your welcome. You have a great shot at winning I think.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      I kept thinking..."Why does Butler County, sound so familiar to me? What have I ever heard about it before? Then it wasn't long I SAW why....Years ago, my nephew attended and graduated from Slippery Rock. My sister and I spent a few days there, during his graduation week-end. We had a great time. I remember it as being very pretty and peaceful....Thanks for this great hub. I thoroughly enjoy reading about places....not too terribly far away, that are interesting to learn about and to visit!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Cool! I love it when people have been to the Butler area. I'm always amazed at how many people have heard of Slippery Rock too. It is peaceful...sometimes too peaceful. Sometimes I need a little city life. Thanks for commenting fpherj!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Wolf Creek looks like a really nice park and one that I would enjoy visiting. Love the old buildings and German influence on this town. I enjoyed your history lesson and sharing on this towns highlights. Thanks.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks teaches. What is really neat about wolf creek is that it is almost hidden away and not at all built up. Unless one knows about it, chances are you won't go there. I appreciate the comments.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Butler County in Pennsylvania sounds absolutely lovely. If I ever get up there I would enjoy getting to see and do most all of what you featured with one great exception. I do not believe that I will spend much time searching for the endangered Massasauga rattlesnake. Ha! Lots of history in that part of the country! Up, useful and interesting votes. Will share!

    • FreezeFrame34 profile image

      FreezeFrame34 4 years ago from Charleston SC

      Having lived in Butler for twenty-seven years, I think you did a great job on this hub! SRU is my alma mater and people constantly ask me, "where is that?" Great hub!

      I always had plans to write a hub on Butler, but you beat me too it! Great job!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Hi Peggy W. It is a really nice place and I have not seen the rattlesnake yet! We keep looking though. Thanks for the support!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I appreciate the comments FreezeFrame! When I was taking photos I noticed the SRU's campus has loads of new buildings. Thanks.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I've been to Pennsylvania, but only once, and we only passed through there on our way to ...heck, I think Rhode Island was where we were going.

      I thought it was very beautiful, and I loved the very tall and thick trees that were so obviously different from the kind that grow in my own area of living.

      I also thought it was EXTREMELY cold, LOL! It was a Spring Break vacation...

      That old courthouse is wonderful...and my small town once had a beautiful one too, but they foolishly tore it down, and built the ugliest thing imaginable :/

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image
      Author

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Thanks Wesman Todd Shaw. Sad when I see beautiful historic buildings torn down. Luckily this one is still around. PA, especially northwestern PA can be real cold this time of year. Thanks for the comments.

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