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Visiting Allegheny County, PA

Updated on December 21, 2012

Visiting Picturesque Allegheny County

Allegheny County and the Allegheny River Valley are very picturesque.
Allegheny County and the Allegheny River Valley are very picturesque. | Source

Allegheny County Helped Industrialize America

Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and Pittsburgh helped to industrialize our nation. Some of our earliest coal mines and oil wells can be found nearby. These resources helped get the steel out of the ground and turn it into railroads, locomotives, ships, cars, bridges and buildings. As a hub for all this mining and steel production Allegheny County also became a hub for the railroads, with lines extending north, south, east and west.

What Does Allegheny County Have That Pittsburgh Doesn't

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania is a great place to visit. The county features an enormous amount of historical landmarks, museums, galleries and other attractions that visitors to Pittsburgh may not get to see. The problem is that not many people know that Allegheny County is home to Pittsburgh, PA. The popularity and history of the city and county seat has nearly eclipsed the county in notoriety. Yes, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer but Allegheny County has even more.

Allegheny County is situated in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and was founded in 1788. The county was founded by English colonials and eventually became part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The history of the county goes far deeper than that and is one rich with color. Before the arrival of Europeans the Allegheny River valley and what is now Allegheny County was settled by various tribes of native Americans. The word allegheny is thought to mean "fine river" in one native language.

The first Europeans, the French actually, arrived in 1749. They settled the area, built a fort and used the area for trapping and hunting. The British, who recognized the usefulness and strategic importance of the area, tried several times to take it from the French. Fighting over the area was eventually resolved during the French and Indian War, when England took control.

The troubles did not end though with the formation of Allegheny County and the birth of our nation. New Federal taxes caused residents to rise up in rebellion and put the new American government to the test. Low corn prices had caused many residents to enter the whiskey business. The newly formed national government thought that they should tax the whiskey. The taxes, thought to be unfair, were not paid and troops had to be sent in to settle the affair.

Other states have even laid claim to Allegheny County. At one time Virginia included it in their state boundaries and imposed local government (at the same time as Pennsylvania). This caused no end of confusion for local residents who did not know which state they lived in. The matter was settled when the two stated agreed to extend the Mason-Dixon Line westward, putting Allegheny County firmly in Pennsylvania.

Lots To Do In Allegheny County PA

The Weather In Allegheny County

Allegheny County can have some truly spectacular weather. The county is situated in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with an elevation ranging between 750-1400 feet above sea level. Summers are warm and can be wet in the early parts and dryer as the season wears on. Fall is one of my favorite times to visit. The weather is crisp and the changing leaves are breathtaking. Winters can be harsh, with heavy snows from time to time. Layers and a sturdy pair of shoes are a good idea for winter visitors. In the spring it tends to be wetter and muddier than any other time of the year, much like other areas of the Appalachians.

Where To Stay In Allegheny County

Allegheny County features a full selection of lodging and accommodations. In the city and near the airport there are more than 25 hotels to fit every budget and lifestyle. There is also a thriving B&B/Inn scene. Independently owned and operated inns and B&B's can be found in every corner of the county.

Travelers visiting for one night or the weekend my want to choose lodging that is centrally located. The airport or downtown areas may be the best choice. These areas are full of attractions including restaurants and shopping that are easy to reach by car or public transportation. If you are staying longer finding a nice place out of the city has some advantages. It will allow you to relax without the hustle and bustle of the Pittsburgh metropolis and get the feel of the Western Pennsylvania Appalachian Mountains.

Pittsburgh Area Hotels And Lodging

Allegheny County Bed And Breakfasts

HIstoric Allegheny County

Streets paved with brick are only one of many historical features of Allegheny County.
Streets paved with brick are only one of many historical features of Allegheny County. | Source

Allegheny County Attractions

  • Ohio River Bike And Pedestrian Trail - A system of greenways, trails and parks along the Ohio River front from Pittsburgh to Coraopolis. The trails are currently under construction and will eventully include dozens of miles of trails connecting the two towns and other important trails systems in the area.
  • National Aviary - This is the United States national bird zoo. The aviary features 8 main exhibits with dozens of smaller side exhibits including an interactive aviary full of lorikeets.
  • Pittsburgh Conservatory And Botanical Gardens - Also know as the Green Heart Of Pittsburgh the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been in operation since 1893. The gardens and plants of the world are brought to life in this vast indoor garden. The conservatory is wheelchair accessible and features a cafe, gift shop and guided tours.
  • Carnegie Museums - There are four Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh. Carnegie made his fortune with Pennsylvania steel and he repaid the community with many public works. These include the museums of art, science, natural history and the Andy Warhol Museum.
  • Allegheny County Arts And Theatre - Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh operate a system of publicly funded arts and theatre. This includes ballet, opera, theatre and a symphony orchestra.
  • Pittsburgh Zoo - The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium are situated along the Ohio River. The zoo encompasses 7 habitats and a variety of other exhibits including the Kids Kingdom. The zoo features world wildlife as well as local Pennsylvania creatures and a petting zoo.

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