The adventures of Pioneer Girl travelling with enthusiastic Camper Barn Owl Guy

Started as a blog about my trip from Pittsburgh to California in a Ford Pickup, hauling a 30' refurbed trailer/camper. Ah, California Dreaming, 'n all that. Found that adventures can be long distance or in your own neighborhood... I look for my own twist on local sites, don't take the known for granted...and always find something new. It's easy, just open your eyes..

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harmony and WWII..and Mom

Greetings Pioneers!....Today, GPS coordinates track me in none-other-than Ambridge, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles downstream from the fork where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet  to form the mighty Ohio river.  Traveling west on PA Route 910, of which is part is the Orange Belt, and then the Red Belt at Sewickley Creek Road, I wend my way to work through a rural community passing by a Blue Herron Rookery, which is quite a sight to see in the Spring.  Although, I reside in this town about forty hours a week at my job as a lowly network administrator, sometimes I believe I need to open my yes and marvel at the history that was made right here where I stand.  So with pioneer spirit in mind, I take us to the historically famous Ambridge.

Way back before the town of Ambridge was formed, lots went on here!  A branch of the Iroquois tribe known as the Mingo's lived and thrived here under the  leadership of of  Tanacharison, who appears in history beginning in 1747.  He claimed his father was boiled and eaten by the French, but I think that may be a complicated, and distasteful story.

George Rapp House
And then in 1825, a religious community call the Harmony Society settled here at the site of Old Economy Village where they farmed, and  created quite a successful a village of commercial and industrial activity, and the faithful were given assurances that the Son of God would arrive in 1829 order to prepare them for the kingdom of heaven.  But that didn't happen, the place went into crisis, split up, and eventually the Harmony Society dissolved in 1905.

Long story short, but that is where I am today, at the Old Economy Village, which is under renovation right now.  The Village located at 14th and Church Streets, is being renovated right now, and so I was not able to tour the site, but it does offer an education  glimpse into the daily lives of the Harmonists, including blacksmithing, weaving, and there are about 80 Harmonist houses to view.  The village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania. I was able to walk about, peer through fences and windows.... I love this stuff...

LST launching in Ambridge, PA
Closer to home, historically, in 1905 Ambridge was incorporated, and  got it's name from The American Bridge Company, which dominated the area for quite some time.  Thousands of immigrants came to work here. American Bridge was a pioneer in construction of river barges, leader in fabrication of suspension bridges, like the San Francisco-Oakland Bridge, also Empire State Building, Sears tower and 3Rivers Stadium and Civic Arena right here in Pittsburgh.  American Bridge built the LST (Landing Ship, Tanks) during WWII which was sort of like a "mother ship," carrying assault boats to places like Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion.   A lot of women came to work as welders and such during that time, when the men were off to war.  And the BEST FEMALE WELDER IN THE US, MY BEAUTIFUL MOTHER, came from Donora, PA to work as a welder at that time.  Coincidentally, right in the exact same location as I current work now.  So my Mom joined a lot of women as pioneers, working outside the home in jobs that were created for men.  Isn't that a coincidence!

Well, that's my pioneer story for today.  Who know where scout and I may end up the next time.  I've taken a liking to the little historical plaques along the side of the roads and highways that no one reads...

Keep the pioneer spirit going....ciao, Pioneer Girl xoxo

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