Western Pennsylvania's First National Historic Landmark District

 
     
 
 
   

218 Mercer St.
Harmony, Pa 16037

724-452-7341

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Harmony Museum Weavers Make It - Take It Classes on August 15

Harmony, Pa. -- Weave a wool scarf or rag rug on a pre-warped loom with the assistance of instructors at the Harmony Museum’s Weavers Log Cabin annex on Saturday (Aug. 15) -- and take it home with you.

Capacity is limited for either of two classes, 9 a.m.-12 or Noon-3 p.m., at a cost of $20. The 210-year-old log house is at 245 Mercer St., two blocks from the museum. Proceeds benefit museum operations.

Registration is by e-mail at harmonyweavers@gmail.com, and should specify interest in weaving a scarf or rug.

Harmony was founded in 1804 by pacifist German Lutheran Separatists whose Harmony Society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. Production of wool fabric and goods was a primary commune business activity.

Harmony Museum's Yearly Antique Gun Show Returns to Stewart Hall on Saturday, August 8th

Harmony, Pa. -- Some three dozen specialists present an array of antique guns, accoutrements, swords and related items with a western Pennsylvania-eastern Ohio focus at the Harmony Museum’s 11th annual Antique Gun Show on Saturday, Aug. 8.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the museum’s Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St. Admission is $5 per person, with proceeds benefiting museum operations. A light lunch will be available. Attendees can bring along items for show experts to examine and appraise.

Many items at the show are for sale, although some participating collectors bring firearms or artifacts of historical significance only for display to inform the public. Most are examples of hunting or defense firearms that would have been used by settlers of the region or were products of the nation’s 18th and 19th century development.

The period’s western Pennsylvania gunsmiths as a group developed a style of hunting rifle distinctive to the region that adapted architecture and decorative features from the light, accurate guns first made in eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia. These are commonly known today as the Pennsylvania or Kentucky rifle. American designs evolved from those of heavier German hunting guns called Jaegers, "hunters" in German.

Harmony’s Charles Flowers produced fine percussion hunting and target rifles in a shop only blocks from today’s museum during the second half of the 19th century. At each show since 2005, museum representatives have seen or learned about previously unknown rifles produced by Flowers. The number of surviving Flowers rifles now exceeds 100, including 10 that comprise the museum’s permanent Ball Collection.

Show information and exhibitor registration is available by contacting the Harmony Museum at 724-452-7341.

Harmony’s recorded history began with a Delaware (Lenni Lenape) Indian village visited by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission on behalf of the Virginia Colony to demand the French abandon territory claimed by Britain. The result was the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied northern Indian near today’s Evans City. It missed.

The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded Harmony in 1804, drawn by America’s promise of religious liberty. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-1815, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. In 1825 their congregation built the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies, now a museum annex.

The nine-site Harmony Museum presents this and much more of the area’s uniquely rich history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. National Historic Landmark District and other tours can be arranged by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Allegheny Brass Band Concert Presented July 2 by Harmony Museum

Harmony, Pa -- The Harmony Museum brings the acclaimed Allegheny Brass Band to the town’s diamond, Main and Mercer streets, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, for the first of this summer’s free evening concerts organized by the historic borough’s Parks Board. Fireworks conclude the annual independence celebration. Concertgoers should bring their own chairs.

The 30-plus members of Allegheny Brass Band (ABB), formed in 1984, are among the region’s finest professional and amateur musicians. The award-winning band plays throughout the three-state region and has appeared internationally as well.

Harmony has had a summer evening concert series annually since 1996 to promote the community’s history and local businesses. The Harmony Museum has always sponsored the concert closest to Independence Day. Following concerts, all in the diamond at 7:30 p.m., are scheduled for July 16, Eugene and The Nightcrawlers; July 30, Kardaz; and Aug. 13, John Burgh and Friends.

The town was founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists, one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups, for whom music was an important part of daily life. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory a decade later, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. The area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission seeking French withdrawal from British territory. That lead to the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington near today’s Evans City by an Indian allied with the French.

The Harmony Museum presents guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Guided walking tours and visits to additional sites are available by reservation.

July 17 Harmony Wine-Beer-Chocolates Walk - A Fundraiser for the Zelienople Area Public Library

Harmony, Pa. -- Enjoy a wine, beer and chocolate tasting walking tour through Harmony’s National Landmark and local historic districts Friday, July 17, with stops at the village’s specialty shops, art gallery, bakery, restaurants and the Harmony Museum’s 1809 wine cellar.

The event, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., is a benefit for the Zelienople Area Public Library, supported by the Harmony Business Association with cooperation of Harmony Borough and lead sponsorship by Foreman Design Group. Tour check-in and starting point is The Center of Harmony, 235 Mercer St., a renovated 19th century opera house.

Participating western Pennsylvania wine makers are Baldarelli Winery of Sharon, Courtyard Winery of North East, Fractured Grape Wine Cellars of New Wilmington, and Mazza Vineyards, also of North East. Beer samples are by Full Pint Brewing of North Versailles and North Country Brewing of Slippery Rock. Sweet treats are served up by The Speckled Hen of Saxonburg.

Tour stops, from the east end of the local historic district into the heart of the National Historic Landmark District, are The Center of Harmony, Darn Yarn Needles & Thread, Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes, Harmony Emporium, Harmony Inn, The Exchange at Harmony, Harmony Museum, Bottlebrush Art Gallery, and Stohr Haus Bakery.

Shelley McPharlin of Harmony’s McPharlin Music Shop presents acoustic guitar music at the museum’s wine cellar, and additional entertainments are planned for other tour stops. A Carpenter Ants rhythm and blues concert begins at 8:30 p.m. at Bottlebrush to conclude the evening.

Tour tickets, $20 each including souvenir wine glass and tour map, can be purchased only by those age 21 and older from Harmony merchants, Zelienople Area Library, the participating vendors, and at www.eventbrite.com. If still available, tickets can be bought at The Center of Harmony the evening of the tour. Additional information is available from Zelienople Area Public Library, www.zelienoplelibrary.org or 724-452-9330.

Historic Harmony Joins Blue Star Museums Program

Harmony, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum has joined the Blue Star Museums collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums to offer free admission through Labor Day to military active duty, National Guard and Reserves personnel and their families.

The program, supported by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families, offers service families an opportunity to learn about American cultural heritage as well as their new communities after a military relocation. Participating museums are listed at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

"Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year," said Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. "It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together."

"Historic Harmony, as the nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate operating the Harmony Museum, chose to participate in Blue Star Museums with so many other institutions in demonstrating appreciation for national service of our military’s members," said President John Ruch.

Free admission is available to active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard personnel, National Guard and Reserve members, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps, and up to five family members. Admission may not be free for special or limited-time exhibits at some museums.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with a Delaware Indian village visited by George Washington during his 1753 mission seeking French withdrawal from territory claimed by Britain, sparking the French and Indian War. Its first shot -- it missed -- was fired at him by a French-allied Indian nearby. The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists founded Harmony in 1804, pursuing American religious freedom and separation of church from state affairs. When the Harmonists left in 1814-1815, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania.

The nine-site Harmony Museum presents this and much more rich area history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and historic district and other tours by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 30 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh, less than 10 minutes north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and 30 minutes south of I-80.

Blue Star Families is a nonprofit network by and for military families with 50 domestic and overseas chapters.

The National Endowment for the Arts, established by Congress in 1965, is an independent federal agency that provides diverse opportunities for arts participation in partnerships with other federal agencies, state arts agencies, local leaders and philanthropies.

June 13 Harmony Museum Garden Fair, Plus Spring Fest with Fiber Arts Festival

Harmony, Pa. -- Gardeners attending the Harmony Museum’s annual Herb & Garden Fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, can also enjoy Spring Fest activities along the historic village’s Mercer Street. A fiber arts festival shares The Center of Harmony and the museum’s Stewart Hall, while elsewhere there will be artist demonstrations, live music, food and refreshments, and sales at local shops.

The plant exchange and garden market is at the museum’s 1805 barn annex, 303 Mercer Rd., just across the Connoquenessing Creek from town. Visitors can trade potted plants and shop vendors for plantings and decorative garden items. Vouchers enable exchangers to select plants from other participants. Gardening advice and problem-solving tips will be available from the experts of Butler County Master Gardeners.

Vendors offer vegetables, herbs, perennials, hanging baskets and gardening supplies, plus craft and decorative items. Gwen Lutz’s "A Country Garden: Observations and Advice from Both Sides of the Garden Gate" can be purchased. Lutz, the museum events chair and a gardening expert, will be there to sign copies. A light lunch will be available.

Exchangers and buyers use a drive-through lane to drop off and pick up plants at the barn. Donors and exchangers are asked to pot their flowers, herbs, vegetables, and small shrubs and trees to assure freshness.

Free garden fair parking is available on barn grounds. A free shuttle provided by the Harmony Inn links other parking facilities, the diamond, shops and barn.

The museum, just blocks away at 218 Mercer St. on the diamond, offers three-building guided tours 1-4 p.m. Harmony’s hiking trail between the barn and museum’s picturesque 1825 Mennonite meetinghouse and 1815 cemetery provides an inviting diversion to enjoy wildlife and quiet time along the Connoquenessing and adjacent wooded ridge. At the museum’s Mercer Street Weavers Cabin, visitors can observe loom weaving and, weather permitting, pet live sheep.

Farming and gardening were part of daily life for the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists who founded Harmony in 1804, and for Mennonites who led resettlement in 1815 as the Harmonists departed for southwest Indiana.

The Harmony Museum commemorates more than 260 years of a rich and unusual area history that began with a Delaware Indian village visited by young Virginian George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. The French told him the British should stay out of New France, so a few months later the two empire builders were fighting the French and Indian War that soon became the global Seven Years War. Its first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian allied with the French.

Public Invited to Harmony Museum Flood Plain Discussion Wednesday

Harmony, Pa -- Historic Harmony’s Preserving Harmony Committee invites the public to a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., for a discussion of latest developments involving a proposal to fill in a major part of the local Connoquenessing Creek flood plain.

Creative Real Estate Development Co. of Cranberry Township has withdrawn its application for the permit needed to fill in the flood plain site in the face of challenges raised by the state Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers involving wetland, flood way and related issues. There has been substantial local opposition for more than a decade to Creative’s series of proposals that include filling the flood plain opposite Harmony’s National Landmark and local historic districts, focused around concerns flood conditions would be worsened for Harmony and Jackson residents and businesses in the area.

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co. of Wichita, Kans., is preparing to relocate its area operation to U.S. 19/Perry Highway, south of Wise Road in Jackson Township, where site preparation is expected to begin soon. Creative Real Estate, the project’s developer, proposed flattening the hillside Murphy Tractor site and using the excavated material to raise adjacent property Creative also owns out of the flood plain for a future high-density residential project.

The Murphy Tractor project will proceed, but it appears that the permit withdrawal means material excavated there will remain on-site. Although Creative has subsequently indicated to officials it may reduce the scope of its planned residential development, community concern remains high because modification of the flood plain would still be required.

Historic Harmony’s Preserving Harmony Committee was established in April at the request of numerous individuals and organizations fearful that Creative’s fill plan would worsen future area flooding. Many noted that the acreage in question was under water in the September 2004 Hurricane Ivan 100-year flood that caused considerable damage in Harmony and adjacent portions of the township.

Historic Harmony President John Ruch said Harmony Museum annexes eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places would be affected by flood plain disruption. He noted that the committee's goals are consistent with Historic Harmony’s overall mission to "preserve and promote public knowledge of the Harmony area's history and heritage through its Harmony Museum collections and outreach activities, foster tourism in southwestern Butler County in cooperation with other organizations and agencies, and encourage preservation of historical resources in support of educational, quality of life, economic development and associated community objectives."

Ruch said Creative had agreed in 2006 to sell the property to Historic Harmony with provision for a three-year fundraising period, but rescinded the agreement months later. Eligible for the National Register, the site may have been where George Washington visited Delaware Indians in 1753; it was the first ground cleared for agricultural use by the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists that founded Harmony in 1804; it accommodated the society’s meditation labyrinth and medicinal herb garden as well as a section of the original road from Pittsburgh to Erie; and in 1815 it became the farmstead of David Ziegler, a son of Harmony’s Mennonite "second founder," Abraham Ziegler.

Quilt in a Day Programs May 26-27 are Harmony Museum, Zelie Historical Society Fundraisers

Harmony, Pa. -- Quilt in a Day founder and international television quilter Eleanor Burns and sister Patricia Knoechel, Zelienople natives, present programs to raise funds for the Harmony Museum on Tuesday, May 26, and Zelienople Historical Society on Wednesday, May 27.

The annual Harmony Museum event, 10 a.m.-noon in Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, is already nearly sold out. The next day’s program in Zelienople begins at 6 p.m. in St. Peter’s Reformed Church., 320 E. Grandview Ave.

The theme for each is "Quilts of Our Lives." Burns and Knoechel want to share memories and quilts from the homes of audience members who grew up in Harmony or Zelienople. Also covered are techniques from their new publications, including the book "All Star Quilt" and patterns "Birdhouse Quilt," "Sew Radiant Quilts," "Color Wheel Quilt," and "Magic Mountains." Quilts will be displayed, and books and supplies can be purchased.

Burns has gained an international following, publishing more than 80 books and appearing in her popular "Quilt in a Day" show on PBS television stations and cable networks. The Quilt in a Day company is based in San Marcos, Calif.

Admission is $7, and paid reservations are recommended. For Harmony Museum tickets phone 724-452-7341, or buy them at the Harmony Museum Shop, 222 Mercer St., phone 724-452-5509, Tuesday-Saturday noon-4 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. For Zelienople Historical Society tickets phone 724-452-9457.

Harmony, a National Historic Landmark, was founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society of pacifist Lutheran Separatists from the German duchy of Wurttemberg that became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. When they relocated to Indiana, the area was resettled by Mennonites whose congregation survived until the beginning of the 20th century. Adjacent Zelienople was founded in 1802 by Baron Dettmar Friedrich Basse of Iserlohn, Westphalia, who named the town for his daughter Zélie. Basse returned to Germany after she and husband Philipp Passavant settled in Zelienople. Both communities are at I-79 exits 87-88, nine miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 minutes north of Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle.

April 25 Flea Market Benefits Harmony Museum

Harmony, Pa -- The Harmony Museum sponsors a flea market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, in the museum’s Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St. Food will be available.

Table rentals are $12 each, $20 for two. Proceeds from table rentals and sales at a museum booth benefit museum operations. Vendors may set up Friday afternoon, April 24.

Donations of clean, quality items for the museum’s booth may be left at the parking lot entrance to Stewart Hall on Thursday or Friday, April 23-24. Clothing and appliances will not be accepted.

Contact the museum office, 724-452-7341, for table reservations and additional information.

March 7 Flea Market Benefits Harmony Museum

Harmony, Pa -- The Harmony Museum sponsors a flea market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, in the museum’s Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St. Food will be available.

Table rentals are $12 each, $20 for two. Proceeds from table rentals and sales at a museum booth benefit museum operations. Vendors may set up Friday afternoon, Feb. 6.

Donations of clean, quality items for the museum’s booth may be left at the parking lot entrance to Stewart Hall on Thursday or Friday, March 5-6. Clothing and appliances will not be accepted.

Contact the museum office, 724-452-7341, for table reservations and additional information.

Another market is scheduled for Saturday, April 4.

Free Admission on Final Day of Harmony Museum Civil Wars Exhibit

Harmony, Pa -- Admission will be free for the Harmony Museum’s Civil War in Pennsylvania exhibit in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., on Sunday (Feb. 1), the exhibit’s final day.

Admission through Saturday is $5 for adults, $3 for students, free for children under six years of age. Hours are 1-4 p.m. daily through Sunday.

The traveling exhibit from the Sen. John Heinz History Center has attracted more than 250 visitors since opening on Jan. 10. It was prepared for Pennsylvania’s four-year Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration, sponsored by Peoples Natural Gas and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in partnership with Pennsylvania Civil War 150, and supported by a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation grant.

"Sunday’s free admission for this excellent exhibit expresses our gratitude for the community’s ongoing support for the Harmony Museum," said President John Ruch. "It is an opportunity for folks who might have otherwise not viewed the exhibit to do so, especially students. In addition, perhaps even more descendants will visit to learn about the war’s local influences and share with the museum information and artifacts related to their ancestors’ Civil War connections, as have several people during the past two and a half weeks."

Among local-interest materials displayed are the service revolver of artillery soldier and Harmony blacksmith Frederick Weigel, a ceremonial wood ax carried at militia drills by pacifist Conrad Scheel, Benjamin Covert’s 1865 discharge from the 78th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, and a unique HO-scale model of the 20-inch-bore Rodman cannon, the largest cast iron cannon ever produced, on its three-car railroad transporter.

Entries on a text panel that lists local soldiers and their units has doubled since the exhibit opened with the help of visitors who have supplied information. Other panels identify Butler County’s conscientious objectors, most from the Harmony area, and describe conflictions of historically pacifist Mennonites, some of whom did choose to join the fight.

For example, museum volunteers learned that a son and grandson of Bishop John Boyer, who in 1825 supervised construction on Wise Road of the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies for his Harmony congregation, fought to preserve the Union. Then exhibit visitor donated the grandson’s discharge document to the museum.

The Harmony Museum is operated by Historic Harmony, an independent, volunteer, nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate. Recorded area history began with 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington’s 1753 mission to demand the French leave the region, sparking the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington by a "French Indian" near today’s Evans City.

Harmony was founded in late 1804 by the Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists who believed Christ’s return was imminent and that state and church should be separate. The society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. Mennonites led resettlement in 1815 when the Harmonists relocated to Indiana Territory.

Feb. 14 Harmoniefest Presents Civil War Songs and Their Stories

Harmony, Pa. – Historic Harmony presents a program of Civil War-era music at its annual Harmoniefest dinner on Saturday, Feb. 14, in the Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St.

Michael Kraus, portraying a Union soldier, will provide insight and historical interpretation to lyrics of 1860s popular music performed by Nancy Conway and Tom Crytzer, also in period costume. Their program comes just two weeks after a well-received three-week exhibit in Stewart Hall about the Civil War in Pennsylvania and its local influences concludes Sunday, Feb. 1.

In addition to the musical program, Historic Harmony, the historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site museum, will recognize the scores of volunteers who donated upwards of 10,000 hours to support the organization and museum activities during 2014, as well as two directors who retired from its board on Dec. 31. The event also includes a silent auction as a secondary fundraiser.

The 48th annual Harmoniefest begins at 6 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception. Dinner is served at 6:30, with three entree choices available: roast beef, stuffed chicken breast, and vegetarian lasagna Alfredo. Admission is $30 per person, with proceeds benefiting museum operations. Required prepaid reservations must be received by Friday, Feb. 6. Reservations and more information can be obtained from the museum office at 724-452-7341 or hmuseum@zoominternet.net.

Kraus, of Ingomar, curator of collections at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, co-authored "The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History" with David Neville and Kenneth Turner. They gave an illustrated presentation based on the book at Historic Harmony’s 2013 Harmoniefest. Kraus also co-wrote, with Neville, the documentary series "Civil War Minutes," and has produced statuary and monuments for museums, battlefield sites and the U.S. Capitol.

Conway, of Murrysville, works in Carnegie Mellon University’s computer sciences department, and Crytzer, her brother, a New Kensington resident, is a Watson Standard Co. senior chemist. They performed at Harmoniefest in 2011. Appearing frequently as a duo, Conway and Crytzer are also members of Home Front, Pennsylvania and Maryland musicians who reflect and illuminate the Civil War era for modern audiences with 1860s music.

Harmony was founded at the end of 1804 by pacifist German Lutheran Separatists who left the Stuttgart area to escape militarism and benefit from American religious freedom independent of state influence. They organized as the communal Harmony Society in February 1805, an event they celebrated annually with a feast called Harmoniefest. Their first American home, eventually numbering 900-1,000 people, encompassed some 9,000 acres that extended into today’s Jackson and Lancaster townships. The celibate Harmonists, who believed the return of Christ was imminent, relocated to southwestern Indiana Territory in 1814, returning a decade later to settle Economy, now Ambridge, only 22 miles from Harmony. One of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups dissolved there in 1905.

Historic Harmony’s version of Harmoniefest celebrates more than two and a half centuries of area history, beginning with a local Delaware Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the region, leading to the French & Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington by an Indian from a French-allied northern tribe several miles east of Harmony.

Harmony, one the region’s most significant historic sites, is a National Historic Landmark. When "second founder" Abraham Ziegler bought the Harmony Society’s holdings in 1815, he and other Mennonites led area resettlement. Other area historical highlights include: troops pausing here on their way to support Oliver Hazard Perry's Lake Erie fleet and protect Erie during the War of 1812; songwriter Foster's brief residency as a youngster; Charles Flowers’ manufacture of fine percussion longrifles; local soldiers and conscientious objectors during the Civil War, and the area’s long involvement in oil and natural gas production. Goes Here

Flea Markets Resume Feb. 7, Benefit Harmony Museum

Harmony, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum resumes a schedule of flea markets, managed by member Suzie Rape, with the first to be held on Saturday, Feb. 7, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in its Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St. Food will be available.

Markets are also scheduled for March 7 and April 4.

Table rentals are $12 each and $20 for two. Proceeds from rentals and sales at a museum booth benefit museum operations. Vendors may set up Friday afternoon, Feb. 6.

Donations of clean, quality items for the museum booth may be left at the parking lot entrance to Stewart Hall on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 5-6. Clothing and appliances will not be accepted.

Table reservations and additional information may be obtained by contacting the museum office at 724-452-7341.

Harmony Museum Presents Exhibit on Civil War's Effects on State, Harmony

Harmony, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum hosts a Sen. John Heinz History Center traveling exhibit, "The Civil War in Pennsylvania," while adding its own "The Civil War and the Harmony Area," in the museum’s Stewart Hall from Saturday, Jan. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 1. The museum is at 218 Mercer Street in the heart of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District.

Exhibit hours are 1-8 p.m. on Jan. 10, with Civil War reenactors invited to describe Union army service and equipment. For the remaining three weeks it is open 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays. Admission fees, separate from those for guided museum tours, are $5 for adults, $3 for students, free for children under six years of age. Combined access to the exhibit and museum is offered with a $2 discount; museum tours are regularly $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children under six. Museum tours will be conducted at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily except Mondays through January.

"The Civil War in Pennsylvania" was created by the history center with a Western Pennsylvania perspective as part of Pennsylvania’s commemoration of the 1861-1865 war’s sesquicentennial. It is sponsored by Peoples Natural Gas and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in partnership with Pennsylvania Civil War 150, supported by a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation grant.

The exhibit covers a variety of topics, from slavery and the home front to the roles of women, to Pittsburgh as "Arsenal of the Union" and the Battle of Gettysburg. Life-sized figures are displayed, as are artifacts, photographs and interpretive panels.

The figures are of Strong Vincent, an Erie attorney who rallied Union troops in fierce fighting on Little Round Top at Gettysburg; Dog Jack, mascot of 102nd Pennsylvania Volunteers; Pittsburgh abolitionist Martin Delany, who became the highest ranked African American in uniform; Kate McBride, an Allegheny Arsenal worker representing women and children who toiled on the home front; and Gettysburg’s 15-year-old Tillie Pierce, who hauled water, made bandages and comforted the wounded. Artifacts include a cross-sectioned cannon ball, paper musket cartridges, and Minie ball bullets like those produced at the Pittsburgh arsenal.

The museum’s display includes a Model 1816 musket made in 1827 by Philadelphia arms contractor Marine T. Wickham, converted from flintlock to percussion and its barrel rifled in 1861; the Colt revolver carried during his Union service by Harmony blacksmith Frederick Weigel; and a ceremonial ax made of wood, carried at militia drills by pacifist Conrad Scheel, who paid a substitute to take his place in the army during the war. Text panels list names of local soldiers and their units, Butler County conscientious objectors, most from the Harmony area, and address conflictions of pacifist Mennonites, some of whom chose to join the fight.

Also displayed is a letter from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to Rev. William A. Passavant a month and a half after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, responding to one Stanton had received from Passavant, probably regarding Lincoln's death. Passavant, grandson of Zelienople founder Dettmar Basse, established several hospitals, including what became UPMC Passavant, as well as social welfare institutions now known as Lutheran Services in America.

The Harmony Museum, founded in 1955, is operated by Historic Harmony, an independent, volunteer, nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate established in 1943. The museum’s collection and sites educate the public about and preserve the area’s extraordinarily rich history.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began late in 1753 with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his mission to demand French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. The French responded that the British should stay out of New France, and the result was the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied Indian from a northern tribe two days after Christmas near today’s Evans City. The war erupted formally five months later southeast of today’s Pittsburgh with clashes between British troops led by Washington and French soldiers from their brand new Fort Duquesne.

The Harmony Society of Germans from the Stuttgart area who founded Harmony a half-century later believed Christ’s return was imminent, sought freedom of religious with separation of church and state, as pacifists refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When they moved to southwest Indiana Territory in 1814-15, area resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. Their meetinghouse, now one of nine Harmony Museum sites, was the first Mennonite church west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Harmony is adjacent to Zelienople at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Lots to do at Harmony Museum for New Year's Eve on Germany Time

Harmony, Pa. --The Harmony Museum joins with the community in offering unique entertainment during the Silvester celebration that will welcome 2015 on German time.

The family oriented event, introduced by the historic borough in 2007 with museum and business support, draws thousands of Dec. 31 celebrants to the National Historical Landmark founded 210 years ago by German religious immigrants. The crowd peaks as it fills the town-center diamond to cheer a ball drop and fireworks to greet the new year at 6 p.m. -- midnight in Germany.

From 2 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., the museum provides self-guided tours for $2; free continuous showings in the museum’s 1809 wine cellar of "Dinner for One," a short, funny, now politically incorrect 1960s video in English that has become a popular part of Germany’s New Year’s Eve; also for $2, Bleigiessen, a German tradition using the shape of melted lead to divine how promising the new year might be for individuals; and from 3:30 p.m., a pork and sauerkraut dinner for $12.

There’s something for everyone in Harmony throughout the afternoon. Races that raise funds for the borough’s parks are Silvester’s big opener -- a 5 kilometer Run starts at 3 p.m., followed at 3:45 by a 1 mile Fun Run. Specialty shops on Main and Mercer streets offer year-end bargains. Also look for face painting, fundraising raffles and live music throughout town.

Germans call New Year’s Eve Silvester for the ancient feast days that commemorated the 4th century Pope Sylvester I, who died on the last day of 335.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began in 1753 with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington, then only 21, during his mission to demand French withdrawal from the region. The French declined, suggesting instead that Britain should stay away from New France. All of this would lead a few months later to the French and Indian War. Nearby, in late December 1753, what many consider the war's first shot was fired at Washington by a northern Indian allied with the French.

Harmony was founded by Lutheran Separatists from southwestern Germany whose Harmony Society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. They believed the return of Christ was imminent, adopted celibacy, and became successful in various businesses, especially production of woolen and linen fabrics. When the Harmonists relocated to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, area resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. Their meetinghouse was the first Mennonite church west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Harmony Society returned in 1824 to establish their final home, Economy, now Ambridge, 22 miles southwest of Harmony, where the society was dissolved in 1905. Harmony’s Mennonite congregation also faded away in the early 1900s.

The nine-site Harmony Museum presents this and much more extraordinary history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Historic Harmony Installs Officers and Directors

Harmony, Pa -- Historic Harmony installed four incumbent officers and two additional board members for terms beginning Jan. 1 during a Christmas dinner and business meeting Tuesday (Dec. 9). The nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate operates the nine-site Harmony Museum.

Recently reelected for two-year terms were: President and Chief Executive Officer John Ruch, Zelienople; Vice President Cathryn Rape, Harmony; Recording Secretary Joan M. Szakelyhidi, Harmony; and Treasurer Joseph White, Harmony.

Beginning three-year terms as non-officer directors on Historic Harmony’s 10-member board are Cheryl Speir, New Sewickley Township, Beaver County, and Vincent Stefanos, Stowe Township, Allegheny County.

Speir was an information technology professional for nearly three decades. She is a biochemistry graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and has a master’s degree in sustainability from Slippery Rock University. Stefanos, a director from 2008 through 2013, has a degree in history from SRU and is employed by the Global Logistics Network of Descartes Systems Group.

Harmony, a National Historic Landmark, ranks among western Pennsylvania's most significant historic sites. George Washington visited an Indian village here in 1753 during his mission to demand French withdrawal from the region, leading to the French and Indian War. A French-allied Indian fired the war’s first shot at him nearby. Harmony was founded a half-century later as the first home of the Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists, which gained international fame as one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. The Harmonists left in 1815, selling their 9,000 acres to Harmony's Mennonite "second founder" Abraham Ziegler.

This and much more rich area history are interpreted by the Harmony Museum.

Nov. 29 Harmony Commemoration For Washington's Harrowing 1753 Mission

Harmony, Pa. – The public is invited to hike through history at Harmony on Saturday, Nov. 29, commemorating George Washington’s journey through the region 261 years ago.

Hikers will meet re-enactors portraying Washington, guide Christopher Gist, and Native Americans the two encountered. Echoing through Harmony will be reenactments of the gunshot that could have ended Washington’s life when he was just 21.

The annual event is sponsored by Washington’s Trail 1753, the Harmony Museum and Slippery Rock University’s Old Stone House.

The museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. at the center of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District, opens at 9:30 a.m. The guided hikes continue every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. until about 1 p.m., with a shuttle transporting participants to the start point on nearby Wise Road. Guide commentary includes readings from Washington’s and Gist’s journals, providing perspective on Washington’s mission.

In Stewart Hall, participants can enjoy free cider and cookies, meet authors Brady Crytzer and Brad Pflugh and frontier artist Fred Threlfall, view military firearms of the period, and acquire books annotating Washington and Gist’s journals about the 1753 mission, and other mementos. The Harmony Museum, whose permanent exhibit about the mission was the first among the region’s history museums, is open 1-4 p.m. for guided tours of three buildings for an additional fee.

Hike reservations can be made with the Harmony Museum at 724-452-7341. Admission is $3 per person, with no charge for children aged five or younger. Payment will be collected at the event. Hike groups size will be limited, so participants are urged to reserve their preferred start times. The walk covers about a mile on a well-maintained trail and borough sidewalks. Participants are advised to wear appropriate footwear and dress suitably for the day’s weather conditions.

In October 1753, the young Washington volunteered to deliver an ultimatum from Virginia's lieutenant governor that French forces withdraw from British-claimed territory west of the Alleghenies. The French, building forts south from Lake Erie, declined, demanding that the British stay out of New France. Washington’s adventure led within months to the French and Indian War, and included two incidents that might have killed him decades before he would command Colonial forces against Britain in the Revolutionary War and become the new nation’s president.

During the commemorative hikes, participants encounter re-enactors at Washington’s camp and at branches-framed wickiups similar to those of the Delaware’s temporary dwellings, and witness reenactment of the attempted shooting of Washington by a French-allied Indian from a northern tribe. The Dec. 27 incident took place east of Harmony near today’s Evans City; that first shot of the French and Indian War -- with but 15 paces between shooter and Virginian -- missed its mark. Two days later, Washington also survived a tumble from a rudimentary raft into the ice-choked Allegheny River.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with Washington’s 1753 mission. A half-century later, the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists founded Harmony, drawn to America’s religious freedom. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-1815, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania.

The nine-site Harmony Museum presents this and much more rich area history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and Landmark District and other tours by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony Museum Opens Christmas Railroad Display, Extends Historic Flags Exhibit

Harmony, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum has unveiled its 2014 Christmas season model railroad display and extended indefinitely a Flags of Freedom exhibit installed at midyear.

The antique Yobp-Eckstein log village with O gauge train and trolley, and the Royer two-train HO layout created in 2012, can be seen during guided museum tours through early January.

Also included are static displays of a 1920s Lionel electric engine and passenger cars in Standard gauge, a 19th century toy engine and tender of cast iron, and a handmade model of a train that operated in New York State 1831-1833. Preschoolers are invited to "please touch" a mini-platform of wood tracks and trains.

All share space in the museum’s ca. 1810 Wagner House annex with a still-evolving permanent exhibit that presents the area’s history involving real railroads. What began in 1877 as the Pittsburgh, New Castle & Lake Erie, founded by Harmony banker Austin Pearce and Pittsburgher James Negley, was ultimately absorbed into the Baltimore & Ohio. Today the CSX-owned route is leased to the freight-hauling Buffalo & Pittsburgh. An electric interurban passenger and freight service, the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler & New Castle, operated from 1908 until 1931.

The Yobp-Eckstein village combines a Civil War era train and early 20th century street car, both by Lionel, with log structures: five houses plus a Pennsylvania forebay barn, church and grist mill. It presents a seasonal scene with community Christmas tree, a nativity next to the church, and carolers. Townspeople go about their business on foot and in hand-carved sleighs and wagons, livestock occupy the barnyard, wary deer are on a wooded hill. Visitors are invited to look for a skunk and fox, and perhaps to discover other visual jokes.

The late William Yobp crafted the buildings, sleighs and wagons in the 1930s for the Christmas village he installed in his family’s New Kensington living room. In the 1950s Yobp’s son-in-law, the late Ronald Eckstein, made some of them part of a 5-by-8-foot Christmas railroad platform in the living room of his family’s home near Renfrew. "The General" of the Civil War’s "Great Locomotive Chase" pulls passenger and freight cars; the trolley travels a loop through the settlement. In 2006, Eckstein and his family donated the platform to Historic Harmony, the nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum.

Historic Harmony member John Royer of Adams Township built the 4-by-6-foot HO platform. It presents a summertime village in the last quarter of the 19th century. Two tracks are traveled by period passenger and freight trains donated by another Historic Harmony member. Volunteers assembled the platform’s buildings for a 2006-07 exhibit at Old Economy Village, Ambridge, related to the communal Harmony Society’s 19th century Pittsburgh & Lake Erie and other investments. That display’s contents were donated to Ohio Valley Lines Model Railroad Club in Ambridge, which contributed 10 of its buildings for the Royer display.

O gauge trains were introduced in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century with vehicle sizes that were eventually standardized at a scale of 1:48; track rails are 1.25 inches (32 mm) apart. HO gauge, introduced in the early 1920s, also in Germany, is one-half the scale of O gauge at 1:87 with rails 0.65 inch (16.5 mm) apart. Realistic-looking HO trains and track have been the most popular model railroading scale since the 1950s.

The museum’s Flags of Freedom exhibit presents and describes banners linked to key periods or events in American history from 1775 through 1814. The folios originated as a U.S. bicentennial limited edition produced for customers by a unit of Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with George Washington's 1753 visit to an Indian village here during his mission to demand the French withdraw from the region, leading to the French and Indian War. Harmony, a National Historic Landmark, was founded in 1804 as the first home of the Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists that became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. When they relocated to Indiana, resettlement was led by Mennonites. Harmony Museum exhibits interpret this and much more rich area history.

The Harmony Museum offers guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily with the exception of Mondays and holidays. Group tours, historic district walking tours and visits to additional sites are available by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony Museum 2015 Events

Harmony Museum: 218 Mercer St., Harmony, Pa., at the center of the Harmony National Historic Landmark District. Among the region’s most historically significant sites, Harmony is 30 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh at I-79 exits 87-88. In 1753 Virginia Maj. George Washington visited a Lenni Lenape (Delaware) village here as he began his military career on a mission to demand French withdrawal from British territory; the French suggested the British stay out of New France, leading to the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian from a northern, French-allied tribe. In 1804 German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded Harmony and organized as the Harmony Society, one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. When the Harmonists left in 1814-15, Mennonites led resettlement, and their meetinghouse, now a museum property, was the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies. The nine-site Harmony Museum interprets this and much more rich area history. Guided three-building tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays; reservations are required for groups, walking tours and access to additional sites. Harmony Museum: 724-452-7341, www.harmonymuseum.org.

2015 HARMONY MUSEUM EVENTS (subject to change)

Jan. 10-Feb. 3, Harmony Museum presents "The Civil War in Pennsylvania," Heinz History Center traveling exhibit as well as an expansion of the museum's exhibit on the war’s local influences. The latter includes Butler County’s conscientious objectors, northern as well as southern pacifist Mennonites conflicted on the issue of military service, and Union army experiences of Harmony area men. Admission separate from guided museum tours. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Feb. 14, Harmony Museum’s annual Harmoniefest dinner commemorating more than years of rich area history, including Harmony’s 1804 founding by the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists, 6 p.m. at museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in the Harmony National Historic Landmark District. Civil War era music and stories will be performed as conclusion of the war’s five-year sesquicentennial approaches. Reservations required by Friday, Feb. 6. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

May 26, Harmony Museum’s annual "Quilt in a Day" program, 10 a.m.-noon, Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Presented by Patricia Knoechel based on newest publications and patterns by Knoechel and her sister, Quilt in a Day founder and syndicated television quilter Eleanor Burns. Reservations recommended. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

June 13, Harmony Museum's annual Herb & Garden Fair, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the museum’s 1805 barn annex, 303 Mercer Rd. Vendors; plant exchange; buy vegetables, herbs, roses and other ornamentals; expert advice; entertainment; food. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Aug. 8, Harmony Museum’s annual Antique Gun Show, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Flintlock, percussion and cartridge firearms and accouterments from the 18th and 19th centuries, most for sale, with emphasis on those made in the region. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Sept. 19-20, Harmony Museum’s annual antique show and sale with quality dealers offering a range of items including advertising, country and period furniture, ephemera, folk art, glass, jewelry, lighting, orientals, paintings, pottery, primitives, textiles, tools, toys and smalls, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, at the museum’s 1805 barn annex, 303 Mercer Rd. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Oct. 18, Harmony Museum’s annual Pumpkin Pancake Brunch, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Pumpkin and regular pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, maple syrup, fruit, beverages. Reservations suggested. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Nov. 14-15, Harmony Museum’s annual WeihnachtsMarkt (Christmas Market). Juried regional artisans, and other vendors present a marketplace in the tradition of Germany’s famed Christmas markets, with quality artwork and handcrafted goods as well as German and other European imports plus entertainment and foods in the old-town center of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Nov. 28, Annual commemoration of young Virginia Maj. George Washington’s 1753 mission seeking French withdrawal from their intrusion into the Ohio Country region claimed by Britain, precipitating the French and Indian War; a "French Indian" fired its first shot at Washington nearby. Based at museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District, with guided hikes, reenactors, authors, exhibits, refreshments, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Presented by Harmony Museum, Old Stone House and Washington’s Trail 1753. Information and recommended reservations: 724-452-7341, www.washingtonstrail.org. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Tururnpike.

December 31, Harmony’s family-oriented Silvester New Year’s Eve celebration, 2-6:30 p.m., welcomes the new year on German time in recognition of the community’s heritage -- 6 p.m. EST is midnight in Germany. 5-K and 1-Mile races, museum tours, pork and sauerkraut dinner, comedic short film "Dinner for One" that’s become part of Germany’s New Year’s Eve tradition, foretelling what new year may bring with little Bleigiessen melted lead shapes, refreshments, entertainment, specialty shops’ year-end sales, all capped by ball drop and fireworks. Harmony Borough, 724-452-6780, www.harmony-pa.us; Harmony Museum 724-452-7341, www.harmonymuseum.org. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

German Christmas Market a Popular Harmony Tradition

HARMONY, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum’s Christmas Market, WeihnachtsMarkt, returns on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8-9, as a family attraction presenting quality artisans and vendors, entertainment and edibles-drinkables reminiscent of annual holiday markets common across Germany.

The annual fundraising festival celebrates the community’s German heritage. Harmony was founded in 1804 by pacifist Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area fleeing militarism and religious intolerance of a state-church system. Their Harmony Society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups.

Market participants include scores of specialty vendors -- traditional crafters as well as sellers of German and other European goods -- selected for the quality of their offerings. There also are museum quilters and weavers at work, and tastings of locally produced wine and beer.

The museum’s Christmas season model railroad displays are unveiled at the market, and adults and children enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides through Harmony’s old-town section, much of which comprises a National Historic Landmark District and larger local historic district.

WeihnachtsMarkt hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission -- $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, free for children younger than six -- provides all-day market, museum and entertainment access, as well as unlimited wagon rides.

Musical performers are Alpen Schuhplattlers of the Pittsburgh Teutonia Mannerchor, Augsburg German Band and Burke’s Bavarian Brass.

Market goers are invited to sing Christmas carols at 5:30 p.m. Saturday with the Seneca Valley Intermediate High School Girls Chorus as the live Christmas Giving Tree outside the museum is lighted for the season. A longtime Christmastime museum fundraiser, the tree is trimmed with ornaments in recognition of donations.

Many artisans demonstrate their crafts. There are too many to be listed, but their diverse offerings include treen ware, wood carvings, Shaker boxes and other woodcrafts; jewelry and metal ware; artwork; foodstuffs, from roasted nuts and pretzels to candies, teas, oils and vinegars; pottery and glass; hand worked fiber goods; clocks; Jackware leather goods; soaps and lotions; candles; dolls and toys; forged iron ware; baskets; ornaments, wreaths, garlands and decoratives; bird houses.

Nearby specialty shops offer additional shopping for regional and other fine art, antiques, collectibles, jewelry and metalwork, sewing and knitting goods, custom and consignment apparel, and gifts. A restaurant and coffee shop-creperie are also within two blocks of the market grounds.

Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80. Follow directional signs to plentiful free parking linked to the Christmas market by free shuttle service.

The museum is operated by Historic Harmony, a nonprofit, volunteer historical society and preservation advocate. Harmony is one of the region’s most historically significant sites. The area’s recorded history began with local Delaware Indians visited by George Washington during his late 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the region, leading to the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington nearby. The founding Harmony Society stayed for only 10 years before moving to southwestern Indiana Territory in 1814-15. The first Mennonite congregation west of the Alleghenies was then established here. This and much more remarkably rich history is interpreted at the Harmony Museum.

October 19th Pumpkin Pancake Brunch - Annual Harmony Museum Fundraiser

HARMONY, Pa -- Harmony Museum’s annual Pumpkin Pancake Brunch fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 19, offers a fulfilling way to start a day of exploring scenic and historic Harmony.

Served from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St., the Brunch includes pumpkin pancakes, regular pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit and assorted beverages. The price is $10 per person and $7 for children under the age of 10. Prepay before Brunch weekend and save $1 per person. Reservations are recommended, though not required, by phoning the museum office at 724-452-7341.

Harmony is a National Historic Landmark. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with an Indian village visited by young Virginia Maj. George Washington, sent to the region to demand French withdrawal from British territory. The French answered that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied Indian two days after Christmas 1753 near today’s Evans City. Full-blown war erupted five months later, southeast of the Forks of the Ohio (Pittsburgh), with clashes between a small force led by Washington and French troops from Fort Duquesne.

The communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists founded Harmony in 1804. They believed the return of Christ was imminent, sought religious freedom with separation of church and state, were pacifists who refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, resettlement was led by Mennonites whose meetinghouse, now a museum property, was the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies.

Harmony Museum exhibits present this and much more of the area’s rich history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony's Rise Above the Waters a Decade After Hurricane Ivan Flood

HARMONY, Pa. – Harmony commemorates the Hurricane Ivan flood disaster of 2004 and celebrates its recovery successes on Saturday, Sept. 27, with a free community day called Rise Above the Waters.

The event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., opens with a parade and includes art, photos, music, food, creek fun, and a big yellow ducky created by students at the local Connoquenessing Valley Elementary School (CVE).

A decade ago on Sept. 17, just a week after the town’s bicentennial celebration ended, more than five inches of rain from Hurricane Ivan sent the Connoquenessing Creek out of its banks in a 100-year flood that affected substantial parts of Harmony, adjacent Zelienople and Jackson Township, and communities throughout the Connoquenessing watershed. Harmony’s recovery and business growth since those soaked, dark days, has been dramatic.

The flood commemoration and comeback celebration is organized by historical society Historic Harmony, Harmony Borough, Bottlebrush Gallery and others in the National Historic Landmark community.

Joining the 10 a.m. parade of fire trucks, musicians, antique vehicles, the ducky will be accompanied by a flock of CVE art students who helped make the papier maché and yellow duct tape sculpture. It starts at the east end of Mercer Street in the Harmony Moose Lodge parking lot --- which was under about 12 feet of rushing Connoquenessing water as the flood peaked on Sept. 18, 2004 --- and ends four blocks away at the borough’s creek side Wood Street Park. The ducky will nest there for photo ops and admiration.

Honorary parade marshals are Sue Casker and Marilyn Weyman, both of Zelienople, representing the hundreds of Grace Church of Harmony volunteers who won community wide admiration for cooking meals and collecting clothing, furniture, cleaning supplies and other support for flood victims.

After the parade, children and adults can have a go at the Venture Outdoors climbing wall behind the Harmony Museum’s Wagner House, made possible by a grant from WesBanco. Their challenge will be to climb above 18 feet -- the high reading on the closest Connoquenessing Creek water level gauge during the 2004 flood.

Other happenings include a water themed art show in the museum’s Stewart Hall, a special art exhibit at the adjacent Bottlebrush Gallery, music on the porch of the Harmony Inn restaurant, and live music performances throughout Harmony’s Main and Mercer streets business district. Plein air (painting outdoors) artists will be at work in various locations.

Stewart Hall also hosts a display of flood, cleanup and recovery photos and a signing wall on which visitors can note personal memories and thank-you's from their flood and recovery experiences. Elsewhere, high-water levels will be marked on some buildings.

Food and refreshments will be available outside Grace Church, Harmony Museum, Harmony Inn, Wunderbar Coffee & Tea and Stohr Haus Bakery.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with an Indian village north of the creek visited by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during his historic 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the region, leading to the French and Indian War. Nearby, its first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied northern Indian in a forest clearing outside today’s Evans City.

The Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from southwest Germany founded Harmony in 1804, ultimately numbering nearly 1,000 people. Their society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. Harmony’s resettlement was led by Mennonites when the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814 and 1815.

The Harmony National Historic Landmark District was established in 1974, and much of central Harmony comprises the subsequently created, and larger, local historic district. The nine-site Harmony Museum presents the area’s rich area history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays.

Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony Museum's Annual Antiques Show Saturday - Sunday Sept. 20 - 21, Friday Evening Preview

HARMONY, Pa. -- A wide variety of quality items await enthusiasts at the Harmony Museum’s annual antique show on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20-21, at the museum’s 303 Mercer Rd. barn annex. A Friday evening preview reception has been added this year.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission $3 per person, and lunch and refreshments will be available for purchase. Admission to Friday’s 6-8 p.m. preview, offering best-choice buying opportunities, is $10 per person. Refreshments are included. All admission proceeds support museum operations.

Antiques offered by selected dealers from four states include advertising, country and period furniture, ephemera, folk art, glass, jewelry, lighting, oriental, paintings, pottery, primitives, textiles, tools, toys and smalls. The show is organized by Tammy Gallagher of Sanford’s Antiques.

Dealers participating are Sanford’s Antiques, Chicora; King’s Antiques, Hilliards; William Smith Antiques, Butler; Richard Jablonski Antiques, Butler; Kensington Court Antiques, New Kensington; Red Rabbit Antiques, Glenshaw; Jack Squires Antiques, Grove City; Sybil Bahnak, Ardara; Howard’s Antiques, Mt. Pleasant; Connell’s Antiques, Evans City; Timeless Treasures, Pittsburgh; Red Window Antiques, Beaver Falls; Marsha Murphy, Ellwood City; and Sorisio’s Antiques, Leechburg; as well as Beaven’s Antiques, Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Charles Bone, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; and Scott Lippert, Dexter, Mich. Also supporting the show is Harmony’s Linden Tree Antiques.

Goods will be presented in the region’s oldest barn, erected in 1805 to shelter sheep owned by the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists who founded Harmony late in 1804. Within a few blocks along Mercer and Main streets in Harmony, a National Historic Landmark, is the Harmony Museum (guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays), specialty shops, and a restaurant, coffee shop and bakery.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began in 1753 with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his mission to demand French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. The French responded that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied northern Indian two days after Christmas near today’s Evans City. War erupted formally five months later southeast of today’s Pittsburgh with clashes between Washington’s troops and French soldiers from Fort Duquesne.

The Harmony Society of Germans from the Stuttgart area who founded Harmony a half-century later believed Christ’s return was imminent, sought freedom of religious with separation of church and state, as pacifists refused military service, and adopted celibacy. After they moved to southwest Indiana Territory in 1814-15, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. Their meetinghouse, on a hilltop overlooking the barn and also a museum property, was the first Mennonite church west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Harmony, adjacent to Zelienople, is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Historic Harmony Receives $11,000 Grant, Challenged to Match with New Donations

HARMONY, Pa. -- Historic Harmony, the nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum, has received an $11,000 grant accompanied by a challenge to match that amount through new donations.

President John Ruch said "This generous grant from a Butler County-based funder, which wishes to remain unidentified, is especially timely given pressing needs for important restoration and improvements for the Harmony Museum building and its adjacent Wagner House annex. We find it very appropriate for this funder to encourage and expect us to match its grant."
He added, "Donations received through October 31 "from Historic Harmony members, friends and anyone supportive of continued success for the Harmony Museum and preservation of Harmony’s historic resources will be counted in this challenge match campaign."

Donations can be sent to Historic Harmony, P.O. 524, Harmony, PA 16037.

Historic Harmony raises all of its operating funds, as it receives no local, county, state or federal government operating support, Ruch noted. "Our balanced 2014 budget is $134,500. During 2013, two challenge grants were successfully matched, generating combined new funds of about $26,000. Total financial contributions to Historic Harmony last year, beyond admission, event, rental and shop revenues, exceeded $46,000."

Harmony is a National Historic Landmark. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with the visit to a local Indian village by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington and his party seeking French withdrawal from the region. The response was that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War. An Indian from a northern tribe allied with the French fired its first shot at Washington nearby.

Harmony has been attracting visitors since the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area established their first American home here at the end of 1804. Influenced strongly by Revelation, the final book of the Bible’s New Testament, they believed Christ’s return to be imminent, sought freedom of religion and separation of state involvement in religious affairs, refused military service and adopted celibacy. The Harmonists became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups.

When the Harmony Society relocated to southwest Indiana Territory in 1814-15, Harmony’s resettlement was led by eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites. Their meetinghouse was the sect’s first church west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Harmony Museum exhibits and research library preserve this and much more of the area’s remarkable history. Guided tours are conducted 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites may be visited independently or are accessible with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

New Longrifle Book, Flowers Rifle Auction at Saturday's Harmony Museum Antique Gun Show

HARMONY, Pa. -- A new book from the Kentucky Rifle Association and the auction of a rifle probably made by 19th century Harmony gunsmith Charles Flowers are among highlights of the Harmony Museum’s 10th annual Antique Gun Show on Saturday (Aug. 9).

The show in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. The percussion rifle will be auctioned at 1 p.m. Admission of $5 per person supports museum operations. Those attending are encouraged to bring items for show experts to examine and appraise.

"An Intimate Look At The American Longrifle - Its Art and Evolution" presents 33 of the finest Pennsylvania-Kentucky black powder rifles held in private collections and rarely seen by the public, and two of those magnificent rifles will be displayed. The oversized 194-page book’s all-color photographs include close-up views of exquisite engravings and carvings on the rifles presented.

Charles Flowers made quality percussion hunting and target rifles from about 1850 until 1897. The unsigned .44 caliber rifle to be auctioned at the show is believed to date from the 1850s. It has a curly maple full stock, back action lock, brass patch box and a number of German silver inlays. Directors of Historic Harmony, which operates the museum, have restricted proceeds of the sale to its artifacts acquisition fund. Paid admission to the show is required to bid.

The museum's show is an opportunity to see pre-1898 guns, swords and accoutrements, with an emphasis on items from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, presented by several dozen specialists. Most items are for sale, although some exhibits are for display only.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his historic 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the region, leading to the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied northern Indian in a clearing near today’s Evans City.

The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists founded Harmony in 1804. Resettlement was led by Mennonites when the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-1815.

The nine-site Harmony Museum presents the area’s rich area history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and National Historic Landmark District and other tours by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Flea Market Saturday, August 2, Benefits Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa -- The Harmony Museum is sponsoring a flea market on Saturday (Aug. 2) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the museum’s Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St. Food will be available.

Table rentals are $12 each, $20 for two; rental proceeds benefit the museum. Vendors may set up Friday afternoon.

Information and table reservations are available from Brenda Benek, 412-334-1252, or the museum office, 724-452-7341.

10th Annual Harmony Museum Antique Gun Show Presents Extraordinary Items, Flowers Rifle Auction

HARMONY, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum’s 10th annual Antique Gun Show, on Saturday, Aug. 9, will include an auction for a percussion rifle attributed to 19th century Harmony gunsmith Charles Flowers.

Show hours in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The special auction will be held at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, with proceeds benefiting museum operations.

Flowers, previously a coal miner, produced fine black powder hunting and target rifles in his Wood Street shop from about 1850 until his death in 1897. Museum representatives believe the recently restored .44 caliber rifle, unsigned, was made early in his career. It has a full-length curly maple stock, back action lock, decorative brass trapdoor patch box, seven German silver inlays including a large compass star, and German silver escutcheons for barrel retention pins.

Auction proceeds will go to the Harmony Museum’s artifacts acquisition fund. Admission to the show is required to participate in the bidding. Those attending are encouraged to bring items for show experts to examine and appraise.
About three dozen specialists will present an array of pre-1898 guns, swords and accoutrements, with an emphasis on items from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Many are similar to those relied on by the region’s settlers or represent the nation’s development during the 18th and 19th centuries. Most are for sale, although some collectors bring firearms or artifacts of historical significance for display only.

Following the American Revolution, western Pennsylvania’s gunsmiths developed a regional style of hunting rifle that adapted architecture and decorative features of light, accurate guns made in eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia. All are known today as the Pennsylvania/Kentucky rifle. Americans evolved their designs from earlier, heavier German hunting guns known generically as Jaegers.

At each show since 2005, museum representatives have seen or learned about previously unknown rifles made by Charles Flowers. More than 100 survivors are now known, 10 of which comprise the Museum’s permanent Ball Collection exhibit.

Show information and exhibitor registration is available from the museum at 724-452-7341.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with a Delaware Indian village visited by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from territory claimed by Britain. The result was the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington by a French-allied northern Indian in a clearing near here. It missed.

The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists founded Harmony in 1804, drawn to religious freedom offered in the United States. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-1815, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania.

The nine-site Harmony Museum presents this and much more rich area history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and National Historic Landmark District and other tours by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Flags of Freedom Displayed Through July at Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa. -- Several of the most prominent flags of America's Colonial, Revolutionary and Federal periods comprise a new Harmony Museum exhibit that will remain on display through July.

Flags of Freedom presents five distinctive flags: The banner carried at the Battle of Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775 (actually fought at nearby Breed’s Hill); the 1776 Gadsden "Don’t Tread on Me" rattlesnake flag proposed -- but not adopted -- as the banner for the American Navy commander; the "Liberty" flag at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C., when the British attacked it in June 1776; the 13-star flag supposedly made by Philadelphia’s Betsy Ross in 1777 (records don’t exist); and the Stars and Stripes whose survival of the September 1814 British attack on Baltimore’s Fort William McHenry in the War of 1812 inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defense of Fort McHenry," later put to music as "The Star Spangled Banner."

The exhibit’s folios are artifacts themselves, originating in a 1976 limited edition produced for major customers of the Chemical Division of Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries in commemoration of the nation’s bicentennial. Text panels describe each flag’s origin.

Also displayed through July is the Declaration of Independence in German as it appeared on the front page of the July 9, 1776, edition of the weekly Philadelphia German newspaper Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote. On July 5, 1776, it was the first newspaper to report adoption of the Declaration by the Continental Congress. The Pennsylvania Evening Post of Philadelphia published the news one day later.

The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded Harmony in 1804. Mennonites from Lehigh County led area resettlement in 1815 as the Harmonists departed for southwest Indiana.

The Harmony Museum, at 218 Mercer St., provides guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. It presents more than 260 years of rich area history that began with a Delaware Indian village visited by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the British-claimed region. The French response -- the British should stay out of New France -- sparked the French and Indian War in 1754, which grew into the global Seven Years War that ended in 1863. Nearby, the war’s first shot was fired at Washington by an Indian he and his guide identified as from a tribe outside the area that was allied with the French.

Allegheny Brass Band Concert Present June 26 by Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa -- The Harmony Museum brings the acclaimed Allegheny Brass Band to the town diamond at 8 p.m. on Thursday (June 26) for the first of this summer’s four free evening concerts organized by the historic borough’s Parks Board.

Fireworks conclude the community’s annual pre-Independence Day concert, which this year also celebrates the 40th anniversary of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Concertgoers should bring their own chairs.

The 30-plus members of Allegheny Brass Band (ABB), formed in 1984, are among the region’s finest professional and amateur musicians. The award-winning band plays year-round throughout the tri-state area and has appeared in Bermuda and China. There has been an evening concert series in Harmony every summer since 1996 to promote the community’s history, specialty shopping and historic preservation. The Harmony Museum has always sponsored the concert closest to Independence Day.

The town was founded in 1804 by the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists, one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups, for whom music was an important part of daily life. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory a decade later, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania.

The area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to seek French withdrawal from British territory, leading to the French and Indian War whose first shot was fired at Washington near here by an Indian allied with the French.

The Harmony Museum presents guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Guided walking tours and visits to additional sites are available by reservation.

Harmony Parks Board Hosts Free Summer Concert Series

HARMONY, Pa. --Harmony Borough Parks Board is hosting four performances for the community’s 19th annual series of free summer Thursday evening summer concerts.

Allegheny Brass Band, sponsored by Historic Harmony and its Harmony Museum, kicks off the 2014 season at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, in the town diamond, Main & Mercer streets. A fireworks show concludes the event.

Other concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in front of the Harmony Inn, 230 Mercer St.

  • Thursday, July 10, Eugene and the Nightcrawlers, sponsored by Harmony Parks Board.
  • Thursday, July 24, Kardaz, sponsored by JADCO.
  • Thursday, Aug. 7, The John Burgh Band, sponsored by WesBanco and Robinson Fans.

Concertgoers should bring their own seating. More information is available through the Borough office, 724-452-6780.

Harmony, a National Historic Landmark, is just off I-79 at exits 87-88, about 30 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh and 10 minutes north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The area’s recorded history began with young George Washington’s 1753 mission demanding French withdrawal from territory also claimed by Britain, leading to the French & Indian War. A French-allied Indian shot at Washington east of here, but missed.

The town has attracted visitors since the Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists founded Harmony in 1804. Drawn to the United States by its separation of church and state and religious freedom, they anticipated Christ’s imminent return, adopted celibacy, and became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory a decade later, area resettlement was led by Abraham Ziegler and many fellow Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania.

Herb and Garden Fair

HARMONY, Pa. -- The 12th annual Harmony Museum Herb & Garden Fair, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, will bring gardeners from across the tri-state area to the museum's 1805 barn at 303 Mercer Rd. They will also find activities for the whole family throughout Harmony, the region's most significant historic site.

At the plant exchange and garden market, visitors can trade potted plants and shop among vendors to diversify their at-home vegetable, herb, flower and ornamental plantings and buy decorative garden items. Vouchers enable exchangers to select plants from other participants, and plants can be purchased. Butler County Master Gardeners will be on hand to give expert advice.

Vendors, including the museum’s shop, offer vegetables, herbs, perennials, hanging baskets, gardening supplies, craft items, and decoratives for outdoor spaces. Local gardener and author Gwen Lutz will sign copies of her book, "A Country Garden: Observations and Advice From Both Sides of the Garden Gate," and a light lunch will be available.

Parking is free at the barn; exchangers and buyers can use a drive-through lane to drop off or pick up plants. Donors and exchangers are asked to pot their flowers, herbs, vegetables, and small shrubs and trees to assure their freshness. Fairgoers are encouraged to explore Harmony’s specialty shops and various activities within a few blocks of the barn. A free shuttle will operate between the barn and the Harmony diamond, where additional parking is available at the museum.

The museum, at 218 Mercer St. on the diamond, provides guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. The hike-bike trail between the barn and museum’s Mennonite meetinghouse provides an inviting opportunity to enjoy wildlife and some quiet time along the Connoquenessing Creek and adjacent cemetery ridge.

At the museum’s Weavers Cabin on Mercer Street, visitors can observe loom weaving, purchase woven goods and, weather permitting, pet live sheep. Souvenirs, books and much more are offered in the Museum Shop adjacent to the museum.

Also on the diamond, fairgoers will find artwork, live music and children’s activities at Bottlebrush Gallery, and food specialties at the Stohr Haus Bakery. Elsewhere, there are beer brewing demonstrations, food specials and live music at the Harmony Inn, knitting demonstrations and dance presentations, and more fun for kids and live music.

Farming and gardening were important to the daily life of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area whose communal Harmony Society founded Harmony in 1804, as well as Mennonites from Lehigh County who led resettlement in 1815 when the Harmonists departed for southwest Indiana.

The Harmony Museum commemorates more than 260 years of an extraordinarily rich area history that began with a Delaware Indian village visited by young Virginian George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the British-claimed region. The French response that the British should stay out of New France sparked the French and Indian War in 1754, and it soon grew into the global Seven Years War. The war’s first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian from a northern tribe allied with the French.

Flood Plain Regulation Forum for Public Tuesday Evening at Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa -- A public meeting about flood plain regulation is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday (May 20) in the Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. Historic Harmony, the historical society and preservation advocate that operates the museum, has asked government officials to explain flood plain development rules to area residents and property owners.

Historic Harmony notes that considerable concern was generated by disclosure late in March, signaled by a mass cutting of trees, of a revived proposal for a major residential housing project on the National Register of Historic Places-eligible David Ziegler Farmstead site. It would occupy the flood plain along the north side of the Connoquenessing Creek at Harmony as well as adjacent higher ground. The entire site is bounded by U.S. 19, Wise Road and Mercer Road.

The project reportedly would include filling roughly 30 acres of flood plain yards-deep with earth removed from the ridge between Indian Brave Campground and Grace Church-Harmony Mennonite cemeteries. All construction would occur in Jackson Township, although the southeast corner of the site is in Harmony Borough.

Area residents have expressed concern that negative consequences of filling the flood plain would be significant in future Connoquenessing flooding for properties in Harmony and Jackson Township, many of which were affected severely by the Hurricane Ivan flood of Sept. 17, 2004.

Historic Harmony notes that the public has been exposed since about 2005 to conflicting or inaccurate flood plain management information from government sources as well as developer and municipal consultants. Until March, it had appeared to the public and some municipal officials that revised federal flood insurance mapping and tighter regulation precluded development of the site.

Historic Harmony intends for the May 20 program to give the public clear and accurate information about regulatory provisions that apply to the flood plain zone in Harmony and Jackson Township.

Among agencies expected to participate are the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s flood insurance program, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the Butler County Planning Commission.

Quilt in a Day Program May 27 at Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa. -- Patricia Knoechel presents her annual Quilt in a Day program at the Harmony Museum Tuesday, May 27. Proceeds of the event, from 10 a.m. to noon in Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., benefit museum operations.

Her popular presentations are based on the latest publications of Knoechel and her sister, Quilt in a Day founder and international television quilter Eleanor Burns. The Zelienople natives, who reside in California, have published many quilting books.

Knoechel’s May 27 program will be built around the new book "Mystery Quilt," as well as patterns Honeycomb, Christmas Tree & Wreath, Double Four Patch, Geese in the Garden, Pineapple, Nouveau Wedding Ring, Chimneys and Cornerstones. Quilts will be displayed, and books and supplies can be purchased.

Admission is $6, and paid advance reservations are recommended. Reservations may be made with the museum office, 724-452-7341, by email at hmuseum@zoominternet.net, and at the Harmony Museum Shop in the Wagner House museum annex, 222 Mercer St.

Harmony has attracted cultural tourism for more than 200 years, soon after the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists founded the town in 1804 and began drawing international interest. Anticipating the imminent return of Christ, members also adopted celibacy. The commune established mills producing quality woolens and other fabrics.
When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-1815, area resettlement was led by pacifist Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. The Harmonists returned in 1825 to establish their final home, Economy (now Ambridge) in Beaver County, where the society was dissolved in 1905. Portions of all three communities are National Historic Landmarks.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with a Delaware Indian village visited in 1753 by 21-year-old Maj. George Washington, who called the place Murdering Town. The French and Indian War’s first shot was fired at him by a French-allied Indian from a northern tribe near today’s Evans City.

All of this and much more rich area history is interpreted at the eight-site Harmony Museum, which offers guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, nine miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

German Dinner Fundraiser April 26 at Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum presents a fundraising German buffet dinner on Saturday, April 26, in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St.

The dinner offers pork, bratwurst, sauerbraten, roast chicken, sauerkraut, German potato salad, spaetzle, carrots, tomato-basil-mozzarella salad, applesauce, bread, and a selection of desserts. Iced tea and coffee will be available to those who don't bring their own favorite beverage.

The cost is $18 per person, with proceeds benefiting museum operations. Prepaid reservations are required, with a deadline of Friday, April 18, and choice of sittings at 4:30 or 6:30 p.m. Phone 724-452-7341 for reservations; credit cards are accepted.

The Harmony area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to the region that led to the French & Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington by a "French Indian" a few miles to the east near today’s Evans City.

Harmony was founded in 1804 by the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists, who anticipated Christ’s imminent return and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory a decade later, resettlement was led by Mennonites.

The nine-site Harmony Museum interprets the area’s rich history. Hours are 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.
 

Unseen Harmony Museum Artifacts Get Their Own Special Show April 5 - 13

HARMONY, Pa. – Seldom-seen artifacts representing a wide range of local history will be displayed in Out of the Attic, an eight-day event opening April 5 at the Harmony Museum.

The exhibit will be presented in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. Daily hours are those of the museum, 1-4 p.m. from Saturday, April 5, through Sunday, April 13, except Monday, April 7, when both the exhibit and the museum are closed. Out of the Attic admission is $5 per person, and does not include museum access.

Displays will be diverse, from 19th century coverlets by Adam Hoerr and Schontz family chairs and memorabilia, to Estey organs manufactured just down the street in the mid-20th century, along with local business advertising premiums and signs from the past two centuries.

Other articles will inform visitors about the Harmony Route interurban rail line of the early 20th century and its successor, the Harmony Short Line bus service; Gertrude Ziegler artwork; long-gone local newspapers; infant cradles; children’s playthings; a pie plate collection; and a variety of antique photographs of the Harmony area and its residents. Items and photos that can’t be displayed because of fragility and other conservation concerns will be shown through digital technology.

Some loaned items from the "attics" of area residents will also be shown, including a Hoerr coverlet and percussion rifles produced during the late 1800s by Harmony’s Charles Flowers.

Historic Harmony directors decided to offer the special display to broaden the public’s view of the area’s rich heritage, adding that space limitations in the 205-year-old museum building restrict the scope of permanent exhibits, necessitating a more tightly focused view of local history.

The heart of Harmony and the nearby Harmony Society cemetery comprise Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District, designated 40 years ago this May. Recorded area history began with a Delaware Indian village visited by George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. French officers responded that the British should stay out of New France. This produced the French and Indian War between France and Britain in their North American colonies -- nearby, its first shot was fired at Washington by a France-allied Indian in December 1753 -- that soon grew into the Seven Years War, the first truly worldwide conflict.

Harmony was founded a half-century later by the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area. They believed the return of Christ to be imminent, sought American freedom of religion and its separation of church and state, refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory, resettlement in 1815 was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania upon purchase of Harmonist lands by Abraham Ziegler, Harmony’s "second founder." They built the first Mennonite church west of the Allegheny Mountains, now a Harmony Museum property.

The main Harmony Museum building was constructed in 1809 as a Harmony Society warehouse, granary and wine cellar. The museum presents area history with guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites may be visited by appointment. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Annual Quilt and Coverlet Show at Harmony Museum March 8-9

HARMONY, Pa. -- Antique, heritage and contemporary quilts and coverlets will be shown at the Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall on Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9. Some items will be available for purchase, and visitors can vote for their favorites to be declared best-of-show.

Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Stewart Hall is at 218 Mercer St. in the heart of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Admission is $5, with proceeds supporting museum operations.

Area residents and dealers will exhibit quilts and coverlets that are antique, family heirlooms or examples of outstanding contemporary work and design. Several pieces from the museum’s collection will be displayed, including coverlets made between the 1840s and 1860s by Harmony weaver Adam Hoerr.

Assisting in show arrangements are Richard and Susan Webb of Harmony’s The Linden Tree antique shop, authorities on antique quilts and coverlets. They will display items from their collection and shop, and Richard will be on hand to answer visitors’ questions.

Harmony was founded in 1804 by the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area. They expected Christ’s return to be imminent, sought religious freedom without state involvement, as pacifists refused military service and, in 1807, adopted celibacy. As the Harmonists relocated to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, resettlement was led by Mennonites whose hilltop meetinghouse, now part of the Harmony Museum, was the first Mennonite church west of the Allegheny Mountains.

The area’s recorded history began a half-century earlier, with a Delaware Indian village visited by George Washington during his late 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from territory claimed by the Virginia Colony. The French responded that the British should stay away from New France. This led the following spring to the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington near here on Dec. 27, 1753, by an Indian from a northern tribe allied with the French.

Guided museum tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except on Mondays and holidays.

Awards Presented, Indiana Landmark Described During Harmony's Harmoniefest

HARMONY, Pa. -- Five awards recognizing preservation and other community improvements were presented Saturday (Feb. 15) by Historic Harmony, the historical society and preservation advocate operates the nine-site Harmony Museum.

The evening included a program about New Harmony, Ind., settled in 1814 by Harmony’s founders. Historic New Harmony Director Connie A. Weinzapfel described the Indiana town’s continued vigor based on the strengths of historic significance and cultural activity.

Banjo music was performed by Butler’s Nic Landon of Butler to commemorate Stephen Foster 150 years after his death; Foster lived in Harmony briefly as child, celebrating his sixth birthday here in 1832.

During a brief annual business meeting it was announced that at least 226 members and friends invested more than 9,225 volunteer hours in Historic Harmony’s success in 2013. Members approved a balanced budget for 2014 of $134,500, to be raised entirely through membership dues, contributions and revenue from events and the Harmony Museum Shop; the organization receives no governmental funding.

Heritage Award honorees were:

Stanley E. Whiting, Zelienople, for his initiative and perseverance as president of Historic Harmony in achieving designation of the Harmony National Historic Landmark District by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior on May 30, 1974.

Great Things LLC, for preservation and rehabilitation of its ca. 1875 Opera House at 253 Mercer St., Harmony.

Thomas Murray Jr., Harmony, for preservation and facade restoration of the 1837 Halstein House, 216 S. Main St., Zelienople.

In addition, Heritage Commendations were awarded to:

Jeffrey Byko, for the architecturally compatible garage constructed 2013 adjacent to his 1913 house at 309 German St., Harmony.

Megan Meeder and Michael Webb, for the architecturally sensitive facade renovation of their late 19th century house at 319 Mercer Rd., Jackson Township.

The awards program, unique in the region, was established in 1991. The 108 Heritage Awards and 14 Commendations presented by Historic Harmony since then reflect the importance of historic preservation and heritage to the area’s residents, economy, and quality of life.

New Harmony in southwest Indiana, a National Historic Landmark celebrating its bicentennial this year, was the site of two early 19th century utopian communities. It was established in 1814 as the second home of the communal Harmony Society that had founded Harmony a decade earlier. Today, populations of the towns are nearly equal. In 1825 New Harmony was bought by Scottish industrialist-philosopher Robert Owen as the Harmonists returned to Pennsylvania. His short-lived social experiment sought a perfect classless society. Historic New Harmony, a unified program of the University of Southern Indiana and The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, preserves and interprets the town’s history.

In her Harmoniefest presentation, Weinzapfel described her community’s ongoing success, achieved through preservation, heritage tourism, and activities of cultural and educational institutions. As elsewhere, adaptive uses for historical structures is of increasing importance to New Harmony as funding for maintaining such sites becomes more difficult. Sustaining interest in history is challenged as social studies disappears from secondary schooling throughout the country. Weinzapfel said her organization is seeking closer relationships with university business and education schools in developing new approaches for effective outreach.

Harmony Museum Presents Quilt & Coverlet Show March 8-9

HARMONY, Pa. -- Quilters and collectors are invited to display their favorite antique, contemporary and family-heritage quilts and coverlets next month in the Harmony Museum’s annual Quilt and Coverlet Show.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 9, in the museum’s Stewart Hall at 218 Mercer St. Admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting the Harmony Museum.

Prizes will be awarded for best of show and runner-up, with recipients chosen by show visitors. A number of quilts and coverlets will be available for purchase. Pieces from the museum’s collection will be exhibited, including coverlets woven on a Jacquard loom during the mid-19th century by Harmony’s Adam Hoerr, believed to have then been Butler County’s only commercial weaver.

Those interested in exhibiting or loaning quilts or coverlets for the show should contact the museum by Feb. 28 at 724-452-7341 or hmuseum@zoominternet.net. The museum will retain a commission from sales of privately owned items at the show.

The heart of Harmony and the nearby Harmony Society cemetery comprise the Harmony National Historic Landmark District. The area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by George Washington during his 1753 mission seeking French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. French officers responded that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian allied with the French.

The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded Harmony in 1804. They believed the return of Christ to be imminent, appreciated American freedom of religion with separation of church and state, refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania who built the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies, now part of the Harmony Museum. The Harmonists returned to the region in 1824 to establish their final home, Economy, now Ambridge, where the society was dissolved in 1905.

Harmony Museum presents this and much more of the area’s rich history with guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

New Harmony Bicentennial, Award Presentations Set for Historic Harmony's February 15 Harmoniefest

HARMONY, Pa. -- The bicentennial of New Harmony, Ind. is celebrated at Historic Harmony’s annual Harmoniefest the evening of Saturday, Feb. 15, with a presentation by Connie A. Weinzapfel, director of Historic New Harmony. The communal Harmony Society, founder of Harmony, began to create its second home in Indiana Territory in 1814.

Awards recognize area residents for preservation, rehabilitation and neighborhood improvement successes, as well as volunteers for Historic Harmony, the historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum. The evening’s program also includes music by Butler banjo player Nic Landon in commemoration of Stephen Foster 150 years after his death -- as a youngster he lived in Harmony briefly during 1832, and a silent auction.

Receiving Heritage Awards are Great Things, preservation and rehabilitation, ca. 1875 Opera House, 253 Mercer St., Harmony; Thomas R. Murray Jr., preservation and facade restoration, 1837 Halstein House, 216 S. Main St., Zelienople; and former Historic Harmony President Stanley E. Whiting, Zelienople, establishment of the Harmony National Historic Landmark District in May 1974. Heritage Commendations go to Jeff Byko, architecturally compatible new garage at his 309 German St. house, Harmony; and Megan Meeder & Michael Webb, architecturally sensitive house facade renovation, their late 19th century house, 319 Mercer Rd., Harmony.

Volunteers will be recognized for their thousands of hours of work on behalf of the organization and its Harmony Museum activities during 2013.

Harmoniefest begins at 6 p.m. with a reception. Entree choices for the 6:30 p.m. dinner are beef brisket, stuffed chicken breast and vegetarian lasagna. Admission is $30 per person, with paid reservations required by Friday, Feb. 7 by contacting the Harmony Museum, 724-452-7341 or hmuseum@zoominternet.net.

Southwestern Indiana’s New Harmony was the site of two early 19th century Utopian communities. The Harmony Society’s arrival from Pennsylvania began in 1814. It reached such economic success that the Harmonists’ second Harmony was called "the wonder of the west." New Harmony was purchased in 1825 by Scottish industrialist-philospher Robert Owen as the Harmonists returned to Pennsylvania to establish their final home, Economy, today’s Ambridge. Owen’s short-lived social experiment aimed for a perfect society with free education and abolition of social classes and personal wealth. Today, efforts of preservationists and local government attract visitors to a New Harmony that has become a center of culture and learning.

Historic New Harmony, a program of the University of Southern Indiana and Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, manages more than 30 properties in New Harmony which, like Harmony and Ambridge, now includes a National Historic Landmark District. As Historic New Harmony director since 1996, Weinzapfel has focused on utopian community structure preservation, led development of New Harmony’s preservation commission, helped create a community comprehensive plan adopted in 2009, and co-chairs New Harmony’s Bicentennial Commission. She is transitioning Historic New Harmony from traditional historic home tours to "a more dynamic, engaging exploration of the progressive themes from the town’s utopian founding."

Pacifist Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area of southwest Germany began settling Harmony at the end of 1804, organizing formally as the communal Harmony Society on Feb. 15, 1805. The community’s population eventually numbered nearly a thousand. After they relocated to Indiana Territory, Harmony’s resettlement began in 1815, led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania.

The Harmonists celebrated their society’s founding with a feast they called Harmoniefest. Historic Harmony resumed that tradition nearly a half-century ago as an annual commemoration of Harmony’s founding as well as more than 260 years of extraordinarily rich history local history that is commemorated at the Harmony Museum. Recorded area history began with an Indian village visited by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. The French response was that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian from a northern tribe allied with the French, but missed.

Historic Harmony Meets 2nd Donation Challenge

HARMONY, Pa -- Supporters of Historic Harmony have enabled the historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum to meet its second matching-gift challenge of the nonprofit’s 70th anniversary year.

President John Ruch said members and friends contributed nearly $5,700 during a two-month campaign that ended Nov. 30, more than matching a $5,000 gift from an anonymous donor. The challenge was inspired by Historic Harmony’s midyear success with a matching grant challenge that generated $11,000 in donations to qualify for a $10,000 grant from an anonymous funder.

"These gifts will help improve museum facilities and support its activities," Ruch said. "We are grateful for the donations the challenges encouraged, which also serve to endorse the importance of Historic Harmony’s work in history education, historic preservation and community economic development. Every gift, regardless of size, helps sustain our activities."

He added that Historic Harmony also expects to receive a significant pledged gift this month, which would bring total donations to within several thousand dollars of its $50,000 contributions target for 2013. Historic Harmony raises all of its annual operating funds independently, without reliance on continuing grants. It receives no governmental financial support.

Harmony is a National Historic Landmark. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with Virginia Maj. George Washington’s mission to demand French withdrawal from the Ohio Country claimed by Britain, leading to the French and Indian War. His party spent a night at a Delaware Indian village here and, on Dec. 27, 1753, the war’s first shot was fired at Washington near today’s Evans City by a northern-tribe Indian allied with the French.

Harmony was founded in 1804 by the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area. When they moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, area resettlement was led by Mennonites. Future composer Stephen Foster lived here briefly when he was a child, and Harmony’s Charles Flowers was perhaps the region’s last maker of the classic percussion Pennsylvania rifle for hunting and target shooting throughout the second half of the 19th century. The area was a significant oil and gas producer during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and now has a major role in the region’s shale natural gas production boom.

The Harmony Museum presents this and much more rich area history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites are accessible by prior arrangement. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Gasch, Rosenberger Join Historic Harmony Board

HARMONY, Pa -- Rodney Gasch and Richard Rosenberger, both residents of Forward Township (Butler County), take seats Jan. 1 on the board of directors of Historic Harmony, the nonprofit, volunteer historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum. Elected last month, they were installed at a membership dinner meeting Tuesday evening (Dec. 10).

They succeed Vincent Stefanos of Stowe Township (Allegheny County), a director since 2008, and Dennis McCurdy of New Castle, appointed a director in mid-2012, whose terms expire Dec. 31.


Gasch is a freelance writer and producer. A native of Fond du Lac, Wis., and agricultural journalism graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he is president of Latin American Children's Fund, a local nonprofit, and has been involved in Washington’s Trail 1753 activities and acts with the Sing Hosanna theater group in Butler.

Rosenberger is a retired machine designer. A Pittsburgh native and student of Western Pennsylvania history, he co-authored "Longrifles of Western Pennsylvania - Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties," published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. He originated and organizes the Harmony Museum's annual antique gun show.

Historic Harmony, founded in 1943, operates without dependence on local, county, state or federal funding. It has been called the region’s most active historical society, and its Harmony Museum is among the region’s most-visited small museums. Its mission is "to preserve and promote public knowledge of the Harmony area's history and heritage through its Harmony Museum collections and outreach activities, foster tourism in southwestern Butler County in cooperation with other organizations and agencies, and encourage preservation of historical resources in support of educational, quality of life, economic development and associated community objectives."

Harmony, a National Historic Landmark, is one of western Pennsylvania’s most historically significant places. In the mid-1700s the area was the site of a Lenni Lenape (Delaware) village visited by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand withdrawal of French forces from the region. Nearby on Dec. 27, 1753, an Indian from a French-allied northern tribe fired the first shot of the French and Indian War at Washington.

Pacifist German Lutheran Separatists began settling Harmony in 1804 as the Harmony Society, which became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. Harmonists were influenced profoundly by Revelation, the apocalyptic final book of the Bible’s New Testament, anticipated Christ’s return as imminent, and by adopting celibacy in 1807 assured their commune’s eventual demise. When the nearly 1,000 Harmonists relocated to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, Abraham Ziegler bought their 9,000 acres, including Harmony, and with other Mennonites led area resettlement. The Harmony Society was dissolved in 1905 at its final home, Economy, now Ambridge.

The Harmony Museum presents this and much more rich area history with guided tours 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Silvester New Year's Eve Celebration Now Harmony Family-Friendly Tradition

HARMONY, Pa. -- Harmony’s family oriented Silvester New Year’s Eve has become a unique regional attraction that reflects its German heritage by welcoming the new year at 6 p.m. -- midnight in Germany.

Every member of the family will find appeal in the National Historic Landmark’s activities throughout the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 31. Races that raise funds for Harmony’s parks -- more than 600 competed a year ago -- are Silvester’s big opener. A ball drop signals the final seconds of 2013 and fireworks mark 2014’s arrival. In between, there is all sorts of fun in the heart of the historic town founded in 1804.

On New Year’s Day, a Polar Plunge into the Connoquenessing Creek that skirts Harmony benefits the local volunteer fire company as well as borough parks.

Harmony was founded in 1804 by Lutheran Separatists from southwest Germany whose Harmony Society became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups. The New Year’s Eve celebration, organized by the borough with assistance of the Harmony Museum and local businesses, draws several thousand visitors.

As in Germany, New Year’s Eve here is called Silvester (or Silvesterabend) for the ancient feasts that commemorated 4th century Pope Sylvester I, who died on the last day of 335.

The schedule for this Dec. 31’s Harmony Silvester:

3 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., town diamond: 5-K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk sponsored by Ameriprise Financial, Armstrong Utilities, Blinn Insurance Agency, Harmony Moose, Hulco Design, Law Office of Lope, Casker & Casker, Law Office of McGrail & Racunas, MoJo Multisport, The Murray Agency, Robinson Fans, Sign Innovation, Up-N-Running and US Liner. Registration forms are available at shops in Harmony; online registration is at www.harmony-pa.us and www.active.com (enter Harmony Silvester in the search box).

2-5:30 p.m., Harmony Museum: Self-guided tours; comedy film short "Dinner for One"; Bleigiessen’s bits of melted lead to foretell what the new year might bring; and, from 3:30, a pork and sauerkraut dinner.

All afternoon: Beverages and snacks, including bratwursts and hot dogs by the Harmony Volunteer Fire Co., year-end sales by the town’s many specialty shops, and face painting, a gift basket drawing and live music at the Bottlebrush art gallery.


5:59-6:20 p.m.: The countdown to midnight in Germany, in German, starts the Sign Innovation ball drop, followed by fireworks and the diamond-jamming crowd singing "Auld Lang Syne."

The Jan. 1 Polar Plunge into the frigid creek at Harmony’s canoe launch area, at the west end of Jackson Street, takes place at 1 p.m. Plungers are welcome to warm up at the Harmony Inn, Mercer and Wood streets, starting at 11 a.m. Registration begins at the canoe launch at noon, but advance registrations are accepted by mail or online at the Harmony Web site or active.com, and plungers can be sponsored for $20 each. Those not up to plunging are invited to be there to cheer on the brave New Year’s Day swimmers.

Village Post Office Opens at Harmony Museum Shop

HARMONY, Pa. -- Historic Harmony and the U.S. Postal Service will conduct an official grand opening for the Village Post Office at the Harmony Museum Shop in the museum’s Wagner House annex, 222 Mercer St., at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

The Village Post Office returns the convenience of basic postal retail services lost to residents and businesses when lease expiration closed Harmony’s Post Office at the Municipal Building in mid-2009.

Harmony’s former Post Office occupied the same Wagner House space for many decades before being moved to the Municipal Building in 1967.

As the Postal Service is informing area customers, the new Village Post Office offers "popular Postal products and services. With convenient hours and location, you can mail letters and ship your Flat-Rate Priority packages right where you shop." Customers can buy Forever stamp booklets, obtain free Priority Mail Flat Rate supplies, drop off postage-prepaid packages for Postal Service pickup, and deposit mail in a sidewalk collection box. They will also enjoy free parking adjacent to the Museum Shop.

Retail postal services are available during regular Museum Shop hours: Tuesday-Saturday noon-4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m.. It is closed on Mondays and holidays.

The concept of establishing Village Post Offices in existing local businesses was introduced by the Postal Service two years ago. The first was opened in Malone, Wash., and there are now more than 430 across the nation.

"Historic Harmony proposed bringing a Village Post Office to our Museum Shop primarily as a convenience and need fulfillment for area residents and businesses, as well as for the tourists and shoppers Harmony attracts," said President John Ruch. "The Postal Service quickly agreed, and we’ve received many appreciative comments for having taken this initiative. We will receive a modest monthly operating fee from the Postal Service, but more important, we also expect this valuable new service at the Harmony Museum to increase customer traffic not only at our shop, but for all the retail businesses in Harmony."

Harmony is a National Historic Landmark. The area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by George Washington during his late 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the territory, leading to the French and Indian War. Nearby, on Dec. 27, 1753, what a number of historians consider its first shot was fired at Washington by an Indian allied with the French. It missed.

Harmony has been attracting tourists since soon after the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded the town in 1804. They believed the return of Christ to be imminent, came to America for benefits of its religious freedom and separation of church and state, refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-15, resettlement was led by Mennonites whose meetinghouse was the sect’s first west of the Alleghenies. The Harmonists returned to the region in 1824 to establish Economy, now Ambridge, only 22 miles from Harmony, where the society was dissolved in 1905.

The Harmony Museum presents this and much more rich area history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Christmas Season "Giving Tree" Benefits Harmony Museum

HARMONY, Pa -- For the 20th consecutive year a community Christmas tree is presented in the garden of the Harmony Museum, with its ornaments added through contributions that support museum operations.

The Giving Tree has been a popular museum fundraiser every holiday season since it began in 1994. A cut evergreen or artificial tree during its first 12 Christmases, since 2006 the Giving Tree has been the live pine donated for the garden by museum member Suzie Rape of Zelienople.

Each $10 contribution by an individual, family or business places an ornament on the tree. Gifts can be sent to Giving Tree, Historic Harmony, P.O. Box 524, Harmony, PA 16037.

The museum is operated by Historic Harmony, a nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate marking its 70th anniversary this year. Its main building, on the diamond at the center of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District, was built by the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists who founded the town in 1804.

Historic Harmony Seeks 2014 Heritage Award Nominations

HARMONY, Pa -- Historic Harmony, the historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum, is accepting nominations for its 2014 Heritage Awards. Honorees will receive their awards at Historic Harmony’s Harmoniefest dinner and history program on Feb. 15.

The only recognition program of its kind in Butler County offers awards for preservation, restoration and renovation, as well as for encouraging education and appreciation for local history.

The organization has presented 105 Heritage Awards since establishing the program in 1991, reflecting the importance of historic preservation and heritage to the area’s residents, economy and quality of life. Most have involved structures in Harmony and Zelienople, but other recipients were in Evans City as well as Connoquenessing, Forward, Jackson and Lancaster townships in Butler County and Franklin and Beaver townships in Beaver County.

Each nomination must be submitted in writing and include the name, address, and phone number of the person submitting it. Nominations for preservation, restoration and rehabilitation projects should describe why a site is worthy of recognition, include its specific location, and provide the owner's name, address and telephone number. Appropriateness of materials is a critical factor in determining award eligibility. Those for local history education and appreciation should explain why the nominated individual or organization should be recognized, and the nominee’s address and phone number.

Nominations can be mailed to Heritage Awards, Historic Harmony, P.O. Box 524, Harmony PA 16037, or e-mailed to hmuseum@zoominternet.net. Historic Harmony's board of directors chooses award recipients.

One Heritage Award was presented in February 2013, to Jodi & Roger Correll for facade restoration and rehabilitation involving their Harmony home, a ca. 1805 Harmony Society shop building.

Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District was designated in 1974. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with the visit to a Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indian village by Virginia Maj. George Washington. He was sent to the region to demand French withdrawal from lands claimed by Britain, leading to the French and Indian War. Harmony was founded in 1804 by the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area. When they relocated to southwest Indiana Territory in 1814, area resettlement was led by Mennonites whose meetinghouse was the sect’s first church west of the Alleghenies.

The Harmony Museum’s exhibits and library preserve this and much more rich area history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites are accessible with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony Hike Marks 260th Anniversary of Washington's Historic Mission

HARMONY, Pa. -- After Thanksgiving feasting and Black Friday shopping, three history groups offer a chance to chill out on a hike with George Washington along the Connoquenessing Creek in historic Harmony.

The hike, on Nov. 30, the Saturday right after Thanksgiving, commemorates the 260th anniversary of a mission to the area that a young Washington volunteered for-- an adventure that led to the French and Indian War. The date is also the precise anniversary of Washington’s overnight stay on the north side of the Connoquenessing, at a Delaware (Lenni Lenape) Indian village he and guide Christopher Gist recalled as Murdering Town.

Sponsored by the Harmony Museum, Old Stone House and Washington’s Trail 1753, the annual program gets underway at 9:30 a.m. at the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in the Harmony National Historic Landmark District. Guided hikes begin at 10 a.m. and continue every 45 minutes until about 1 p.m. Guides’ commentary includes readings from Washington and Gist’s mission journals, and provide expanded perspective on their hazardous journey between October 1753 and January 1754.

The newly commissioned Maj. Washington, only 21 years old with no military experience, had volunteered to Virginia Lt. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie to come into the Ohio Country to demand withdrawal of French forces building forts in territory claimed by Britain. Washington’s party spent the night of Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Murdering Town, obtaining corn and meat from the friendly Delawares. In a mid-December meeting at Fort LeBoeuf (today’s Waterford, Pa.), French officers instructed Washington to tell Dinwiddie that the British should stay out of New France.

The British ultimatum and the intelligence acquired by Washington during his journey were instrumental in triggering conflict the following spring that grew quickly from a regional conflict into the global Seven Years War -- history’s first truly world-spanning war.

A shuttle transports commemoration participants to the 1825 Mennonite meetinghouse on nearby Wise Road, a Harmony Museum annex, from which guides lead hikers on the borough’s popular and scenic hike-bike trail back along the Connoquenessing and Mercer Street to the museum. Along the way, hikers visit an encampment arranged by the 42nd Regiment of Foote, Campbell's Light Infantry, demonstrating Colonial military life and providing some flavor of Washington’s brief stay at Murdering Town. They also witness a reenactment of the failed attempt by a "French Indian" to shoot Washington near here on Dec. 27, 1753. Had Washington died in what some historians consider the French and Indian War’s first shot, there may well have never been a United States of America.

Author Brady Crytzer will attend the event to sell, sign and discuss his books about Washington and Fort Pitt. A book based on Washington and Gist’s journals describing the 1753 mission and other commemoration mementos are available for purchase, and refreshments will be served. The Harmony Museum, which has a permanent exhibit about the mission and displays "The First Shot," a painting depicting the Washington shooting incident, is open for guided tours 1-4 p.m. for an additional fee.

Hike reservations can be made by phoning the Harmony Museum at 724-452-7341. Admission is $3 per person, with no charge for children aged five or younger. Payment will be collected at the event. Each hike group will be limited in size, so participants are urged to reserve start times. The walk will cover about a mile on a well-maintained trail and borough sidewalks. Participants are advised to wear appropriate footwear as well as clothing suitable for the day’s weather conditions.

Left to right: Re-enactors Bob Wray of Ford City as guide Christopher Gist, Eric Forster of Butler as young Virginia Maj. George Washington, and Greg Rearick of Clarion, as the "French Indian" who fired the French and Indian War’s first shot at Washington near today’s Evans City, will participate in the commemoration at Harmony on Saturday, Nov. 30, of the 260th anniversary of Washington’s 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from the region and his overnight stay at a friendly Deleware Indian village at the site of today’s Harmony.
Harmony Museum's German Christmas Market Expanded

HARMONY, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum’s 2013 WeihnachtsMarkt German-style Christmas market on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 9-10, will have a record number of artisans and vendors. The event has become a regional attraction as well as the nine-site museum’s prime annual fundraiser, celebrating the heritage of a community founded in 1804 by immigrants from southwest Germany.

Presenters include 50 artisans and specialty vendors, museum quilters and weavers, and musical groups. Among vendors are merchants offering German and other European imported goods, antiques, and wine and beer tastings.

Additional attractions are food purveyors, children’s activities at a log house, the museum’s model railroad displays, and horse-drawn wagon rides through the Harmony National Historic Landmark District.

Each of the last four editions of WeihnachtsMarkt (Christmas Market in German) has attracted 4,000-5,000 people, ever since the event was designated a "Best in the ‘Burgh" by Pittsburgh Magazine. Those coming to this year’s market are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items as local food bank donations.

Beginning around this time of year in cities and towns across Germany, central squares are transformed into weeks-long, internationally popular Christmas markets. Harmony’s version lasts just a single weekend, but is otherwise similar. Its artisans and vendors are chosen to participate based on the quality and appeal of their offerings. Entertainment, food and refreshments also reflect the community’s German influence.

WeihnachtsMarkt hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission -- $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for students, free for children younger than six -- provides all-day market, museum and entertainment access, as well as unlimited wagon rides through town.

Musical performers are Alpen Schuhplattlers of the Pittsburgh Teutonia Mannerchor, Burke’s Bavarian Brass, Pittsburgh Swiss Singers, Augsburg German Band, and the Mad Bavarian. The Acme Tunes hammered dulcimer ensemble plays several sets Saturday in the museum’s Stewart Hall.

Many artisans demonstrate their crafts while selling quality items as diverse as wood ware and boxes; jewelry; wood carvings; furniture; ornaments; fraktur, paintings, drawings, paintings and other artwork; foodstuffs, including German roasted nuts, olive oils, vinegars, teas, Amish baked goods, flavored butters and mustards, and chocolate caramel apples; German-style tatting; pottery and glass ware; books and historical maps; punched tin; clocks and clock repairs; soaps and lotions; candles; locally forged iron ware; baskets; and wreaths, garlands and other decoratives.

Carols are sung late on Saturday when the museum’s live Christmas Giving Tree is lighted for the season.

Harmony’s numerous specialty shops offer even more gift-buying opportunities: works by regional artists, antiques, collectibles, jewelry, sewing and knitting goods, as well as vintage and other distinctive clothing and accessories.

Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80. Follow directional signs to plentiful free parking. Several parking lots are linked to the museum’s market by continuous, free shuttle bus service.

The architectural character of Harmony reflects that of the rural German villages from which most of its founders came. Many area Harmonist and later Mennonite buildings survive, and the community's award-winning preservation efforts have long attracted recognition.

The museum is operated by Historic Harmony, a nonprofit, volunteer historical society and preservation advocate celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2013. Harmony is one of the region’s most historically significant sites. The area’s recorded history began with local Delaware Indians visited by George Washington 260 years ago during a mission seeking French withdrawal from the region, leading to the French and Indian War; its first shot was fired at Washington nearby. Communal Christian Germans fleeing religious persecution founded Harmony a half-century later. They were followed in 1815 by the first Mennonite congregation west of the Alleghenies. This and much more remarkably rich history are presented by the Harmony Museum.

Another Challenge Gift Boosts Historic Harmony's 2013 Fundraising

HARMONY, Pa. -- Its success in meeting a grant challenge earlier this year has inspired a second matching-gift challenge for Historic Harmony, the nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate that operates the nine-site Harmony Museum.

The goal for the new drive is $5,000 in donations by Nov. 30 to receive a matching amount from an unnamed donor. The campaign will help support repair and restoration of Historic Harmony’s 1825 Mennonite meetinghouse on Wise Road and other facilities, as well as sustain museum operations.

President John Ruch said much of the $20,000 raised in the earlier campaign is financing roof replacement on the Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall, nearing completion, and other improvements. "We are grateful for the donations that these challenges encourage while also endorsing the importance of Historic Harmony’s work in history education and historic preservation. Every gift, regardless of size, is appreciated and important to sustaining our activities."

In setting its annual budget, the organization aimed to attract $50,000 in contributions for 2013, its 70th anniversary year. Historic Harmony receives no governmental operating support.

Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District was designated in 1974. The area’s recorded history began in late 1753 with the visit to a Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indian village by Virginia Maj. George Washington, sent to the region to demand French withdrawal from lands claimed by Britain, leading to the French and Indian War. On Dec. 27, 1753, its first shot was fired at Washington near here by a French-allied Indian. Because that musket ball missed its mark, Washington survived to lead America’s revolutionary army and become the nation’s first president.

Harmony was founded at the end of 1804 by the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart. The Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814 and area resettlement was led by eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites whose meetinghouse was the sect’s first church west of the Alleghenies.

The Harmony Museum’s exhibits and library preserves this and much more area history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites are accessible with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony - Old Economy Village Host 40th Communal Studies Conference

HARMONY & AMBRIDGE, Pa. -- The 40th annual conference of the Communal Studies Association (CSA) will be held Oct. 3-5 at Harmony and Ambridge, the first and final homes of the Harmony Society of Lutheran Separatists from the former German duchy of Württemberg that became one of 19th century America’s most successful communal groups.

Hosting the conference are Historic Harmony, the historical society operating the nine-site Harmony Museum, and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Old Economy Village. National Historic Landmark Districts in Harmony and Ambridge reflect the communities’ importance in illustrating development of American heritage as well as their physical integrity and quality. The districts were the first designated in Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia.

Harmony and Old Economy Village also co-hosted CSA's 2005 conference, and in 1976 the organization’s third conference was at Old Economy Village.

CSA conferences are held at sites of historic intentional communities and are international gatherings of scholars, site personnel, members of active communes, and others involved in studies as diverse as history, anthropology, religion, sociology and political science.

The theme for the Harmony-Old Economy gathering is "Transitions in Leadership," with participants exploring causes of organizational evolution and effects of such transitions on community longevity and survival.

The conference begins with a Thursday evening reception in Harmony Museum’s Stewart Hall, presented by Beaver County Tourism and Historic Harmony, followed by CSA’s opening dinner program at Grace Church of Harmony, part of which was the Harmony Society’s meetinghouse 1809-1814, making Grace Church Butler County’s oldest place of worship in continuous use.

Conferees convene Friday at Old Economy Village and on Saturday at Harmony’s Grace Church. About 50 presentations will explore communal and related subjects, and guided historic site tours are part of each day’s program. The conference concludes Saturday evening with a dinner program at the Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North.


Two pre-conference tours are scheduled, on Wednesday to Zoar, Ohio, founded in 1817 as a commune by dissenters who also broke from the state Lutheran Church of Württemberg, and on Thursday to Arthurdale, W.Va., founded in 1934 as the first New Deal Homestead Community established with support of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Harmony, in Butler County 30 miles north of Pittsburgh, was founded in 1804 as their first American home by pacifist Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area pursuing American freedoms of religion and separation of church and state. They organized as the communal Harmony Society, anticipated the imminent return of Christ, and in 1807 adopted celibacy. With as many as 1,000 members by 1814, the Harmonists relocated to southwest Indiana Territory to build what became New Harmony, also a National Historic Landmark District, returning in 1824 to establish Economy in Beaver County, now Ambridge, only 20 miles from Harmony. The commune was dissolved at Economy in 1905.

The Communal Studies Association, founded in 1974, is headquartered in Amana, Ia. Additional information about the 2013 conference and registration is available at the CSA Web site, www.communalstudies.info.

Contact: Kathleen Fernandez, CSA Executive Director, 330-456-3611

Harmony Museum Antiques Show at Historic 1805 Barn September 28 - 29th

HARMONY, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum presents a quality-focused antique show and sale at its historic 1805 barn annex at 303 Mercer Rd. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28-29.

Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3, with proceeds benefiting museum operations. Lunch and refreshments will be available.

Participating dealers are Alley Antiques, Butler; Candlewick Antiques, Ardara; Frank & Ruth Connell, Evans City; Deborah Howard, Mount Pleasant; Kensington Court Antiques Boutique, New Kensington; King's Antiques, Hilliards; Pickle Barrel Antiques, Evans City; Sanford's Antiques, Chicora; Silverman's Antiques, Cranberry; Jack Squires Antiques, Grove City; and Weathervane Antiques, New Castle.

All were invited on the basis of their reputations for quality. Primitives, jewelry, furniture, smalls, military, glassware, toys, pottery, artwork and country items will be available.

The event’s organizer is Tammy Gallagher of Sanford’s Antiques, a participant in the antique show that acquired a substantive reputation as part of the museum’s big German Christmas Market the past three Novembers. Historic Harmony, which operates the eight-property Harmony Museum, concluded antiques should transition to a stand-alone event that attracts a specialized interest.

Harmony is a National Historic Landmark District. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with an Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his mission to demand the French withdraw from British territory. The French response was that the British should stay out of New France. The result was the French and Indian War, whose first shot was fired at Washington by a "French Indian" two days after Christmas near today’s Evans City. War erupted formally five months later southeast of today’s Pittsburgh with clashes between Washington-led troops and French soldiers from Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio.

The communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded Harmony at the end of 1804. They believed the return of Christ to be imminent, sought freedom of religious with separation of church and state, as pacifists refused military service, and adopted celibacy. After the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory, resettlement was led in 1815 by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania; their meetinghouse, now a museum property, was the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies.

Harmony Museum exhibits present this and much more rich area history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Harmony Museum's 9th Antique Gun Show Reflects Regional History, Craftsmanship

HARMONY, Pa. - Visitors to the Harmony Museum’s antique gun show, on Saturday, Aug. 10, will find an extraordinary array of guns, swords and accoutrements, many for sale, representative of those that contributed to settlement of the "Ohio Country" and other important events and eras in the nation’s development. Admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting museum operations.

About 30 dealers and collectors will participate in the ninth annual event, open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. Displays comprise primarily civilian and military long arms and pistols, with emphasis on the American longrifle.

In the years following the American Revolution, western Pennsylvania’s gunsmiths developed a unique style of rifle for hunting game in what was largely wilderness, becoming important local suppliers. They blended architecture and decorative features of eastern Pennsylvania and Virginia guns that had emerged as the Pennsylvania/Kentucky rifle through refinement of the Jaeger-type hunting rifles developed in Germany.

Numerous longrifles made in western Pennsylvania and other areas will be available for examination at the Harmony Museum show. Exceptional examples of Pennsylvania flintlock and percussion longrifles are valued for their historical significance and artful craftsmanship.

Visitors are encouraged to bring along items of their own for experts to explain and appraise.

Harmony’s own Charles Flowers made fine percussion hunting and target rifles throughout the second half of the 19th century in his shop only two blocks from the museum. Unknown examples have appeared at each of the museum’s previous eight shows, often brought by individuals seeking more information about Flowers rifles in their families for generations.

Information about the show and exhibitor registration is available from the museum, 724-452-7341 or www.harmonymuseum.org.

The area’s recorded history began with a Delaware Indian village visited by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to deliver a British demand that the French withdraw from the Ohio Country. The result was the French & Indian War, which arguably began near here on Dec. 27, 1753, when a French-allied Indian shot at Washington in a woodland clearing. He missed.

Harmony has attracted visitors since soon after the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists founded the town in 1804. Drawn to the young United States by its separation of church and state and religious freedom, they anticipated the return of Christ as imminent and adopted celibacy. After the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory 1814-15, the area’s resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. The Harmonists returned in 1824 to establish their final home, Economy, now Ambridge, 22 miles southwest of Harmony, where its last survivors dissolved the commune in 1905.

The eight-property Harmony Museum presents this and much more of the area’s remarkable history. It offers guided tours of three sites 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and National Historic Landmark District walking tours by appointments. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Historic Harmony Meets Grant Challenge But Seeks More Funds for Year's Goal

HARMONY, Pa. - Historic Harmony, the 70-year-old nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate that operates the eight-site Harmony Museum, met a three-month fundraising challenge with a month to spare.

President John Ruch said the organization’s members and friends contributed nearly $11,000 before May 30, enabling Historic Harmony to claim a $10,000 match from a Butler County foundation that requested anonymity. He added that the foundation’s challenge and generosity of those responding gave the society a good start toward raising the significantly more funds it requires during this anniversary year for facility improvements and other projects.

Ruch said announcement of the campaign’s success was withheld pending receipt of the matching grant and Historic Harmony’s subsequent ability to contract for replacement of the roof of the Harmony Museum’s popular Stewart Hall, used by the organization for exhibits and functions as well as a facility popular for receptions, celebrations and other private and community events.

Early in 2013, Historic Harmony launched a yearlong campaign to raise at least $50,000 to fund several important projects. "One way to look at this is that with success of the challenge grant effort, we’re about 40 percent of the way to the total we want to raise during this 70th anniversary year," Ruch said.

Members of Historic Harmony, which receives no local, state or federal governmental operating funding, approved a record balanced budget of $146,450 for 2013. Key among projects provided for in this year’s budget are replacing the roof of Stewart Hall, attached to the museum in the center of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District, and repairs to the 1825 Harmony Mennonite meetinghouse, a museum site expected to soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

"We are grateful to everyone who demonstrate their appreciation for the importance of the Harmony Museum to the greater community as donors and volunteers," Ruch said. "We still aim to raise at least another $30,000 by year-end to achieve the challenging objectives our members have set to support preservation of an historically important community’s heritage."

Harmony became a National Historic Landmark District in 1974. The area’s recorded history began with the visit in 1753 to a Delaware Indian village here, called Murdering Town for reasons that remain unknown, by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during a mission to the Ohio County to demand the French retreat from British-claimed territory west of the Alleghenies. When the French responded that Britain should stay out of New France, the result was the French and Indian War that expanded into the global Seven Years War; its first shot was fired at Washington -- it missed -- by an Indian from a northern French-allied tribe.

Harmony has attracted tourists since the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area established their first American home here in late 1804. Influenced strongly by Revelation, the final book of the Bible’s New Testament, they believed the return of Christ to be imminent, sought freedom of religion through American separation of church and state, declined military service and, in 1807, adopted celibacy. After the Harmonists began moving to southwest Indiana Territory in 1814, Harmony’s resettlement was led by eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites who established the sect’s first church west of the Alleghenies. The Harmonists returned to the region in 1824 to make their third and final home, Economy, now Ambridge, only 22 miles from Harmony. The society was dissolved there in 1905.

Harmony Museum exhibits and research library preserves this and much more remarkable area history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, with additional sites accessible by reservation. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.
 

Harmony Museum's Herb & Garden Fair - June 8th at Historic Mercer Road Barn

HARMONY, Pa. - Trade potted plants, shop among a number of gardening vendors and get expert answers to gardening questions during the Harmony Museum’s Herb and Garden Fair at its historic barn annex, 303 Mercer Road just north of the Connoquenessing Creek, on Saturday, June 8.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and admission is free.

Plant donors and exchangers receive vouchers for their choice of other plants; museum gardening specialists recommend that plants to be exchanged be potted well in advance to assure a fresh appearance. Members of Butler County Master Gardeners are on hand to provide advice to homeowners on selection and care of plants. Fair vendors sell heritage and other vegetables, herbs, flowers and ornamentals, as well as decorative items for outdoor spaces.

A light lunch will be available beginning at 11 a.m.

Herb and Garden Fairgoers are encouraged to also explore specialty and antique shops along Main and Mercer streets between the barn and town diamond in the center of Harmony’s National Landmark District.

Parking can’t be accommodated at the barn, although exchangers and buyers can use a drive-through lane to drop off or pick up plants there. Visitors should park at the museum or at municipal lots on Main Street south of the diamond, Mercer Street west of the diamond, and Spring Street south of Mercer Street, and ride the free shuttle operating between the diamond and barn with a midpoint Mercer Street stop convenient to the museum’s Weaver’s Cabin and several shops.

The Harmony Museum is open for guided tours of three buildings 1-4 p.m. Harmony’s hiking-biking trail, between the 1805 barn and the museum’s 1825 Mennonite meetinghouse, offers a chance to enjoy wildlife along the Connoquenessing Creek and adjacent wooded ridge.

Harmony was founded in 1804 by pacifist German Lutheran Separatists. Their celibate Harmony Society became one of America’s most successful 19th century communal groups, known for entrepreneurial accomplishments in agriculture and industry as well as their religious communalism. The museum’s barn is adjacent to the first land the Harmonists cleared for farming in 1805 and the hillside where they began a vineyard in 1807. After the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory, Abraham Ziegler bought their town and 9,000 acres. His and other pacifist Mennonite families began the area’s resettlement. The Harmonists returned in 1824 to establish Economy in Beaver County, now Ambridge, where the commune was dissolved in 1905.

A tourism site for more than 200 years and Western Pennsylvania's first National Landmark District, Harmony architecturally reflects the southwest Germany hometowns of its founders and has been recognized for the community’s historic preservation accomplishments. The Harmony Museum, open 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, interprets the area’s remarkably rich history that began with young George Washington’s mission to the region that led to the French and Indian War.

Harmony is at I-79 exits 87 and 88, about 30 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh, 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80. Phone the museum at 724-452-7341 or visit www.harmonymuseum.org for information about the Herb and Garden Fair or museum and historic district tours.

Community Revitalization with Preservation Presentation at Harmony Museum on May 14, 2013

HARMONY, Pa. – Municipal officials and residents can gain important insight about boosting local economies through careful asset management and historic preservation at an illustrated talk at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the Harmony Museum, 218 Mercer St. Admission is free.

Bill Callahan, regional community preservation coordinator of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, will describe how towns are successfully invigorating commercial and residential areas. He will discuss maintaining a sense of local culture and place, as well as investment-attracting planning and management strategies. Other topics will include: surveys to identify historic assets; the National Register of Historic Places; the state’s Historic District Act and Municipalities Planning Code; and state and federal regulations related to historic properties and preservation investment incentives.

Historic Harmony, the nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate that operates the eight-site museum, arranged the event because several Butler County communities are pursuing town-center revitalization and economic growth while retaining assets that are historically, culturally and economically important.

Although it has not instituted a formal program, Harmony, with a large National Historic Landmark District, is achieving revitalization through cooperative efforts of residents, business and local government. Since it and immediate neighbor Zelienople adopted a joint comprehensive plan, Zelienople has launched a broad revitalization program for its Main Street business district. Butler, Saxonburg and Slippery Rock are further along with major town-core economic and aesthetic improvement programs.

Callahan provides technical preservation assistance to municipalities, advocacy and business groups, planning commissions, local historic architecture review boards, community development advocates, Main Street and Elm Street programs, and property owners. He has nearly 25 years’ experience working with federal and state preservation in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Nebraska, and has worked in the private sector managing businesses in an historic downtown.

Harmony’s national landmark district was designated in 1974, followed by a local historic district in 1986 that has since been expanded. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with the visit to a local Indian village by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his mission to demand French withdrawal from the region. The result was the French and Indian War; its first shot was fired at Washington by a "French Indian" near today’s Evans City.

Zelienople was founded in 1802 by German immigrant Detmar Basse. The communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists established Harmony as their first American home in 1804 after purchasing about half of Basse’s property.

Historic Harmony Fundraising to be Boosted by Challenge Grant

HARMONY, Pa. -- Historic Harmony, the nonprofit historical society and preservation advocate that operates the eight-site Harmony Museum and is celebrating its 70th anniversary, has been challenged to raise $10,000 by the end of June to receive a grant of that amount.

President John Ruch said that 11 years ago the historical society met a similar challenge from the same Butler County-based donor, which has asked to remain anonymous. In February, Ruch announced that Historic Harmony needs to attract $50,000 in contributions during 2013 to help fund major repairs of museum facilities and other projects.

Historic Harmony, which receives no local, county, state or federal government operating support, adopted a budget exceeding $146,000 for 2013, a record. It includes replacement of the roof of the museum’s multipurpose Stewart Hall and reconstructing a deteriorated section of floor in the 1825 Harmony Mennonite meetinghouse, a museum site Historic Harmony anticipates will soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

"We hope everyone who appreciates the importance of the Harmony Museum to our greater community, made possible by the efforts of hundreds of Historic Harmony volunteers, will respond to this wonderful grant challenge. Those intending to make a financial gift to Historic Harmony during its 70th year can, during the next three months, double the value of their gift because of this generous challenge," Ruch said.

The heart of Harmony and the nearby Harmony Society cemetery became Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District outside Philadelphia in 1974. The area’s recorded history began in 1753 with the visit to a local Indian village by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington and his party during a British mission to seek French withdrawal from the region. French officials responded that the British should stay out of New France. The result was the French and Indian War, which grew into the Seven Years War, the first truly worldwide conflict. Its first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian believed to be from a tribe allied with the French. It missed.

Harmony has been attracting tourists since the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area began building their first American home at the end of 1804. Influenced strongly by Revelation, the final book of the Bible’s New Testament, they believed the return of Christ to be imminent, sought freedom of religion and separation of state involvement in religious affairs, refused military service and, in 1807, adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to southwest Indiana Territory in 1814, Harmony’s resettlement was led by eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites whose meetinghouse was the sect’s first church west of the Alleghenies. The Harmonists returned to the region in 1824 to establish their third and final home, Economy, now Ambridge, down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh and only 22 miles from Harmony. The society was dissolved at Economy in 1905.

Harmony Museum exhibits and research library preserves this and much more of the area’s remarkably rich history. Guided tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, with additional sites accessible with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Special Quilts and Coverlets in Harmony Museum Show March 9-10

HARMONY, Pa. -- Antique, heritage and contemporary quilts and coverlets will be presented in a special show and sale at the Harmony Museum on Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10. Some items will be available for purchase, and prizes will be awarded in several categories.

The show is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St. in the heart of Harmony’s National Historic Landmark District. Admission is $5, and proceeds support museum operations.

A number of quilts and coverlets from the museum’s collection will be on display, some for the first time, including coverlets made by mid-19th century Harmony weaver Adam Hoerr, and others loaned specifically for the show. Area residents, collectors, groups and dealers will display quilts and coverlets that are antique, family heirlooms or examples of outstanding contemporary work and design.

Prizes will be awarded for best hand work quilt, best machine work quilt, best wall or crib quilt, best original design, best applique/embroidered quilt, best of show, and best coverlet.

Assisting the museum in organizing and conducting the show are Richard and Susan Webb, owners of The Linden Tree antiques in Harmony and authorities on antique quilts and coverlets. They are also providing displays of Civil War-era quilts as well as linens that may have come from the communal Harmony Society that founded Harmony early in the 19th century.

Harmony has attracted visitors ever since the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded the town at the end of 1804. They expected Christ’s return to be imminent, sought religious freedom without state involvement, were pacifists who refused military service, and in 1807 adopted celibacy. The Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814-15 and resettlement was led by eastern Pennsylvania Mennonites whose meetinghouse was the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies. The Harmonists returned in 1824 to build their final home, Economy, now Ambridge, where the society was dissolved in 1905.

The area’s recorded history began a half-century earlier, with a Delaware Indian village visited by Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from British territory. The French responded that the British should stay out of New France; the result was the French and Indian War. Its first shot was fired at Washington near here by an Indian allied with the French.

Harmoniefest: Award, Volunteers, Civil War in Pennsylvania Program

HARMONY, Pa. -- More than 80 people were on hand Saturday evening (Feb. 16) as Historic Harmony presented a Heritage Award, recognized a small army of 2012 volunteers, and presented a program by the three authors of a new history of the Civil War in Pennsylvania.

As the historical society begins its 70th anniversary year, it also unveiled two new displays: one concerning area residents’ involvement in the Civil War, and an addition of a decorated wood chest to the museum’s Harmony Society exhibit. The chest, which belonged to members of the communal group of German Lutheran Separatists who founded Harmony in 1804, has been loaned to the museum by Historic Harmony members Delsa and Joseph White.

Harmoniefest, an annual dinner program that celebrates Harmony’s founding and 260 years of rich area history, is a fundraiser benefiting the organization and its eight-site Harmony Museum. It is also the occasion of its annual business meeting, during which members approved a $146,450 balanced budget for 2013, a record for the group. Noting that Historic Harmony "receives no operational funding from local, county, state or federal government, and has avoided the common trap of reliance on grants to sustain operations," President John Ruch said the organization will seek $50,000 in financial contributions this year to assure funding of several major maintenance and repair projects.

A Heritage Award was presented to Jodi & Roger Correll for facade restoration and rehabilitation of their home, a ca. 1805 hewn-log Harmony Society shop building, 614 Wood St. in Harmony. Ruch commented that "the 105 Heritage Awards and 12 Commendations presented since 1991 reflect the importance of historic preservation and heritage to the area’s residents, economy and quality of life."

Historic Harmony recognizes those who volunteered during the previous year on a plaque displayed in the museum’s entrance hall. Ruch announced that at least 252 members and friends had invested more than 9,753 hours on behalf of Historic Harmony in 2012, setting volunteer service records "by significant margins."

The evening’s well-received program by Michael Kraus, David Neville and Kenneth Turner presented the stories behind the subjects of selected photographs from their new book, "The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History." They signed copies of the book as the museum sold its stock of 20 copies. Kraus, of Ingomar, is curator of collections at Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh. Neville, of Murrysville, is a military historian specializing in the Civil War and publisher of Military Images magazine. Turner, of Ellwood City, is a Civil War writer and researcher and collector of Pennsylvania Civil War images and artifacts.

The recorded history of Harmony, among the region’s most significant historic sites, began with George Washington's 1753 mission to demand French withdrawal from British-claimed territory. French officers responded that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War. A "French Indian" fired the war’s first shot at Washington near today’s Evans City.

The Harmony National Historic Landmark District, designated in 1974, was the first in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia in recognition of the Harmony Society settlement’s significance in national heritage and culture. When the Harmonists left in 1814-1815, its holdings were purchased by Abraham Ziegler; his and other Mennonite families from eastern Pennsylvania led resettlement. The Mennonite congregation faded away early in the 20th century, but thousands of descendants reside in the Harmony-Zelienople area. Harmony gunsmith Charles Flowers crafted fine target and hunting rifles during the second half of the 19th century. Although the area’s oil and natural gas development began in the late 1800s, it is now experiencing a boom related to natural gas production from deposits in much deeper Marcellus Shale.

These and other aspects of area history are interpreted by the Harmony Museum, on Harmony’s diamond at 218 Mercer St. Guided tours are available 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays. Access to its Veith Library of historical and genealogical archives is by appointment.

Harmony Museum Presents Quilt & Coverlet Show March 9 - 10

HARMONY, Pa. -- The Harmony Museum will be joined by quilters and collectors for an antique and contemporary quilts and coverlets show on Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10. The museum will award prizes, and a number of quilts and coverlets will be available for purchase.

Show hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday in the museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer Street. Admission is $5, with proceeds benefiting the Harmony Museum.

The museum invites area residents, collectors and quilting groups to participate in the show directly or by loaning old, unusual or family-heritage quilts and coverlets for the show. The museum will exhibit a number of antique items from its collections that are not often displayed, including several coverlets woven in Harmony on a Jacquard loom during the 1840s by Adam Herr.
Anyone interested in exhibiting or loaning quilts and coverlets for the show, including any to be entered for judging, should contact the museum by March 22 at 724-452-7341 or hmuseum@zoominternet.net.  Also displayed at the show will be the multicolor Tranquility quilt hand-sewn by Museum quilters, to be given away at the museum’s annual Quilt in a Day program May 28.

The heart of Harmony and the nearby Harmony Society cemetery comprise western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. The area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to seek French withdrawal from British territory. French officers responded that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War. The war's first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian allied with the French.

Harmony has attracted tourists for more than 200 years, since the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded the town late in 1804. They believed the return of Christ to be imminent, sought freedom of religious with separation of church and state, as pacifists refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania; their meetinghouse, now a museum property, was the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies. The Harmonists returned to the region in 1824 to establish their final home, Economy, now Ambridge, on the Ohio River 22 miles from Harmony, where the society was dissolved in 1905.

Harmony Museum tours present this and much more of the area’s rich history. Tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80

Harmony Museum Ups Adult Admission Fees

HARMONY, Pa. -- Harmony Museum admission fees for guided tours of three historic buildings have been increased for adults and senior citizens by $2.

The Adult admission fee is now $7, and the Senior rate (60 and older) is $6. Youth (ages 6-17) admission remains at $3. Children under six years of age are admitted free. Guided tours include the 1809 main museum building and wine cellar and a neighboring early 19th century house, both built by the communal Harmony Society, and a Mennonite log house.

The board of Historic Harmony, the historical society that operates the eight-property museum, was persuaded to increase the adult and seniors fees because of rising operating costs. Museum fees were last raised eight years ago, at the beginning of 2005.

The center of Harmony and nearby Harmony Society cemetery became Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District outside Philadelphia in 1974. The area’s recorded history began with an Indian village visited by 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington during his 1753 mission to seek French withdrawal from British territory. French officers responded that the British should stay out of New France, resulting in the French and Indian War. The war's first shot was fired at Washington nearby by an Indian allied with the French. It missed.

Harmony has attracted tourists for more than 200 years, since the communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area founded the town late in 1804. They believed the return of Christ to be imminent, sought freedom of religious with separation of church and state, as pacifists refused military service, and adopted celibacy. When the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory in 1814, resettlement was led by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania; their meetinghouse, now a museum property, was the first Mennonite church west of the Alleghenies. The Harmonists returned to the region in 1824 to establish their final home, Economy, now Ambridge, on the Ohio River 22 miles from Harmony, where the society was dissolved in 1905.

Harmony Museum tours present this and much more of the area’s rich history. Tours are offered 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and additional sites may be visited with advance notice. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80.

Museum, Harmony Are Explored on PCN's "It's History" Program Feb. 10

HARMONY, Pa. – The Harmony Museum and several of Harmony’s historic sites are the subject of Pennsylvania Cable Network’s "It’s History" program scheduled for broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10.

In the region, PCN is carried on Armstrong Channel 47, Comcast Channels 100, 110 or 48, Time Warner Channel 35 and Verizon Channel 21.

A tour of the museum and other sites within Harmony’s National Historic landmark District was conducted for PNC in October by John Ruch, president of Historic Harmony, operator of the eight-property museum.

The weekly "It’s History" program explores museums, historic sites and cultural events to present historical education and preservation efforts of local historical societies and the commonwealth. Sites large and small across Pennsylvania have appeared on the program, among them Pittsburgh’s Senator John Heinz History Center, Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, and the John Wannamaker Building and its famed organ in Philadelphia.

Harmony’s recorded history began with Murderingtown, a Delaware Indian village visited in 1753 by young Virginia Maj. George Washington during his mission to demand French withdrawal from the region. Artifacts of the local Delawares and Washington’s mission are subjects of Harmony Museum exhibits. A French-allied Indian fired at Washington near today’s Evans City; this first shot of the French and Indian War is depicted in a painting displayed there.

Harmony has been attracting international tourism for more than 200 years, since the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists founded the town in 1804. When the Harmonists moved to southwestern Indiana Territory in 1814, resettlement was led by pacifist Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. The museum also informs visitors about daily life during the area’s pioneering years and Victorian era, local medical practice, area railroading, oil and gas production that began in the 19th century and is experiencing a new 21st century boom, and other aspects of an extraordinarily rich history.

The Harmony National Historic Landmark District was designated in 1974, Pennsylvania’s first outside Philadelphia. According to the Department of the Interior, National Historic Landmark status indicates "exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States...." National Landmarks comprise only about three percent of all sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Harmony Museum offers guided tours of three facilities 1-4 p.m. daily except Mondays and holidays, and can provide walking tours and access to other sites by reservation. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88, nine miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and 30 miles south of I-80. This year marks Historic Harmony’s 70th anniversary.

Pennsylvania's Civil War in Pictures, Award Presentation Part of Harmony Museum's February 16 Harmoniefest

HARMONY, Pa. --  Authors of the recently published "The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History," will give an illustrated presentation based on their book during Historic Harmony’s 46th Harmoniefest dinner and program that begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. Event proceeds support Harmony Museum operations.

Michael Kraus, David Neville and Kenneth Turner will discuss about 30 selected photographs from their book. They note that photographs from the era tell much of the story of Pennsylvania’s substantial involvement in the Civil War, the first conflict in which photography captured faces and locations. The nearly 500 photographs they chose from the region and across the state, most not published previously, comprise a comprehensive history.

Copies of the book can be purchased from the museum during Harmoniefest, and Kraus, Neville and Turner will sign them. "The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History," was published in December by the Senator John Heinz History Center as a project of Pennsylvania Civil War 150.

Kraus, of Ingomar, is curator of collections at Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, co-wrote with Neville the documentary series "Civil War Minutes," and has produced statuary and monuments for museums, battlefield sites and the U.S. Capitol. Neville, a Murrysville resident, is a military historian specializing in the Civil War, publishes Military Images magazine and has contributed images for several books. Turner, of Ellwood City, has written and researched for many Civil War magazines and projects, including the Time-Life Civil War series, and amassed one of the largest private collections of Pennsylvania Civil War images and artifacts.

Lutheran Separatists from the Stuttgart area of southwest Germany began settling Harmony at the end of 1804 and organized as the communal Harmony Society on Feb. 15, 1805. Within a few years the community would number more than 900 people; as pacifists, they refused to serve in the War of 1812. After the Harmonists moved to Indiana Territory, Harmony’s resettlement was led in 1815 by Mennonites from eastern Pennsylvania. Although theirs was among the historically pacifist churches, the Civil War found some Mennonites taking up arms as others were conscientious objectors, including those from around Harmony.

The Harmonists celebrated their commune’s founding with a feast called Harmoniefest. Historic Harmony, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, resumed that tradition to commemorate Harmony’s founding as well as the area’s more than 250 years of extraordinary history.

In addition to the Civil War presentation, Harmoniefest will include presentation of a Heritage Award to Jodi and Roger Correll for facade restoration and rehabilitation of their home, a ca. 1805 Harmonist hewn-log shop building at 614 Wood St., Harmony, and recognition of Historic Harmony’s many volunteers for their donation of thousands of hours to the organization’s activities last year.

Harmoniefest begins with a reception. Dinner entree choices are beef, chicken or salmon Wellington, or vegetarian. Admission is $30 per person, with paid reservations required by Friday, Feb. 8. Contact the Harmony Museum, 724-452-7341 or hmuseum@zoominternet.net, for more information and to place reservations.

2013 Harmony Museum Events

Feb. 16, Harmony Museum’s annual Harmoniefest dinner and program commemorating 250 years of rich area history as well as Harmony’s 1804 founding by the communal Harmony Society of pacifist German Lutheran Separatists. Illustrated presentation by authors of the recently published "The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History"; books available for purchase and signing, 6 p.m., museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, at the center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. Reservations required by Feb. 8. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

March 9-10, Harmony Museum Quilt & Coverlet Show, in museum and its Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, at the center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. Heritage quilts and coverlets from museum and private collections displayed, artisans and museum quilters demonstrate craft with many works available for purchase. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

May 28
, Harmony Museum’s popular annual "Quilt in a Day" program, 10 a.m.-noon, in museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, at the center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. Presented by Patricia Knoechel and based on newest publications and patterns by Knoechel and her sister, Quilt in a Day founder and syndicated television quilter Eleanor Burns. Reservations recommended. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

June 8, Harmony Museum's annual Herb & Garden Fair, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the 1805 museum barn annex, 303 Mercer Rd., and throughout old-town Harmony. Vendors, workshops, entertainment, food; trade plants, buy vegetables, herbs, roses and other ornamentals. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

Aug. 10, Harmony Museum’s annual Antique Gun Show, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., in museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, at the center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. Flintlock, percussion and cartridge firearms and accouterments from the 18th and 19th centuries, most for sale, with emphasis on those made in the region such as percussion longrifles by local gunsmith Charles Flowers. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

Sept. 6-7, Harmony’s Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival with concerts, jams, clogging demonstrations and more, at 1805 museum barn annex, 303 Mercer Rd., and throughout old-town Harmony, plus vendors, workshops, food. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341, www.concertsinharmony.com.

Oct. 20, Pumpkin Pancake Brunch, proceeds benefit Harmony Museum and Harmony Business Association, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in museum’s Stewart Hall, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, at the center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. Pumpkin and regular pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, beverages. Reservations suggested. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

Nov. 9-10, Harmony Museum’s annual WeihnachtsMarkt (Christmas Market). Juried regional artisans, antique dealers and other vendors present a marketplace in the tradition of Germany’s famed Christmas markets with quality artwork and handcrafted goods as well as German imports, plus entertainment and foods in the old-town center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District. Founded in 1804 by the pacifist, communal Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists, Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

Nov. 30, Annual commemoration of 21-year-old Virginia Maj. George Washington’s late 1753 mission seeking withdrawal of French from region, precipitating French and Indian War; its first shot was fired at Washington by a "French Indian" nearby. Program based at Harmony Museum, 218 Mercer St., Harmony, at the center of Western Pennsylvania’s first National Historic Landmark District, includes guided hikes over ground trod by young Washington, reenactors, exhibits, refreshments. Reservations suggested. Presented by Harmony Museum, Old Stone House and Washington’s Trail 1753. Harmony is at I-79 exits 87-88 about 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. 724-452-7341.

December 31, Harmony’s family-fun 2-6:30 p.m. Silvester celebration welcomes the new year on German time in recognition of community’s heritage -- 6 p.m. EST is midnight in Germany. 5-K and 1-Mile races, museum tours, traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner, comedic short film "Dinner for One" that’s big part of New Year’s Eve in Germany, interpret what new year may bring with Bleigiessen’s melted lead shapes, refreshments, entertainment, local shops’ year-end sales, all capped by ball drop and fireworks. The Harmony Society of German Lutheran Separatists from Stuttgart area founded Harmony in 1804 and became one of 19th century America's most successful communal groups. Harmony Borough, 724-452-6780, www.harmony-pa.us; Harmony Museum 724-452-7341.

 

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