Skip to main content

Christmas Eve trip through the Laurel Highlands

On Christmas Eve, I traditionally take a brief four or five hour loop trip to an area of Southwestern PA I haven't been to before.  This Christmas Eve was no different as I headed east into the Laurel Highlands.

Route: PA 48, PA 51, I-70, PA 31, US 119, PA 982, US 22, PA 217, US 30, PA 711, PA 31, PA Tpk, I-70, PA 51, and PA 48.

The entire photo set on flickr is here.

When I got on PA 982 North, I immediately came upon this sign.

002

Obviously, I was curious about the Iron Furnace (more on that later); however, the sign style intrigued me.  The sign's font, besides being the same font from Law & Order, is what is used for the destination signs throughout the Laurel Highlands.  These signs come from the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau.  The style is slightly similar to the Keystone Town Markers we all know and love, but aren't exact.

So I did travel the four or so miles up PA 982 and then took a quick right turn onto Oremine Hill Road and came to the Mount Vernon Iron Furnace.

004

Amazingly, this stone furnace has been standing here since the early 1800s!  It was first built my Isaac Mason in 1798 and operated until 1830.  It is amazing that something over 200 years old and exposed to the elements like this furnace is pretty good condition.

Further north on PA 982 is the town of Youngstown.  The town recently had a replica Keystone Town Marker made - but it's nowhere near as nice as the originals.

Youngstown

The brief amount of time I was on US 22 between PA 982 and PA 217 in Blairsville.  I noticed that there were a lot of jughandle turnaroundd on this recently rebuilt section.  Many of the jughandles also had guide signs for advance warning.  Like the one shown below.

009

At Blairsville, I exited US 22 to head south on PA 217.  However, I did briefly stop in Blairsville, and I am glad I did.  First, US 22 had ran through downtown Blairsville until the 1950s when US 22 was moved to the north on a new bypass.  US 22 ran through downtown Blairsville on Market Street.  But to get to Blairsville from Westmoreland County you had to cross the Conemaugh River over this bridge.

011

I stopped and did a quick photowalk through Blairsville, and it didn't disappoint.

012

013


020

From there, it was a rather uneventful drive down PA 217 to US 30 and then PA 711.  However, I did find one decent road item in Donegal.  A Pennsylvania Turnpike cutout that has seen better days.

026

From there it was onto the Turnpike and back to my parent's home to watch the football game and begin the Christmas celebrations.  Overall, this was a nice little trip, I do think that the scenery would be enhanced if there was some snowfall, but I did pick up some new mileage on PA 982, 217 and 711, so I can't complain.  Happy New Year Everyone!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The story on how the unbuilt US 40 Expressway in Brownsville took 40 years to complete.

For nearly four decades, the four lane US 40 just east of Brownsville came to an abrupt end - shown in the photo above - at Grindstone Road in Redstone Township.   In the late 1960s, what was then the Pennsylvania Division of Highways (PennDOH) extended a new four lane alignment of US 40 eastwards from Broadway Street slightly over one mile to Grindstone Road where an incomplete diamond interchange was built.  Earlier in the decade, PennDOH had built a four lane US 40 in Washington County into Brownsville complete with a new crossing over the Monongahela River known as the Lane Bane Bridge.  This new highway and bridge allowed US 40 to bypass the older Intercounty Bridge and downtown Brownsville. 

After this new highway opened, nothing would happen to it for nearly forty years.  US 40 traffic would use the ramps for this planned diamond interchange and then jog on Grindstone Road briefly before continuing towards Uniontown on the original National Road. 
What is unknown (at least to…

The story of the Boy Scout Ramps on Interstate 79 North in NW Pennsylvania

If you are traveling on Interstate 79 North of Pittsburgh, you may notice the remnants of a set of off and on ramps at mile 100 just north of Exit 99 (US 422).  There's a story behind these ramps.  Forty years ago, these ramps were built specifically for two Boy Scout Jamboree's that were held at Moraine State Park - 1973 and 1977.  The ramps purpose were to provide access to the north shore of Lake Arthur where the bulk of the festivities and campsite for the Jamboree were located.  (Lawrence County Memories has a great write up and map of the festivities on its site.)

Not long after the Jamboree ended the ramps were abandoned.  There are still remnants of the Boy Scout Ramps today.



Above: Sattelite view of the Boy Scout Jamboree Ramps. 
Below: A view of the ramps from I-79 South.



The google street view image above gives a view along West Park Road of where the set of ramps intersected the highway.  The ramps provided direct access to North Shore Drive (which is the right tur…

The few clues of the Northern Durham Parkway

Sometimes when you look through a box of maps for the first time in five years, you come across something you may have easily over looked.  Such was the case when I found a 2004 (so rather recent) map of Raleigh.  This map was made by the Dolph Map Company for WakeMed.  In the Northwestern corner of Wake County, there were two items to the map showing roads that are still not in existence 13 years later.

The road is the Northern Durham Parkway - this is a proposed 19 mile highway from US 501 north of Durham to the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.  The first proposals for this highway date back to 1967 when Eno Drive-Gorman Road was listed on the Durham Area Thoroughfare Plan. (1)  Other proposals called the highway the Northwest and Northeast Durham Loop. (2)  The route would serve as a northern and eastern bypass of Durham almost serving as a near loop.  The route was fought vigorously for three decades by the Eno River Association citing concerns for the the Eno River, nearby n…