Water Under the Bridge

By John F. Oyler
Copyright © 2017



The Log Home Tour
September 14, 2017



I received a message recently from the Pioneers West Historical Society regarding their Annual Historical Log Homes Tour on Saturday, September 16, 2017, from 10 am – 2 pm. They thanked me for attending the event last year and devoting a column to the Walker-Ewing Log House, and invited me to come back this year. Unfortunately that event conflicts with another commitment for me; nonetheless the tour merits mention.

Pioneers West is a wonderful organization of dedicated people committed to the preservation of the Walker-Ewing Log House, which is located at 1355 Noblestown Road in Collier Township. The house was constructed late in the eighteenth century and has been well maintained ever since. It is a remarkable example of the way people lived over two centuries ago and well warrants a visit.

Pioneers West sponsors a tour of their property and of four other nearby log houses each year. Festivities at Walker-Ewing this year include a performance by a folk music club, craft whiskey sampling, a demonstration of a metal detector, and a display of vintage clothing.

One of the other houses on the tour is Killbuck Lodge in Oakdale, a rebuilt structure that is maintained by the Friends of Killbuck Lodge and is used by Boy Scout Troop 248. The McAdow-McAdams Wilson Log House, at 100 Bruno Lane in Imperial is now owned by West Allegheny School District and used as an historic learning center by Wilson Elementary School.

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, 799 Pinkerton Run Road in North Fayette, owns the restored Walker-Ewing-Glass Log House and uses it as the centerpiece of its Heritage Homestead project. The Moon Township Parks and Recreation Department owns and maintains Coventry Log Cabin in Robin Hill Park, 949 Thorn Run Road. It is used as a resource by the Moon Township Historical Society.

The variety of organizations involved in these five properties is impressive; their common denominator is their passion for preserving our history and heritage. Somehow we need to find a way to support the efforts of such organizations. At the very least we need a bulletin board that keeps track of all the relevant events of all the local historical groups. Sounds like a good project for the Bridgeville Area Historical Society website.

One group of such organizations are those, like Pioneers West, that are focused on a specific facility – Woodville Plantation, Old St. Luke's Church, the Oliver Miller Homestead, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, Gilfillan Farm, the Thomas Espy Post (Civil War Room), the (Arden) Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, etc. Each of these facilities offers programs and open houses throughout the year, including many attractive events that history buffs miss merely because they aren't aware of them.

By the same token the various local historical societies offer a broad spectrum of programs focused on history in general rather than on a specific facility or event. Our Bridgeville Society has an excellent series of monthly programs each year, bringing in knowledgeable outside speakers who cover subjects as varied as "The Great Castle Shannon Bank Robbery" and "Origins of World War II". In addition they sponsor a monthly workshop focused on Bridgeville history; the current topic is the history of Bridgeville High School.

Nearly every neighboring community – South Fayette, Collier Township, Carnegie, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, etc. – has a historical society with some level of activity. Add to that the historical programs that are sponsored by and presented at the various libraries and you realize that the history buff has access to far more events than he or she could possibly attend. It would indeed be beneficial if all of them were advertised in one clearinghouse, so the history buff could take advantage of all the opportunities available.

We history buffs who live in the Chartiers Valley have access to a remarkable variety of relevant historical sites and events. It is unfortunate when we fail to take advantage of them.

Water Under the Bridge

  • "Water Under the Bridge" is a column written by historian John Oyler. It appears weekly in the Bridgeville Area News, a TribTotal Media publication, as well as in a more expanded form on his blog.

The Author

  • Aside from being Bridgeville's foremost historian, Dr. John F. Oyler is also an associate professor at the Univeristy of Pittsburgh, where he teaches classes in civil engineering.

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