Women history-makers aren’t a new concept in Pennsylvania. While the soldiers waged war on the battlefields families stayed behind in towns and cities. Women, children, and other non-fighting citizens were left to make their own mark on American history. And in the end, it was just as important as what happened on the battlefields. Here’s the story of Pennsylvanian families coming together and the impact they left on the Civil War era.
Women and the War
Women and the War
John Heinz History Center – Pittsburgh
The Senator John Heinz History Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania. At the Heinz, you can find hundreds of artifacts and interactive experiences for visitors showcasing 250 years of the region's history. Stroll over to Heinz headquarters and view the plaque in honor of Jane Swisshelm, a radical abolitionist and outspoken Civil War heroine. Dedicated to ending slavery, Swisshelm faced countless threats as editor of several radical abolitionist newspapers. The museum also features artifacts and documents related to Mary Tebe, one of the few enlisted women in Gettysburg. She worked as a nurse, cook and seamstress, providing invaluable care to the troops.
Allegheny Arsenal Park – Pittsburgh
The Arsenal Park is located on the former site of the Allegheny Arsenal, which occupied a strip of land between 39th and 40th streets extending from Penn Avenue to the riverside railroad tracks. Established in 1814, the arsenal manufactured and stored military supplies during the Civil War, Indian Wars and Spanish-American War. The single largest civilian disaster of the Civil War occurred here when an enormous explosion killed dozens of workers, mostly young women. A powder magazine built in 1814 still remains on the park grounds, and at the Heinz History Center, just a short drive away, you can read accounts of the arsenal fire.
Blair County Historical Society - Altoona
Housed in the historic Baker Mansion, the Blair County Historical Society features exhibits on local history and a research library. Its purpose is to preserve, promote and interpret the history of Blair County, Pennsylvania. The Historical Society also oversees such destinations as the Royer Mansion, the Dick Schoolhouse and the Etna Furnace that are worth checking out. Inside, you’ll find a collection of documents and artifacts from the historic Logan House where Union governors met to endorse the Emancipation Proclamation.
Old Bedford Village – Bedford
A trip into Bedford is like stepping back into the 18th century. You’re first greeted with a journey through the stunning Claycomb covered bridge. The village itself holds over 36 period workshops and log cabins. You’ll find men and women walking through town wearing clothing inspired by Bedford’s past. You can learn about the lifestyle of families in this historic town through their Civil War retreats, schools for re-enactors, and family learning programs. Or you could just take a leisurely stroll through town or hop on a horse and buggy ride.
Eat Here: Bigelow Grille - Pittsburgh
Head chef Anthony Zallo is known for his American spin on Mediterranean flavors in this local hot-spot. With an emphasis on innovation and local preparations Bigelow Grille is more than just a convenient place to grab a bite to eat - it's a full on experience. We recommend trying the Goat Cheese Pierogies or the Crispy Pork Belly.
Sleep Here: Radisson Hotel Pittsburgh Green Tree - Pittsburgh
Located just three miles from downtown Pittsburgh and minutes from the convention center, museums and stadiums, the Radisson Hotel Pittsburgh is ideally located for business travelers and vacationers.