Where History Lives
The first cast iron bridge in the US was built over Dunlap Creek in the center of the historical district. It was a significant accomplishment of its day requiring the collaborative efforts of top structural engineers and craftsmen to complete the project. The bridge first opened to traffic in July 1838 and was officially dedicated in 1839. The Snowdon Ironworks, located behind the Flatiron building produced all of the cast iron for the structure. The Dunlap/Cast Iron Bridge was named a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1978.
Nemacolin Castle, also known as Bowman's Castle, was built at the western terminus of the Nemacolin's Trail on the east bank of the Monongahela River. It was built around the original trading post, Construction on the castle, including addition a crenellated tower, continued through the Victorian era, when it was considered an engineering marvel. The trading post was built shortly after the American Revolutionary War, in the mid-to-latter 1780s. Jacob Bowman began constructing the castle during the mid-to-late 1790s. The Castle is one of several large buildings of the 1850s (In this case, the site holds part of Fort Burd; the well dug by the Fort Burd soildiers) still standing in western Pennsylvania. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its alternate name, Nemacolin's Castle, was derived from Nemacolin's Trail, named after the Shawnee chief who helped improve and mark the ancient Native American trail through the Alleghenies.
The building is the oldest commercial structure in Brownsville's historical district, erected in circa 1835. Located at the northeast entrance of the "Neck" the triangular shaped, Flemish-bond brick building was built on a fieldstone foundation and has a curved corner façade which provides the name. The flat iron building housed the post office from 1835 to 1920 as well as many other business establishments including law offices, tailors, real estate offices, ethnic banks, and a restaurant. It is currently the site of the Brownsville Heritage Center and Frank L. Melega Art Museum.
The Monongahela Railway was formed in 1901 as a coal hauling short-line railway owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Pittsburgh and Northern railway. In 1915 it merged with the Buckhannon and Northern railway. While passenger service ended in 1950, the railway continued to operate until 1993 when it was acquired by Conrail and is still active today.
The Pike Mine was opened in May of 1901. Originally it was a small mine employing 15-20 workers a day that grew to a peak of more than 300 men. The mine was first owned by the Peoples Coal Company of Pittsburgh and then sold to Hillman Coal and Coke Company in 1917. The mine reached it's maximum production in 1920 and more than 1,000 acres of coal were mined during the 44 years of operation prior to the close in 1945.
St. Peter's Church is the third build on the same site and was originally dedicated in 1845. This Gothic architectural gem was built by Irish stone makers with locally quarried hand-hewn stone. It is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is considered an important Pennsylvania landmark. Still a place of worship, it is the longest continuously operating church in Western PA.
The bank was founded in May of 1912. It moved to 320 Market Street in 1895 and then moved to it's final location at the corner of Market Street and Brownsville Avenue in 1926. It closed in 1931 as result of the Great Depression.
Construction on Union Station started in 1928 to replace the original structure that served the Monongahela Railroad. The final cost was $450,000 and officially opened on June 19, 2029.
The Neck was a the local nickname for the Brownsville center of business and commercial activity. It is the narrowest section of the entire National Road.
The National Road was the first federally funded road built in the US between 1811 and1834. The road extended from Cumberland MD to Vandalia, IL
National Deposit Bank was founded in 1872 and constructed it's first building in 1900. It moved to the present location in 1923 at the corner of Market and Bank streets and was become a regional federal reserve Bank.
The Hillman Barge and Construction company played a significant role in the commercial and industrial development of southwestern, PA. The Hillman is best known for the fabrication of many types of shipping vessels. The business began as a distribution facility for commercial goods and then developed into a boat building enterprise which had an important impact on the reginal coal and coke trade. in the area.