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Find hotels near Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania



Interesting places in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania:
Unity Township   Lower Burrell, PA
Hempfield Township   New Kensington, PA
Derry Township   North Huntingdon Township
Saint Vincent College   Ligonier Township


Location is derived from the great work of WikiMapia

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Look up: Sycamore trees in winter

Look up: Sycamore trees in winter
Made by javadoug
Look up: Sycamore trees in winter Sycamore tree on Hunter Drive, Murrysville. How many people get depressed or sad in winter because of the weather and conditions outside? What are you missing. You are missing the beauty that still exists out there, but is harder to grasp. It may be cold, colourless and drab, but there is beauty there, nevertheless, and alwaysthemore. Just look at the Sycamore trees, if you have them near you. All of the rest of the trees I would still characterize as beautiful, even in winter, but the Sycamore trees out shine them all. You just can't deny it. They have lost their giant leaves, which aren't necessarily the nicest of leaves, so in summer if you were a sycamore tree you might feel inferior. But in winter it is now your time to shine. The other trees are sort of a dull drab gray or brown, but the sycamores have a beautiful white bark, especially as you ascend the trunk to the upper places. Just look up. Perhaps if you walk all day just looking at your feet, which if you are walking in the woods might be good advice, so that you don't trip over a root or fallen branch, but you must resist that urge and look up at some of that beauty just above you. Whoever endowed you with two sharp eyes to perceive perhaps left out maybe one more to look skyward. But seriously the times I find myself looking up, especially at nature, are the most joyous. The white bark of the sycamore is a great sight to see in winter, so go see it. I've tried to photograph it, and that looks nice, but without the effect of walking around or even driving by one of these great trees, you don't get the full effect. In Pittsburgh old sycamores line many of the roads, but the younger ones in the parks and woods outshine these and deserve a look. One of these days I'll find a way to ascend one of these great beauties to try to get a close up photo of the white bark, just to see how that would turn out. I wrote this a few years ago, and now that I have my new camera with the 12x zoom, I no longer feel the need to climb the tree to get a good shot :)

Tristan und Isolde

Tristan und Isolde
Made by javadoug
Seen while walking my bike after a flat tire.. Tonight I went to see a superb performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra -- Richard Wagner : Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Prelude und Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and Beethoven's Symphony number 5 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_und_Isolde I know beauty when I see it, or in this case hear it, feel it, experience it profoundly! The Tristan und Isolde gave me goosebumps!! If you've never experienced a live performance of symphonic music, it is a sensation you must try, the dynamic range is profound, the nuances superb, everything is so much more noticeable, it is just extraordinary! I took a vacation day Wednesday, that's when I took a bike ride from Keystone Park to Derry, and when I was climbing the ridge beyond Derry, I noticed my tire was going flat, so I turned around and high-tailed it back, almost flying down this steep hill on Chestnut Ridge. I noticed an American Chestnut growing up there. Just beyond Derry on the way back, I saw two Mute swans at Derry lake (lake Ethel). They are residents there. The tire was still ridable, but getting constantly flatter. Just past that, I asked a local resident to borrow a pump. He was very nice to comply. Wouldn't you know, he had this huge industrial powered pump. And it blew out my tire altogether . I thanked him nevertheless, I felt sort of embarrassed, and bad for him, even though it was my tire. So I walked back to Keystone lake with my bike, running/jogging half the time. Great exercise.

Help on Wheels

Help on Wheels
Made by Images by A.J.
A helper set trundles west along the Pittsburgh Line near Greensburg. Many of the longer, heavier trains running the Pittsburgh Line between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg (the backbone of the old Pennsylvania Railroad that crosses the Alleghenies) require a set or two of manned helper engines pushing from the rear. A train can only tolerate so much pulling power from the front. Too much pull and the train will snap into two sections (a coupler knuckle, the mechanical fuse in the system, will break at somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 pounds of force) and the train will go into emergency (the air will dump when the air hoses between the two sections of the train come apart). So, if you have too much train to pull from the front, you have to also push from the rear. Helper crews spend their days coupling their two-engine helper sets to the back end of trains going up and over the Alleghenies—push a train east, then push a train west, then push another train east, and so on. Helpers are needed even more in the winter when rails become icy and the front end units don’t have as much traction as they do in warmer weather.

Western Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge at Saltsburg

Western Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge at Saltsburg
Made by Kordite
The stone pillars still standing in the river were built in 1855 when the Northwestern Railroad Company spanned the Kiskiminetas River with a bridge 1,250 feet long. The railroad tracks were 72 feet above river level. Wrought iron for the trusswork was imported from Sweden; to protect that pure iron from the weather, the trusswork was sheathed with pine boards brought to the site in canal boats. The bridge was abandoned in 1882 when the Salina Tunnel was was cut through the neck of the of the river bend west of Avonmore. Thereafter, the railroad ran on the north side of the river, and the tracks into Saltsburg were located on the towpath of the abandoned canal. When the Conemaugh and Loylhanna Dams were built in 1952, it was necessary to relocate the tracks to their current position on higher ground. Stones from the bridge can be seen in a wall on Washington Street next to the United Presbyterian Church; one of the stones is a large tablet, dated 1855, bearing the names of the men responsible for construction of the bridge.

Creek Falls, west of Scottdale, Pa

Creek Falls, west of Scottdale, Pa
Made by Equinox27
On Jacob's Creek, in Southwest Pennsylvania, this was one of our favorite places to hang out when we were kids. There used to be a mill here long ago but now even the road to it is impassable for anything other than four wheel drive vehicles. My Mom and Dad had their first date here, apparently it was more family friendly then than it has been in recent years. The area where the water drops off is very deep and we were always told that there was a railroad car at the bottom. The railroad is directly above this on the left and is the easiest way to get to it. Kids still come here from quite a distance because it is so unsupervised and wild. There have been names of Pittsburgh area towns spray painted on the rocks. I am not sure who owns this land, I have heard different stories. Much of the land in Creek Hills or Crick Hills, as it is called, is State Game Lands and that may include this. Perhaps it is part of the easement for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad. Anyone know?

Westmoreland Conservancy Calendar

Westmoreland Conservancy Calendar
Made by javadoug
This is the front page of a calendar that myself and other members of the Westmoreland Conservancy developed about one year ago for 2008. This year the Westmoreland Conservancy is organizing Conservation Connection at the Zoo to be held at the Pittsburgh Zoo on Saturday, May 3rd, 2008. Our purpose is three-fold: to promote land preservation, expand membership and to encourage like-minded organizations to meet and mingle at a dinner at a great Pittsburgh venue like the zoo. We would like to invite everyone to attend. If you are interested, please contact us. Thanks!

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point
Made by javadoug
This trestle is part of a beautiful parcel of land, over Jacob's Creek in Westmoreland County. They were looking down between the wood beams to the creek, and remarking hey, that's pretty far down from wikipedia: Vanishing points were first used by Renaissance artists such as Donatello and Masaccio. Vanishing points can also refer to the point in the distance where the two verges of a road appear to converge. This is often used to help assess the upcoming curves in the road; to judge the radius and therefore the entry speed and optimum line. If the vanishing point moves towards you or to your sides, the curve is tightening. If the vanishing point moves away from you or comes to center, the curve is straightening. THANKS to for the idea of Vanishing Point as a theme!!

Vintage Postcards

Vintage Postcards
Made by Peachhead (Loretta Killian)
Main Street looking north in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, PA in the mid 1920s. See next card for mid 1950s view. Recognizable buildings--GC Murphy 5 &10 store on right, large gray building on left is The Bon Ton department store, Troutman's department store is the building on the far left, just a sliver of it showing, all visible in the 1950s card also. It would be cool if someone who lives in the Greensburg area could take an after photo to add to the comments to show what it looks like downtown now. [I checked Google Street views and some of the buildings have been razed with others now in their place. Troutman's building is still there but it appears to be an office building now. The store went out of business in the late 70s.]

Lane house in summer, 1996

Lane house in summer, 1996
Made by Equinox27
My favorite house in the hills of Western Pennsylvania shortly after I discovered it. This was the most isolated, peaceful setting on the edge of the State Game Lands overlooking the Allegheny mountains. I discovered the family that owned it and they seemed surprised that it hadn't been burned to the ground, though that seemed unlikely as it was solid stone. High up in the gable end was a date stone that read 1837, inside, a center hall plan with a staircase in the middle. I went back to see the house this spring after not visiting for several years after it had been sold the first time. There had been a fence around the place which was now gone and, as we pulled around the bend, this is what we found... (next picture)

Mail Pouch Barn -- Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (#4)

Mail Pouch Barn -- Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (#4)
Made by Harry Hunt
Best viewed large. This Mail Pouch barn is just so photogenic I couldn't just limit my postings to just one or two. The lush green of spring, split rail fence, and large farm pond combine to create a pretty scene. Also of note on the barn is the full-size John Deere tractor mounted on top of the roof of the little building attached to the side of the barn! This barn is located on PA 130, about 1 mile west of Stahlstown. Here is some background information on the history of Mail Pouch Tobacco barns. Catalogued by Ohio Barns as ID# MPB 38-65-14.

Please...Stop, Look, Listen and Live

Please...Stop, Look, Listen and Live
Made by Images by A.J.
Just a few hours before I took this photo of this specially painted Operation Lifesaver unit (one of seven such painted units in the NS fleet), a 15-year old girl was killed by a westbound intermodal train on the CSX mainline (Keystone Sub) in Smithton, about 30 minutes from this spot. She was wearing headphones and apparently didn't hear the train as she walked near the tracks. A young life cut tragically short. A train crew traumatized. People need to have the utmost respect for train tracks. Never, ever walk on them. A train can come at any time, on any track, from any direction. I have been surprised many times by trains.

Western Pennsylvania Springhouse

Western Pennsylvania Springhouse
Made by Equinox27
Located on the Rt 819, near West Overton, this springhouse is all that is left of a beautiful old 19th century farm. For some reason, the house, which seemed to be in fine condition, was torn down recently. Though the area around it is kept maintained, I have never seen any activity in this place, it just sits there. The construction of local sandstone appears to have originally had a layer of stucco, probably a mixture of mortar and the yellow clay common to the region, then whitewashed. The view from here is lovely, out over the foothills of the Alleghenies. I believe that is the Chestnut Ridge.

Heading for the Derby

Heading for the Derby
Made by Images by A.J.
The westbound Norfolk Southern Office Car Special (OCS) approaches Greensburg on the Pittsburgh Line. The train, which departed from Altoona a couple hours prior, is headed for the 2011 Kentucky Derby in Louisville. In addition to the F9PH ABBA locomotive consist, the train included the following 11 passenger cars: a HEP (head end power) car, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. Thanks to Curt for alerting me to the movement! Hoping to catch the same train as it heads back to Altoona next week after the Derby.

Still Blue

Still Blue
Made by Images by A.J.
I was happy to see one of the few remaining Conrail blue units on the point of this westbound empty unit coal train, passing under the old position light signal bridge at MP 318.4 on the busy Norfolk Southern Pittsburgh Line (note sister unit 6719, just behind 6718, is already repainted). It was a beautiful, mild winter afternoon in Western Pennsylvania, with temperatures in the low 60s. This line runs right past a fantastic skate and BMX park near Greensburg; so, while I was indulging my hobby down by the mainline, my 14-year-old was up in the park having a blast on his bike.

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Milkweed
Made by javadoug
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar on Milkweed Monarchfalter For those last few shots that showed the seeds of the Milkweed plant in December, here is a view of the same plant in Summer. It is often covered with these fun little Monarch Caterpillars! The Milkweed plant and the Monarch Butterfly have an almost symbiotic relationship. The Monarch Caterpillars are only hatched here! In winter, they all go to Mexico to one spot, an amazing story!

Tarrs, PA

Tarrs, PA
Made by Equinox27
I stopped to take pictures of this old farm near Ruffsdale, Pa.(check mapping here) and found a member of the family that owned it was around. She said the place was in the family for some time and they had decided to take control of a rapidly deteriorating situation. I believe it was the original Ruff Farm that the village was named after. She showed me around inside the huge house which had seen little change in a hundred years. What appeared to be the original army green paint was still on the downstairs walls. Hopefully, it has been restored by now!

Winter's Arrival

Winter's Arrival
Made by Images by A.J.
Winter arrived in Western PA this week, with lake effect squalls spawning flurries. This is one of my favorite haunts; but, it's very tricky because there are no aural cues from westbound trains. No air horn blast. No deep thrumming of prime movers. They just glide around the corner, silent and fast. You've gotta be looking east because once his headlight comes into view, he'll be on you in about 30 seconds. You can hear eastbounders a little ways off as they are climbing a shallow grade and working a bit harder.

Snowflakes

Snowflakes
Made by n!ck.
I know it's not technically the greatest photo, but I thought this shot should be shared. It was bitter cold today (and tomorrow is supposed to be even worse!) and though there wasn't significant snowfall, a few flurries did blow by. I found these ones stuck to the window and just couldn't believe how intricate they were. So, I snapped a photo through the glass. I had to crop it down a bit from its original size, so its quality isn't the greatest. Be sure to check it out in Large size. Made Explore! Peaked at #5.

Winter Pig Train

Winter Pig Train
Made by Images by A.J.
Another angle on one of my favorite shots. I caught this fast-moving westbound pig train just after a passing snow squall on New Year's Eve, 2008, just east of Greensburg on Norfolk Southern's super busy Pittsburgh Line. A pig, or piggyback, train is one consisting of flat cars loaded with truck trailers. This is, by far, the most efficient way to move truck traffic over long distances. More and more, trucking companies and railroads see themselves less as competitors and more as partners.

East Huntingdon High School

East Huntingdon High School
Made by Equinox27
When I was home for Thanksgiving, I heard that our high school was standing empty and might be demolished. It sure is prettier than the big box that replaced it! Actually, it hasn't been East Huntington for a long time. In 1964 East Huntington, the rural school we attended joined with Scottdale, the big rival from in town. We all dreaded it but it turned out it just meant more friends! I never had taken a close look at this terra cotta detail before and find it quite attractive.



Nearest places of interest:

Hempfield Township
North Huntingdon Township
Unity Township
Saint Vincent College
  Derry Township
Indiana County, Pennsylvania
Monroeville, Pennsylvania
Lower Burrell, PA

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