Hanna’s Town PA near Greensburg is a quaint and realistic step back in time to a simple way of life nearly 250 years ago.
What you will find when you visit Hanna’s Town PA
I’d driven past the recreated buildings of Hanna’s Town a few times in the past however the place was always closed. It is only now that I’ve been able to visit whilst it was open and go on a guide tour of the site. For a $5 entrance fee this is great value provided by the Westmoreland County Historical Society.
The current Hanna’s Town PA site consists of a handful of reconstructed buildings which were made in the early 1970s. This reflects the structures in place during the town’s existence between 1773 and 1782 before it was destroyed by native Indians. Partial reconstruction failed to see the town thrive again and by 1786 the town had been formerly recreated as Newtown which is modern day Greensburg.
The fascinating buildings include a Tavern which you can explore inside with your tour guide. This included a great reconstruction of the furniture and equipment from the day. There was even a reconstructed bar area and bedrooms with authentic style beds of straw mattresses.
My tour guide explained the meaning of various phrases we use today:- “don’t let the bed bugs bite”, “bar and grille” plus “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. All these can be related back to this era of time when such as taking a bath once a year was common. This along with taverns sleeping 5 travelling men to one bed. (Remember they typically had one bath a year!)
Hanna’s Town PA was created after the land was acquired by Robert Hanna. He was a notable man of the court and this town became significant since it was the first Westmoreland County Seat and court west of the Allegheny Mountains.
Hanna’s Town also lay on the historic Forbes Road leading to Ohio Country. As a result Taverns in the area were frequent stopping points for travellers.
The court in the town sat 4 times a year (January, April, July and October.) Reconstructions of the forms of justice were present with the traditional stocks, prison and a whipping post. My tour guide explained some of the punishments given out and how occasionally they will re-enact a historic court case.
The gift shop has further items of interest. There are the various finds of pottery and tools used by the villagers which have since been excavated.
It was a hard life then, the people were virtually self sufficient. Each property (there were estimated to be around 30 at the time of the town being active) had to have an extensive garden for the owners to grow their own food. Fields had to be attended to, clothes made by hand. It was not an easy life by any means.
Hanna’s Town in PA was in existence during the American Revolutionary War and this was to be it’s downfall. The town had made a public statement that whilst they supported the King of England and were not against the British they also wanted to be able to do their own thing. Word got around fast and the local residents were wary of any reprisals.
As the Revolutionary War was coming to an end the King’s 8th Regiment of Fort Niagara and some native Indians were despatched to clear the lands going west.
These Indians reached the town on 13th July 1782 and burnt the place to the ground. Local residents took refuge in the fort across the road from the Tavern. Most villages survived yet Hanna’s Town PA was never restored to her former glory.
The site became farmland for more than 100 years. It is feared that this practice will have resulted in many historical remnants being lost.
Only limited archaeological digs have been performed, pictures of the findings are in the shop. It is from these investigations that this town has been recreated to such marvellous effect.
The rebuilt houses give a real feel of a throwback in time and a reflection of how life used to be.
I enjoyed the tour and discovering how harsh yet communal life was back then. The recreation and preservation of places like Hanna’s Town PA help us remember of how time used to be.
Hanna’s Town, 809 Forbes Trail Road, Greensburg, PA 15601