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Uniontown and Vicinity

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Uniontown lies in a valley west of Chestnut Ridge at the intersection of several former Native American routes. Looking east from the valley, “the mountain,” or ridge, is a panorama of woods punctuated dramatically by the approximately sixty-foot-tall white Jumonville cross (see FA33). Uniontown, the county seat, was laid out in 1776 by Henry Beeson, a Quaker from Berkeley County, Virginia (now West Virginia). With his brother Jacob, Beeson built log houses and a mill just south of the confluence of Coal Lick and Redstone creeks. Named Beeson's Town for its founder, the name “Union” was used on deeds as early as 1780. Uniontown became a borough in 1796.

Bisected by the old National Road (now Main Street), Uniontown profited from the surrounding rich rural land and the stagecoach lines along the road. But it was coal and its extraction that brought wealth to the city. After 1883, railways linked the surrounding coalfields with Connellsville and ultimately Pittsburgh. The town's development can be traced through its domestic architecture, beginning with the modest two-story brick houses on Union Street dating from the 1840s. Large Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival houses followed in the 1890s, especially along Ben Lomond Street and South Beeson Avenue. Substantial churches, such as the stone Gothic Revival St. Peter's Episcopal Church (1884–1885, Charles Marquedent Burns; 60 Morgantown Street) and the handsome brownstone Asbury United Methodist Church (1913–1919, Andrew Cooper; 20 Dunbar Street), enhanced their surroundings. The town continued to expand to the south in the twentieth century with substantial suburban housing, many with the tall gabled roofs and Palladian windows that became popular later in the century. The largest employer today is the hospital, but tourism is a growing industry.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.

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