The Old Stone House




Old  Stone  House
The picture  at your left is of the ruins of the Old Stone House in the 1950's, a stagecoach stop on the Pittsburgh-Franklin Pike.  In 1822, John K. Brown bought a small log tavern, which he managed and decided to build a large stone house to accommodate the stagecoach trade.  One of his quests in 1825 was the Marquis de Lafayette.
Eventually sold to a succession of less capable innkeepers and faced with the decline of stagecoach traffic with the coming of the railroads in the 1860's, the Old Stone House became a private farmhouse.  Later, it was abandoned.  The Old Stone House was restored in 1964 and is now owned and used by Slippery Rock University for educational purposes.  It is located at the juntion of Rt. 173 and Rt. 8 southwest of Slippery Rock.

Murdur Near the Stone House
Near The Old Stone House, a drunken Indian known as Mohawk came to the home of James Wigton in June 1843 while Wigton was away.  When he returned he found that his wife and five children were brutally murdered by the savage Indian who later was convicted and hanged in Butler.



By Gordon Ovenshine
For The Tribune-Review
Sunday, April 21, 2002


Old Stone House still greets travelers
Brady Township, Pa. -- No, George washington did not sleep there. But the "Stone House Gang" did. So did "Indian Sam Mohawk" and "Old Man North Pole," a suspected counterfeiter.

They, along with stagecoach drivers, grain runners and France's Marquis de Lafayette highlight the history of the Old Stone House, 55 miles north of Pittsburgh where Route 8 intersects with Route 173 in Butler County.  The restored inn and tavern stands as a reminder of the excitement -- and danger -- of pioneer life in western Pennsylvania.

      The wayside tavern opens for the season on Saturday, History majors from Slippery Rock University, which owns the property, will offer public tours Saturdays and Sundays through October.  There is no charge.  You can Make the Old Stone House part of day that could include boating on the lake at Moraine State Park or a visit to Jennings Environmental Education Center, located across the street from the louse.  Graphic displays showcase local wildlife.  jennings also include 12 hiking trails and a managed prairie, open from sunrise to sunset.

      Other attractions include the Butler County Heritage Museum in Butler or McConnell's Mill in Portersville.  Both are within 10 minutes of the Old Stone House.  McConnell's Mill has numerous picnic pavilions.


      The Old Stone House, constructed from local sandstone, offered weary travelers a meal and a bed between 1822 ans 1885, but not much else.  Black bears, bandits and horse thieves roamed the thickets in those days -- and it wasn't much tamer inside.  A sign in front of the tavern laid down the rules: "no more than five to sleep in a bed," "no dogs allowed in the kitchen" and "organ grinders to sleep in the wash house."

      Patrons slept in tiny beds cramped together like in an Army barracks, says Dr. David Dixon, the Slippery Rock University history professor who runs the Old Stone House.  They ate in a wood-planked commons room, smoke-filled and reeking of stale liquor.  When ready for bed, they climbed up stairs as steep as a lighthouse's.

      "This was the boonies," Dixopn says, explaining that Nutler County did not attract a permanent European settler until 1796 -- 20 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

      "The Stone House was a mid-way stopover between Pittsburgh and erie," Dixon says.  "It was kind of an unsavory place, by our standards.  Men chewed tobacco and spit on the floor.  They didn't care what you slept in.  The only rule was that you had to take your boots off."

      Innkeeper john K. Brown constructed the house in 1822 in an attempt to capitalize on imcreasing commercial traffic between Pittsburgh and erie.  the trip took about 36 hours, Dixon says.


      The boarding house consisted of a kitchen, parlor and dining room on the first floor.  The second floor had one large sleeping room, partitioned by curtains.  Each of the rooms is recreated, with original and replica furniture.  Visitors also examine kitchen ware, maps and period clothes.

      According to traditon, the Marquis de Lafayette visited the Stone House on his way from Pittaburgh to Erie, shortly after it opened.  De Lafayette was an to Washington during the American Revolution.
      despite the Cival War, Dixon says a Pennsylvania regiment formed at the Old Stone House, Slippery Rock University's history department will stage a Cival War encampment at the site Saturday and April 28.

      After the war, with the coming of the railroads and decrease of wagon trade, the Stone House brgan to loose patrons.  In 1885, it was rented out as a private house.  Later, abandonment led to its disintegration.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservvancy restored the house in 1963.  Slippery Rock University has administered it since 1983 and gained full ownership in 2000.
This spring and summer, John Henris, an Slippery Rock graduate student from South Dakota, will lead a team of five tour guides at the house.  Henris specializes is 19th-century American history.
      "That period, 1780 to 1900, saw more change than has ever been seen since," Dixon says.  "We started out on the other side of the Allegheny Mountains and ended up on the Pacific Coast.  We transformed this continet."


*      The Old Stone House, a restored inn and tavern dating to 1822, is one hour north of Pittsburgh, where Rourt 8 intersects with Route 173 in Brady Township, Butler County.
*      Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Tours are free. Slippery Rock University owns and operates the Old Stone House.
*      (724) 794-4296 or, click on academic departments, then history.



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