I have been working with the Fort Pitt Block House for over a year, and in that short time I have learned so much about this fascinating structure and its significance to the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding region. When you think of everything that a city like Pittsburgh has been through in the last 248 years, it is hard to imagine that such a tiny building like the Block House could still be standing. Originally part of one of the largest British forts in 18th century North America, the Block House has witnessed Pittsburgh change over time from a frontier fortification to a major industrial center to the beautiful and modern city that it is today. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Block House remains with us today - a testament to the past; a reminder of our earliest history and of how this region came into being. The Fort Pitt Society continues to serve as the steward of the Block House, a role it has played for the last 118 years. The Block House may be just a tiny building, but it has a very large and important past. We need to preserve our history here in the Greater Pittsburgh region, and the Block House is very much a part of that preservation. It is the oldest authenticated structure west of the Allegheny Mountains, the only structure remaining of Fort Pitt, and part of a National Historic Landmark. It is a symbol of our beginning here in Western Pennsylvania.
I have been involved with the Fort Pitt Block House since January of 2012 in helping with their fund raising, but as a native Pittsburgher I have known about the Block House for years. I will admit that I didn't truly understand its historical significance nor did I appreciate the incredible dedication of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Pittsburgh Chapter, who on their own saved the Block House from destruction and since 1894 have preserved and protected this incredible structure. To step inside this building is to step back in time and to imagine a completely different landscape and way of living. The Curator, Emily Hoover, does a fantastic job making history come alive for all visitors - from children on a school field trip to international visitors coming to Pittsburgh for the first time. As compelling to me as the story of the Block House, is the story of the women who have been the stewards of this national treasure for all these years. Hopefully when you visit you will run into one of the ladies of the DAR and they can share their story as well as the story of the Block House.