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Fort Pitt Block House

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Historical Organizations, History Museums

Mission: Our mission is to operate and maintain the Fort Pitt Block House as a historial site and museum, to maintain the surrounding grounds and to promote preservation, education, and public awareness of Pittsburgh's role in early American history.

Results: 2014 marks the 250th anniversary of the construction of the Fort Pitt Block House, our goals for this year are: - To utilize the celebration of Block House 250 to increase awareness in the community about the Block House and Pittsburgh's role in early American history. - To raise the funding needed to continue to operate the Fort Pitt Block House as a museum and historic site that is free and open to the public. Much of our activities and accomplishments in the past year focused on the planning and preparations for Block House 250: - A comprehensive restoration and preservation project was completed on the 250 year old structure to ensure it continues to stand for future generations. Funding for the project was provided through generous support from an anonymous donor and the Colcom Foundation; - The grounds of the Fort Pitt Block House received a much needed makeover highlighted by the Edith Ammon Memorial Garden. The garden was designed with two goals in mind: to create an attractive and welcoming outdoor space for visitors and to pay tribute to Edith Darlington Ammon and the other founding members of the Fort Pitt Society who were instrumental in saving the Block House from demolition in the early 20th century. Funding for the garden was provided by foundation and corporate support and the proceeds generated by the sale of fundraising bricks; - 2013 brought a record number of visitors to the Block House. 60,708, an incredible 67% increase over the previous year. About 20,000 of those visitors came during the four week stay of the giant rubber duck brought to Pittsburgh as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's International Festival of Firsts. - Block House Curator, Emily Weaver, published the first comprehensive history of the Fort Pitt Block House. The book is sold in local bookstores, online and at the Block House. Emily does educational presentations about Block House history at local libraries and retirement communities as well as for other nearby historic sites and societies.

Target demographics: Everyone interested in American and British history, historic preservation, the history of Pittsburgh, the French and Indian War, and the American Revolution

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 60,000 visitors

Geographic areas served: All residents of Pittsburgh, the surrounding region, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, United States as well as international visitors

Programs: The Fort Pitt Block House offers public as well as private guided tours, highlighting the building's construction, history, preservation, and its cultural significance. Curator available to provide lectures about the Fort Pitt Block House and its history to interested groups and schools.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

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.

Block House


Rating: 5

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.