Amenities Near The Trail
Disclaimer – Lodging and restaurant lists are accurate as of 2/2021. Please confirm by calling the lodging or restaurant beforehand. Restaurants are accessible via short road routes. Some may offer delivery to a trail parking area. Other restaurants accessible by car are not listed.
LENAPE HEIGHTS GOLF RESORT & HOTEL
(not trailside, shuttle needed)
950 Golf Course Rd., Ford City
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS
(not trailside, shuttle needed)
13 Hilltop Plaza, Kittanning
QUALITY INN ROYLE
(not trailside, shuttle needed)
405 Butler Rd., Kittanning
NAUTICAL MILE CAMPGROUND (trailside)
530 Stone Ave., Templeton
(water shuttle needed, venue at the river)
934 Wattersonville Rd, Cowansville
COGLEY HOUSE B & NO B LODGING
105 Old Farm Rd., East Brady
931 4th Ave.
FORD CITY NATIONAL BAKERY 821 5th Ave. 724-763-7684
320 10th St.
MILLER’S HOAGIES 838 4th Ave. 724-763-1711
PAMPENO’S GOOD EATS & SWEET TREATS 900 5th Ave. 724-763-2255
509 11th St.
507 4th Ave.
180 S. Jefferson St.
134 S. Grant Ave.
COUNTY SEAT RESTAURANT
340 Market St.
400 S. Water St.
300 S. Water St.
136 S. Grant Ave.
A MANO EATERY
250 S. Water St.
1301 N. Water St.
138 N Water St.
140 N. Jefferson St.
OAK WOOD TAVERN
108 S. Jefferson St.
SPRANKLE’S NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET
Grocery store-take out only
151 N. McKean St.
100 Walnut St.
108 S. Water St.
MARGARITAS MEXICAN BAR & GRILL
325 S. Jefferson St.
112 S. Water St.
YAMATO JAPANESE RESTAURANT
212 Market St.
ALL STAR’S BAR & RESTAURANT
411 Kelly’s Way
DOCK 9 BAR & GRILL
300 Water St.
RIVER ROAD PIZZA & ICE CREAM
405 Kelly’s Way
ST CLOUD HOTEL/BAR & GRILL
427 Kelly’s Way
THE OLD BANK DELI & COFFEE SHOPPE
323 Kelly’s Way
410 Kelly’s Way
Facilities & Services
Ford City Park – MP 41
Kittanning – MP 44 (Riverfront Park-short road route along the river and Armstrong Conservation District)
Bernie Snyder Park/Buttermilk Falls – MP 47.5 (1-mile north of Kittanning)
Rimer – MP 58
Coaling Tower – MP 65
Phillipston Turntable – MP 66
East Brady Park – MP 68
FORD CITY – MP 40.5 – Seasonal
KITTANNING RIVERFRONT PARK – MP 44.5 – Seasonal
BERNIE SNYDER PICNIC AREA – MP 47.5 – All year round
LOCK & DAM 8 – MP 51.5 – All year round (Portojohn)
TEMPLETON FISH & BOAT LAUNCH – MP 53.9. – Seasonal (Portojohn)
RIMER MP – 59.8 – All year round (Portojohn)
PHILLIPSTON TURNTABLE – MP 66 – All year round (Portojohn)
EAST BRADY – MP 68 – Seasonal
Most of the northern part of Armstrong Trails is out of cell range. Points service could be available once out of Kittanning are Templeton, Redbank Junction, Phillipston, East Brady and Sarah Furnace.
DIAL 911-REFERENCE NORTH OR SOUTH OF THE MP IF KNOWN
Points Of Interest/Local History
In 1888, Captain John B. Ford came to this area because of the quality of the natural gas. He needed the gas to fuel his future factory. After purchasing the tract of land that is now Ford City, John Ford and 3 other men quickly established the Ford Plate Company (Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company-PPG). This glass company began operations in 1889 and quickly became the largest and greatest glass company in the U.S., covering 20-acres. In its time, PPG was the heart and soul of Ford City. In the Fall of 1891, a statue of Captain John B. Ford was building in his honor. The statue and PPG buildings are located at Ford City Memorial Park. Ford City has many restaurants and a park for trail users to visit.
The Allegheny Valley Railroad opened the Kittanning Station on January 23, 1856. The June 1916 Official Guide of the Railways showed that there were 7 passenger trains in each direction daily that passed through Kittanning. Three of these trains, in each direction, operate daily from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, New York with stops in Kittanning. In addition, to the passenger trains, the average number of freight trains passing through Kittanning in 24-hours was 28.
Armstrong County has had 3 official court and jailhouses. The third and present courthouse was built around the 1860’s using stone from Catfish Quarry and places along the Cowanshannock Creek. The third and present jailhouse was built and attached to the present courthouse in the 1870’s. This Jailhouse became one of the best prison buildings in the U.S. at its time.
Kit-Han-Ne was an Indian village that became a French and Indian War battleground in the Fall of 1756. The capture of French Fort Duquesne (renamed Fort Pitt) led to the mission to destroy the Indian village (present day Kittanning). John Armstrong commanded 300 men and set out for the village on September 3, 1756. Armstrong’s army completely destroyed the Indian village September 8, 1756. Fort Armstrong was built near the old Indian village in 1770. After this fort was built, settlement of the are began (present day Armstrong County). The first permanent settler was Robert Brown in 1798. The town of Kittanning was established around 1800 and laid out with 248 in-lots and 27 out-lots in 1803. Armstrong County was later established in 1805.
Cowanshannock Creek is the most sedate of the streams and bears almost a straight course through the county, emptying into the Allegheny two miles above Kittanning.
Located near the Cowanshannock Creek along the Armstrong Trail, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The Monticello Furnace was built by Robert E. Brown in 1859 to extract iron from iron ore. The furnace provided employment for as many as 200 people and produced 60,000 tons of pig iron which supplied markets in Pittsburgh and Kittanning. The Allegheny Valley Railroad was extended to the Monticello Furnace in 1865 to service the furnace with ore. The retaining wall, near where the furnace stood, is visible beside the trail. A large slag pile remains between the trail and the river.
The second settler on the present site of Templeton, after Peter Brice, was William Templeton, from whom the town is named. He was first assessed here 1824. Here he started a distillery in 1826, which was located where the first Pennsylvania water tank was standing in 1876. The house in which he lived was in the lower part of the tract, where it is widest, between the river and the curve in the railroad, in front of each swung for several years the sign of the Green Tree, painted by James McCullough, Sr., on the 7th day of April, 1828, which indicates that he kept there a public house, though not assessed as an innkeeper.
Chambers and Robert Orr resided several years on this part of the tract after Templeton removed to the mouth of Mahoning. Templeton in 1913 has grown to be quite a thriving town and will probably be shortly incorporated as a borough. The population is about 300. There are six stores in the town, one hotel and other necessary establishments. The American Natural Gas Company has a large pumping station here. The principal industry is the Hay-Walker Brick Works, operating 22 kilns and employing 100 men. S. C. Redinger & Sons operate at sawmill and lumber yard. Otto Thompson and J. K. Gearhart are the leading merchants. J. N. Rebott is proprietor of the hotel. Daniel Slagle is resident justice of the peace. *Beers Project
Armstrong’s two units went in service in 1958 and 1959. The chimney of Armstrong Power Station, which was built in 1982 is 1,011 feet (308 m) tall and cost $13 million. The facility was owned by Allegheny Energy Supply before merging with Akron, Ohio based First Energy February 2011.
The power plant was closed on September 1, 2012 by FirstEnergy, along with six other plants in the tri-county grid to comply with federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines that set new Mercury and Air Toxin Standards (MATS) and other environmental and air quality requirements. The decision was made not to invest in some of the smaller plants considering it would be quite expensive to install a scrubber and other air pollution control upgrades to keep the plant in operation. *Wikipedia
One of the most important events in the history of Armstrong during the last twenty- five years occurred during the year that this history was compiled and the writer had opportunity to view the beginning of the life of a railroad financed partly by Armstrong county capital and catering largely to Armstrong County people. This was the Pittsburgh, Shawmut & Northern railroad, which connects together with iron bands the people of Kittanning and Brookville. The road was organized in 1905 and construction commenced in 1906. The first train left Kittanning on Monday, Oct. 20, 1913, with forty-one passengers.
The first ticket was purchased by James Millville, one of the officials of the American Bridge Company, who were the contractors for the beautiful bridge across the Allegheny at Mahoning Creek. J. W. Williams was the engineer and D. H. Croyle conductor. J. F. Carpenter, depot agent, sold the first ticket. Dr. C. E. Keeler of Elderton received the first package of freight that came over the new road.
The length of the road through Armstrong county is thirty miles, and the stations on the line are McWilliams, Eddyville, Fort Pitt, Putneyville, Oakland, Seminole, Caldwell, Tidal, Chickasaw, Mahoning, West Mosgrove, Furnace Run and Kittanning. The route is through East Franklin, Washington, Madison, Mahoning and Red Bank townships, following closely the west bank of the Allegheny and the Mahoning creek banks on both sides. It does not cling so closely to the Mahoning as the “Low Grade” division of the Pennsylvania does to the Red Bank, but crosses the former at two places in Madison township, avoiding the severe bends of that stream by two bridges and two tunnels.
The route on the Mahoning is wonderfully picturesque, that stream having as yet escaped the vandal touch of the noisy but necessary rolling mill, the clear waters flowing undented through a valley of great scenic beauty. On the night of Oct. 23, 1913, a banquet was given at Kittanning by a number of the representative citizens of Armstrong county to the officials of the road at the home of Hose Company No. 1, at which many ad-dresses were made, a most historic and interesting one being that of J. D. Daugherty, a prominent attorney of Kittanning. The historic significance of this gathering will be better realized by those who in future years peruse these pages and see how far the expectations of these 1913 pioneers are realized. For the benefit of future historians and as a record of a few of the leading men of this enterprise and their supporters, is appended a list of the participants in this banquet. Officials of the railroad and allied corporations—F. S. Smith, receiver; F. B. Lincoln, assistant receiver; Dwight C. Morgan, vice president and general manager. *Genealogytrails
Gray’s Eddy was a small village in Madison County. In 1840, Oliver Gray built the first house and Robert Thompson built and owned a store, a hotel, and a warehouse. Freight was delivered here consistently until the completion of the Allegheny Valley Railroad. At this site, there are the remains of a stone arched culvert, cut stonewalls and beautiful waterfall feature. Please do not trespass, this is private property.
Ore Hill Furnace was built in 1845, by Cochran, Dobbs & Co., on the banks of the run, and was of the same type as those of that period, using charcoal. In 1856, in forty- weeks it produced 1,525 tons of iron. After exhausting the supply of wood in that region, it went out of blast in 1857.
The run at this point was for years called Parkinson’s until the establishment of the Ore Hill Furnace.
Robert Walker operated a distillery here in 1804, and from this source later on the operatives at the furnace received the stimulus that caused the change of name to Whisky run. *Armstrong County Genealogy Project
Allegheny River Lock and Dam No. 9 is a historic lock and fixed-crest dam complex located at Madison Township and Washington Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. It was built between 1935 and 1938 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and includes the lock, dam, steel miter gates, and Operations Building. The lock measures 56 feet by 360 feet, and has a lift of 22 feet. The dam measures approximately 60 feet high and 918 feet long. The Operations Building, or powerhouse, is a utilitarian two-story building in a vernacular early-20th century revival style. The lock and dam were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a part of an extensive system of locks and dams to improve navigation along the Allegheny River.
It was listed on the National Record of Historic Places in 2000. *Wikipedia
Red Bank Furnace, situated at the junction of Redbank Creek with the Allegheny River, is the only exclusively coke furnace ever operated in the county. It was built in 1859 by McCullough and Reynolds. When running at its full capacity, it produced one hundred and sixty- five (165) tons of iron per week, and employed from three hundred and fifty to four hundred and fifty men, including miners and cokers. It used the native carbonate ores dug from the surrounding hills, and also that brought from the Lawsonham and Sligo diggings.
The coke works were situated at the top of the hill. The coal for this and for Sarah Furnace was mined from the Freeport Upper coal contained in the summits overlooking the river above Brady’s Bend, and was coked in open hives at the pit mouth. There were twenty-four of these hives equivalent to about one hundred and fifty ovens.
An inclined plane reached from the furnace to a point on the feriferous limestone, two hundred and fifty-five feet above the railroad station. From the plane head a narrow-gauge railroad, laid with sixteen-pound rails, ran off in opposite directions along the outcrop of the ore. One branch ran up to the coke pits and coal banks, a distance of nearly two-miles. The hills around are terraced by the enormous masses of shale removed in mining the ore.
In 1878 the furnace began making coke in the ovens at the base of the hill. Forty-two ovens were erected. Since December, 1883, the furnace has been out of blast. It blew out for repairs, and owing to the low price of iron, and its inability to compete under such prices with larger furnaces and those mining ore at less expense, it has not resumed.
In November, 1886, the furnace owners again began the manufacture of coke, mining at present the lower vein of coal, known as the Catfish vein, averaging three and a half to four feet in thickness. The coal and coke are shipped mainly to Buffalo and Rochester. Two hundred tons of coal and forty tons of coke are shipped daily from the works. One hundred and thirty men are employed at present.
In 1865 the firm became Reynolds and Moorehead. In 1878 the owners were Alexander Reynolds’s sons, and since 1881 the company has been known as David and John D. Reynolds. Four thousand tons of pig iron are yet stored in the furnace yard, waiting an opportunity for a favorable sale.
In connection with the furnace is a company store, managed since 1859 by David Reynolds, who, since 1867, has been superintendent of the entire plant. The company owns houses sufficient to accommodate about one hundred families. Formerly there were more, but many have become ruinous. About fifteen hundred acres of land, containing quite a field of ore, as yet untouched, are in possession of the company.
Just previous to going out of blast, the furnace was most active. *From THE CCHS ARCHIVES: Redbank Furnace, “Caldwell’s Atlas of Clarion County”, 1877 ~ Text from “The History of Clarion County” by A.J. Davis, 1887:
During the era of steam powered locomotives, trains traveling this railroad corridor stopped at the Redbank coaling tower to fill their coal tenders with coal to fuel their engines. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company began construction of this coaling tower in 1928 and it was placed in service on February 8, 1930. The tower was constructed of concrete poured into wooden forms made from locally cut timber. The lines from thewooden forms are still visible in the concrete. Coal from nearby mines was delivered to the tower in hopper cars. The coal was dropped into the pit, then carried by conveyors up into the reservoir above the tracks. It was released into chutes which directed the coal into the tenders of the waiting trains. This coaling tower was used until 1957 when diesel engines replaced the last of the steam engines on this rail line.
The railroad was built in this area between 1855 and 1870, using the relatively flat Allegheny River corridor as a cost-efficient location for the tracks. In the early 1900’s, train traffic was heavy: up to 5 passenger trains and 25 freight trains in each direction daily, which justified installing double tracks. This also led to the building of the 2,468-foot Brady Tunnel. Using the tunnel to bypass Brady’s Bend shortened the train trip by 5.36 miles and avoided the high degree bends of the track along the rail line. Construction of the tunnel began in February 1913. Dynamite was used to blast through layers of rock, shale, and coal, then steam shovels cleared the tunnel. Large wooden beams were fitted against the walls and a 2-foot concrete liner was installed. Bricks providing additional support in areas where the tunnel height exceeded 14 feet. During construction many delays occurred due to falling rock. Construction was completed and the tunnel opened for use on May 28, 1916. May 20, 2019 a Groundbreaking Ceremony was held at the northern portal of the tunnel. Clarion County on behalf of Armstrong Trails was awarded a $829,400 grant from Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for Phase I. Scope of work for Phase I, was 100% engineering/design, 52-feet of steel liner and water diversion ditch over the northern portal. Repairing the 20’ hole in the ceiling that was caused by a failure in the flume.
Work on Phase I completed in December 2019. Phase II construction began in July 2020 and was completed by October 2020. Funding was provided by DCNR ($500,000) a donation from DQE Communications ($10,000) and a Doppelt Grant/Rails to Trails Conservancy ($35,000). Scope of work included 74’ of steel liner in the northern portal and demolition and reconstruction of the southern sluice. Young & Associates took historical integrity into the design consideration with modern day materials. We are very happy with the outcome. Francis J. Palo, Inc (Clarion, PA) completed Phase I & II. Phase III construction for Summer 2021, is from a partnership with Crawford County and Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The project is part of the Implementation Plan of the Erie to Pittsburgh Trail Study 2020.
Though we cannot give a timeline on when the tunnel can be safely opened, be assured we are vigilant is submitting grant applications
The rail yard at Phillipston was built in 1867 to be the main service station for locomotives along the Allegheny Valley Railroad. Originally the Phillipston yard contained 1.7 miles of track, a wooden 2 stall engine house and a 75-foot-wide turntable. Along with servicing locomotives, the 13 tracks in the yard were used as a classification area to assemble trains for various destinations. Construction of the turntable was completed in 1877 & was used to turn locomotives around for return trips. A locomotive was driven onto the turntable, then spun 180 degrees, so it would be ready to pull a train I n the opposite direction. In 1886, the Phillipston service station & other buildings burned down but were quickly rebuilt due to their importance in maintaining railroad transportation in the area. The current turntable was constructed in 1923 and was renovated in 2020. Renovation included a deck onto the turntable itself, steps into the pit, ADA compliant sidewalk, clearing for views to the river, picnic grove, benches and historical kiosk. This work was completed with the help of volunteers, whom are an integral component of Armstrong Trails. A special thank you to our dear friend Larry Tiss, who shared his knowledge as a retired railroad worker in Philadelphia.
The Allegheny Valley Railroad transformed the village after 1867, the year in which the first East Brady newspaper was founded, and a bridge finally linked the town to Brady’s Bend on the west side of the Allegheny River. A new deck truss bridge (2005–2007) has opened, carrying PA 68 across the river. The former Allegheny Valley Railroad north of East Brady is private property and the trail will never connect to the northern portal via that route. Please respect our neighbors and access the northern portal via Sarah Furnace Parking area until the Brady Tunnel is opened for bike/pedestrian use.
In 1846, steam cold blast; eight feet across the bosh; thirty feet high; built by Over, Reichart and Lobaugh, on the Allegheny, at the mouth of Catfish, who failed in 1851. The property was purchased by Alexander Miller, and leased by J.L. Miller; managed by J.H. Kahl. It made in thirty-three weeks of 1856, 925+ tons of metal from carbonate and red ores, taken from within a mile to the north.
Sarah Furnace was completed in 1860; erected by S.F. Plumer after his retirement from Prospect. It took its name from the wife of the proprietor. Sarah furnace stood on the Allegheny, at the bottom of the bend, about one mile above Catfish; it used coke as fuel. Passed into the hands of Jennings, Morey & Co., and was abandoned about 1867.