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Pennsylvania's Old Economy Village

With its foundations constructed on the tenant of religious freedom, Pennsylvania was an attractive option for thousands of emigrants seeking refuge from the religious persecution that could be easily encountered in 18th- and 19th century Europe. For a group of German Lutherans, under the leadership of a self-proclaimed prophet by the name of George Rapp (1757-1847), Pennsylvania was the paradise they were seeking desperately to live their lives on their own terms, ideals, and desires (or lack thereof). With vows of celibacy, world-class efficiency, and a skill in enterprise that created a grand monopoly, Pennsylvania’s Old Economy Village—then known as Harmony—became one of the most successful utopia experiments (and the richest) in America.

Near the Ohio border in Beaver County sits Pittsburgh’s secret weapon. Now known as Ambridge, this powerhouse company town that began as Rapp’s Harmony is the one responsible for iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge (once reigning as the longest suspension bridge on the planet). But before the people here were building history’s grandest structures out of steel, a “Society” of German Lutherans were developing an interesting combination of agriculture and industry as they joyously and patiently awaited the Millenium, the 1000-year reign following Christ’s Second Coming. With outstanding economic adaptability, discipline, and efficiency, the Harmonist Society manufactured award-winning textiles, wool, cotton, silks, wine, beer, wagons, cabinets, metalworks, and leather products.

Take a day to visit Old Economy Village and its 17 structures that are a designated National Historic Landmark District or plan for one of its many events. Its distinctive character and charm of its architecture will enchant you and transport you back to the early 1800s when Harmony was a thriving community. Its grounds are a captivating representation of 19th century American life and its 6-acre museum (the second one built in the United States!) stands as a monument to thousands that sought and achieved the American dream, safe from persecution in Europe and free to pursue their personal happiness.

The Visitors Center acts also as the National Historic Landmark’s museum, with an introductory orientation exhibit as well as three other temporary exhibits. Featured locations and attractions are the 20-foot barrel-vaulted wine cellar, the surprising meditation hut called the Grotto, and the wedding-worthy gardens and statue of the Greek goddess of peace and kindness, Harmonia. 

Take a guided tour to visit these locations with a knowledgeable guide April through December, Wednesday through Sunday; tours lasts approximately two hours and meet at the Frederick Rapp House. You can also take a self-guided tour of the historic site’s six main buildings. Visit the website for and admission. 

Old Economy Village

Visitors Center

270 16th Street

Ambridge, PA 15003

 

PA Inns Nearby

Stay at One of These Great Inns

Heslet House B&B

Ambridge
Heslet House
Welcome to Old Economy Village

Come and feel almost 200 years of wear under your feet at our authentically restored bed and breakfast located at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, a National Historic Landmark.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 0.1mi

The Parador Inn

Pittsburgh
Parador Inn
A Caribbean-style Bed and Breakfast

The Parador Bed and Breakfast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offers an excellent choice for accommodations other than the boring box hotels.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 15.1mi

Chapel Valley Estate Bed & Breakfast

Ellwood City
Chapel Valley
An unforgettable stay in an unforgettable setting…

Experience the charm of a rural Western Pennsylvania farmhouse completely remodeled in 2003.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 15.7mi

Morning Sun Inn

Pittsburgh
Morning Sun
Luxury of a Hotel & Comfort of a Home

Located in Pittsburgh’s East End, our Highland Park Victorian home was recently renovated into a three bedroom, two suite Bed & Breakfast.  You’ll find a cozy environment with modern and qu

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 18.3mi

Mansion at Maple Heights

Pittsburgh
Mansion at Maple Heights
The Grandeur of 1903 is Reborn

A turn of the century English Manor home welcomes you to Pittsburgh’s Shadyside.

Average Rate: 
$200 - $299
Distance: 18.9mi

The Mellor House Bed & Breakfast

Pittsburgh
The Mellor House
Queen Anne style Victorian B&B near Pittsburgh

Our Victorian home was built in 1891 constructed in the Queen Anne style characterized by a steeply pitched roof, fluted chimneys and ornamental woodwork.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 21.4mi

Armstrong Farms Bed and Breakfast

Saxonburg
Armstrong Farms
Award winning country B&B in unspoiled setting

Armstrong Farms is a 7th generation Pennsylvania Century Farm built in 1816 specializing in weddings.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 23.3mi

Montgomery Mansion Bed & Breakfast

Claysville
Montgomery Mansion Bed & Breakfast
Elegant, ornate & historic Victorian Bed and Breakfast p

Beautifully restored 1870's Victorian Mansion located 35 minutes southwest of Pittsburgh and minutes from Wheeling, West Virginia.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 34.5mi

The Jacqueline House of Wilmington

New Castle
Jacqueline House
Rediscover Western PA’s Amish Countryside

Located in the small town of New Wilmington near Westminster College, you’ll find endless rural charm of small town life and the bounty of many local farms.

Average Rate: 
$100 - $199
Distance: 34.5mi