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Fort Pitt Block House

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Address: 601 Commonwealth Pl, Building C, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone Number:
+1 412-471-1764
Description:

The Fort Pitt Block House was originally constructed in 1764 as a defensive...

The Fort Pitt Block House was originally constructed in 1764 as a defensive redoubt for Fort Pitt, a key British fortification during the French and Indian War. As the Block House is the only surviving structure left of Fort Pitt, it holds much significance to Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. The oldest authenticated structure in Western Pennsylvania, it is part of the National Historic Landmark of the Forks of the Ohio.The building was first used to defend the fort from Native American Indian attacks during the mid-18th century. After the British abandoned Fort Pitt in 1772, the Block House was used as a trading post for a number of years. During the American Revolution Fort Pitt served as the western headquarters for the Continental Army. Following the Revolution the United States Army decided to slowly dismantle the fort and replace it with a smaller garrison called Fort Fayette.The Block House survived the demolition of Fort Pitt because it was converted into a single-family dwelling in 1785. Over the next one hundred years, different families of various sizes, classes and backgrounds lived in the Block House. In the 1840s it became a multi-family tenement with a family living in the upstairs room and another family living downstairs. During the 19th century the Point District, the former area of Fort Pitt and where the Block House is located, became one of the poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. In 1894 the Block House was gifted to the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) by the structure’s owner, Mary Schenley. An extensive initial restoration was needed to convert the Block House back to its original form. In 1902, the structure faced possible demolition to make way for the construction of warehouses and railway terminals. The Fort Pitt Society, an all-female and all volunteer group, stood up to the Pennsylvania Railroad and powerful industrialists such as Henry Clay Frick to save the Block House – something unheard of at the time. The Block House has survived numerous floods throughout its history, most recently in 2004 during Hurricane Ivan when the water reached halfway up the building’s stone foundation.Under the guardianship of the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Allegheny County the Block House has remained free and open to the public as a historical site and museum for almost 120 years. Privately owned and operated the Block House receives no state or federal funding and each year welcomes more than 20,000 visitors from local school children to international tourists. It has been described by many as the “jewel of Point State Park.”

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Interesting but brief visit

The block house is the only remaining structure from Fort Pitt, and is a great addition to your visit to the Fort Pitt museum. It just takes a few minutes to explore, but is free.

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
Jonathan K
,
Lemont, Pennsylvania

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73 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 70: English reviews
Level Contributor
93 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

The remains of this British fort from the French Indian War timeframe is a relic of our country's past. It is a short walk from down town and doesn't take much time to check out. There is a museum co-located and the outlines of the French fort which predated Fort Pitt in the back yard. It is free and worth... More 

Helpful?
Thank Dewayne P
Lemont, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
73 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The block house is the only remaining structure from Fort Pitt, and is a great addition to your visit to the Fort Pitt museum. It just takes a few minutes to explore, but is free.

Helpful?
Thank Jonathan K
Bluffton, South Carolina
Level Contributor
400 reviews
110 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Great piece of history with many new facts to learn on your tour. See how Pittsburgh started and why it lasted.

Helpful?
Thank fjmccarl
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
87 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 March 2017

See the oldest structure in the city of Pittsburgh, an original hold over from the time prior to the Revolutionary War. Pittsburgh Chapter of the Daughters if the American Revolution maintain this historic structure and it's exciting place in American History for all who care to visit. Excellent, devoted docents can answer your questions. Souvenirs for sale. Added plus, it's... More 

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Thank Stewies_Mom
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2017

Located at the Point, it's a great little piece of history that's still standing. It's only open on Wednesdays from 10 am to noon. Admission is free. Packed with memorabilia and artifacts, it's an extremely well-preserved little house. A tiny souvenier counter is available with reasonably priced trinkets. It's a wonderful place to stop if you're touring the Point.

Helpful?
Thank Laura H
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
86 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2016

My wife and I visited this free site during our visit to Point State Park. It's separate from nearby Fort Pitt Museum but a good companion. The Daughters of the American Revolution saved this old historic site from demolition. The block house was one of several that provided protection for Fort Pitt during the French and Indian War. Later, different... More 

Helpful?
Thank Thomas K
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviewed 29 October 2016

This seems like a little block and not very interesting from the outside. when you go in is a small room but it has so much history inside. the person inside talked to us and explained so much history that is within these walls. very interesting specially for such a small area.

Helpful?
Thank Alicia L
Hayward, California
Level Contributor
142 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 October 2016

Was walking back from the Point and happened in on this spot. Poked my head in to see what it was. Didn't see much interesting artifacts or a storyline to really know what the place was or why it was. There was one park worker but she was busy with another person. A few artifacts, pictures and what not in... More 

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Thank j3mmr71
Georgia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2016

Learn about Pittsburgh's history and the purpose of the Fort. Highly recommend listening to the tour guide for interesting facts and don't miss the flood markers inside the building.

Helpful?
1 Thank Todd M
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
43 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2016 via mobile

This is the last part of the old fort and it is free to visit. There is a friendly attendant inside to tell you about it. I would visit the museum first thought to learn about the fort that used to be there ($7 to visit the museum).

Helpful?
1 Thank MatthewM2001

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