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When Somerset lives up to its brand | Local


America’s County â„¢ is a marketing mark for the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce. The House created the mark about a year after two unrelated events within the county limits garnered national attention: the 9/11 Flight 93 crash and the dramatic “Nine for Nine” Quecreek Mine Rescue, the following July. .

At the time, the House described the label as a tribute to the impressive ways in which Somerset County residents responded to these headline-grabbing events. Of course, the Chamber naturally hopes the brand will help Somerset County stand out and attract new businesses and residents.

There is a lot to be said about Somerset as a US county, as its significance goes beyond being just a brand.

This plateau atop the Allegheny Mountains bears the prehistoric imprint of a Native American settlement at Fort Hill, dating back seven centuries. Leni Lenape, the Iroquois and Shawnee nations fought over her fertile plateau, and the Nemacolin Trail crossed it.

British and colonial forces crossed it to drive the French and their native allies from the Forks of Ohio. And its pioneer farmers were among those who resisted the new federal government during the whiskey rebellion.

Since its formal formation as a county in 1795, Somerset County has become known for its agriculture, energy resources, transportation corridors and recreational opportunities.

Its dairy and maple syrup industries remain robust today. There is a rich history of coal mining and windmills dot its landscape. The National Pike (US Route 40), Lincoln Highway (US Route 30), and the Pennsylvania Turnpike are heirlooms of the original Indian and military trails.

And its recreational resources include three ski resorts, parts of four state parks, a number of lakes, whitewater rapids, trout fishing, and a variety of hiking and biking trails, including a 47-mile section of the Great Allegheny Passage, one of the country’s most popular railways.

Much of this came to my mind when my wife and I traveled to Somerset County on September 11 to experience the 20th anniversary of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash at a pit mine site. open.

Earlier today, the National Flight 93 Memorial was visited by a list of dignitaries, including the current President and Vice President of the United States, the former President at the time of the crash, as well as family and friends of the 40 crew and passengers on board. Hailed as heroes, they defeated the terrorists on that terrible day by bringing the robbery down in Somerset County rather than on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

Unlike the small number of eyewitnesses to the 9/11 crash, tens of thousands were here 20 years later. It took us an hour to make our way through the traffic jams on US 30 to a parking spot in the memorial.

Almost all traces of the open-pit mine were gone, replaced by meadows and shrubs and scattered clusters of still fully mature trees. Architects and planners, National Park Service and Families of Flight 93 have created an awe-inspiring memorial that honors the memory of the crew and passengers while saluting their sacrificial victory over terrorism.

After visiting there, we continued south to New Centerville, where the 69th Jubilee of Farmers and Drummers was underway. This celebration of traditional farm life features huge 19th-century steam tractors and building-sized stationary engines, tractor pull-ups and parades, craft contests, traditional music and food. House.

Instead, we could have experienced the Mountain Craft Days at the Somerset Historical Center, where a bucolic trail takes visitors to see demonstrations of 18th and 19th century skills and craftsmanship, as this festival was happening at the same time. . But we had been there more recently than Jubilee.

This weekend Somerset was really living in its marketing brand. And while this is obviously no longer the 20th anniversary of Flight 93, each year you can experience the congruence of this special memorial and these two heritage festivals that capture the American spirit in America County.