Nursing a dream to establish a nature center and history center in his community of Sewickley Heights, Pennsylvania, G. Whitner Snyder donated land from the family farm, and Fern Hollow Nature Center was opened in 1988.
The center is a place where individuals, families and other groups can come to appreciate the outdoors. Arranged and impromptu educational programs are intended to help youngsters and grownups learn about the local environment. It also is the entrance to the area park system.
When Snyder died in 1999, his son established a history center two years later to fulfill his fatherís wish. Both centers offer sweeping views of the community.
Sewickley Heights History Center is located on Glen Mitchell Road in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. It preserves the historical integrity of Sewickley Heights with photos, memorabilia, and artifacts. The center houses an array of maps, equestrian exhibits, antique automobiles and carriages, farm equipment, and photographs on display. Most of the photographs depict early-20th-century summer "cottages" of Pittsburg industrialists that were actually huge mansions. Of the 14 cottages profiled at the center, only two still exist: Wilpen Hall and Treetops.
The history center also throws light on the Sewickley Hunt (a fox hunt) as well as notorious "Riding and Driving" parties* of the 1920s. Images and collectibles of industrial and commercial founding families of Pittsburgh are also noteworthy. Along with exhibits, an evocative soundtrack of 1920s automobile and community sounds and Big Band music of 1930s, as well as a 20-minute video on the history of the borough, can be enjoyed.
The 33-acre facility features a picnic area suitable for groups and individuals. Garden clubs, ladies luncheons, family reunions, cocktail parties, or even a walk on the rolling acreage can be relaxing.
*An annual summer event that included a fox hunt, an automobile and carriage parade, and a horse and carriage show.