Visiting Historic Brownsville, PA

Once the gateway to the West, historic Brownsville PA weathered the rise and fall of coal and steel in Western Pennsylvania. Settled in the late 18th century along the winding Monongahela River, Brownsville is host to many interesting historical sites, including Nemacolin Castle, The Flatiron Heritage Center, the Frank L. Melega Art Museum, the Falcon Pavilion, and soon, an Armed Forces memorial.

The Brownsville Area Revitalization Corporation (BARC) is the beating heart of Brownsville PA. BARC is a non-profit organization that offers a chance for community development to work alongside cultural preservation of this once thriving town. Organized through regional trust established by the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, the 40-year old revitalization effort

Brownsville makes a comeback through BARC.

Overhead view of Brownsville, PA in the Winter
Another snowy view of Brownsville, PA

Flatiron Heritage Center

The unique flatiron building in downtown Brownsville now houses treasures from the past. Step inside to see collections of sculptures carved from coals, models of steamships that glided gracefully up and down the Monongahela River, photos, tools, and other items makes the collection an expression of the rich history of Brownsville, a town that sprung up at the site of an ancient Native American trading post. Find out why George Washington was so eager to blaze a trail from Fort Necessity to Redstone Creek.

The Flatiron Heritage Center is located just south of SR 40 on Market Street on the right-hand side. Parking is across the street or in front of the Post Office and Library. Address: 69 Market St, Brownsville, PA 15417, Phone: 724-785-9331

Frank L. Melega Art Museum

Frank L. Melega was a master of many styles of paintings during the 20th century. The museum exhibits beautiful oil paintings, sketches and drawings of the borough, WWII-era patriotic ad, sculpture and even the master artist’s own studio. In the nest of brushes, canvas, and other tools, a visitor can see how the artist adopted innovative techniques and into his fearless works.

Brownsville Wharf

The wharf is a fully functional launch for boats on the Monongahela. One can tie up, visit town, picnic on viewing deck, and continue up or down the river. Located on the Eastern shore of the Monongahela next to the historic Dunlap’s Creek bridge, the wharf provides a beautiful place to take in a view of “the Mon”, try your luck at fishing, or enjoy boating pastimes. Plenty of parking nearby on market Street within walking distance of shops and attractions.

Nemacolin Castle

Nemacolin Castle is perched on atop a hill overlooking the Monongahela River at the end of historic Front Street in the North Market Street District. The site was once a Native American trading post, and takes the name of the Iroquois guide and local Native American chief who aided the settlers who came west of the Alleghenies to strike out west. The castle is home to re-enactments of militia and daily living experiences of our ancestors. It sits atop a stepped Native American earthen mound, and for that reason is sometimes referred to historically as an Old Fort, or Redstone Fort.

Guided tours are available through much of the year. The castle’s October “Ghost Walks” through town are especially popular.

Brownsville is located 26 miles south of Pittsburgh along the shore of the Monongahela River at SR 40. Drive in along 201 from the North or 166 from the South. Also, it lies within 3 miles of the PA 43 Turnpike from the West or South ends of town.  

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