As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Western PA and the Whiskey Rebellion, let’s look at some more sites with connections to distilled spirits! Here are just a few places of note, in no particular order:
- Shreve’s Distillery in Perryopolis, near George Washington’s grist mill. Shreve contracted to buy land from Washington, but spent several years haggling over payments and prices. Washington wrote Shreve in 1798 and 1799 asking for payments due, but could not bring himself to sue a fellow army officer. Shreve and Washington both died on the same day–December 14, 1799–although hundreds of miles apart.
- West Overton is the site of the Overholt homestead and distillery, and boyhood home of their descendant, Henry Clay Frick. A second distillery was at Broadford and is now abandoned.
- The Schenley name has a long history in distilling, but Schenley PA is no longer a hub of activity. The ruins of the distillery buildings can still be seen there, however.
- The Dillinger distillery at Ruffsdale was another long-lived enterprise, but the buildings are all abandoned. The Dillingers, like the Overholts, were German Mennonites who relocated from Eastern PA to Westmoreland County.
- Sam Thompson’s distillery in West Brownsville is also out of business, but his grandson’s imposing home was once a restaurant, and can still be seen.
- A contemporary whiskey maker is Wigle Whiskey, located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District and named for one of two men sentenced to hang for their part in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794.
You may also enjoy learning more about the history of Western PA distilleries here and here.
–Marilyn Cocchiola Holt