Join the Rebellion and experience life on the Pennsylvania frontier during the time of the Whiskey Rebellion (1791-1794). History comes alive through re-enactments, demonstrations, exhibits, historic house tours and lively street theater throughout the day on Saturday. These activities are vividly portrayed throughout the festival grounds at the David Bradford House, the LeMoyne House and LeMoyne House gardens, the Main Festival stage, Frontier Fort site at Washington Park, and on Main Street itself. Take in a broader view of historic downtown Washington, with tours of the Washington County Courthouse, and a Presidential Walking Tour of sites where 15 U.S. Presidents actually visited “Little Washington”. Relive the days of the rebellion, as the fiery speeches of the rebels and the fiery response of the Federals bring the historic street theater to a dramatic conclusion you won’t want to miss!
Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule.
Saturday's Historical Street Theater
Each year, we bring to the streets of Washington historical reenactments from the years 1791-1794. While the scenes depicted are not of actual historical events they are representative of the sequence of events and, more importantly, the strong sentiments of the time.
This year, we bring you through 1791, enacting the Excise Act and laying the foundation upon which the full insurrection of 1794 occurred. The main characters you see on the streets are actual historical figures. They will be on festival grounds throughout the day. Should you encounter them, please feel free to talk with them and ask questions. Enjoy!
The Bradford House Tours
Tour the Bradford House, a National Historic Landmark, Home of the Whiskey Rebellion. David Bradford was a successful lawyer, businessman, the Deputy Attorney General of Washington County and a leader of the Whiskey Rebellion. Construction of his house on South Main Street began in 1786 and was completed in 1788. His home reflected his high social standing, not only by its size, but also by its fittings. The magnificent mahogany staircase and the interior wood finishes show remarkable craftsmanship. The stone for the exterior was quarried near Washington, while the interior decorations came from the east and had to be transported across the mountains at great expense. It was, and is again today, an 18th Century architectural showpiece. This was all the more striking at the time because Washington consisted largely of small, rustic log buildings.
After the parade and before the tar and feathering at 5:00 p.m., step back in time and enjoy a walk through of the first floor to see docents dressed in period attire. (Free full house tours will be offered on Thursday and Friday from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.)
Watch quilting, spinning, and bobbin lace demonstrations by the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation. See a cooking demonstration in the kitchen cabin, using open hearth cooking techniques. View other period artisan demonstrations in the garden/parking lot area behind the House.
The LeMoyne House Tours - Washington County Historical Society
The LeMoyne House is Pennsylvania's first National Historic Landmark of the Underground Railroad. Only a few other such sites exist. The stately stone house, located at 49 East Maiden Street in downtown Washington, Pennsylvania, was built in 1812 by John Julius LeMoyne, the father of Francis Julius LeMoyne. Both father and son were practicing physicians, but it was the courageous Francis Julius LeMoyne who, despite the strict Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, risked his personal freedom and fortune to do what he knew was morally right — take a stand against the institution of slavery. This successful 19th Century doctor, reformer and builder of the first crematory in the western hemisphere, opened his home and properties as stops along the Underground Railroad, the series of safe hiding places for runaway slaves as they trudged north on their precarious journey to Canada and freedom.
LeMoyne Heritage Quilt Display
On display in the lower level of the Lemoyne house you will discover some of the beautiful quilts from the past history of our county. Donated over the years by family members and tucked away in storage the quilts will once again be displayed to be appreciated by another generation.
Hand stitched designs by our ancestors often were created out of scrapes of clothing from every family member and patched together in painstaking care. Although today we view them as artistic works they were created to be used for warmth and comfort for generations of family members. Often passed down through the family until nearly thread bare.
We encourage you to visit and learn the details of the designs and the quilting process that is still carried on today by quilters across our county and state.
Visit Schneider's Fort in Washington Park
This faithful reproduction of a typical frontier fort was built by the Washington County Historical Society. Travel into the past and see the 18th century come to life. Visit the tavern, trading post, native village, federal encampment. See cooking demos and distilling displays. Learn about 18th century weapons, experience canon and musket demonstrations. Visit with crafters and demonstrators.
Washington County Courthouse Tours
Built in 1898 by the famous architect Frederick J. Osterling the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In this landmark, with it's glorious marble staircase, stained glass dome, and richly paneled courtrooms the citizens cannot help taking pride in their heritage and our system of government.
Tours start at the information tent in front of the courthouse.
City of Washington Architectural Walking Tours
New this year, narrated walking tours along Main Street of historic Washington City, with focus on c.1800-1900s buildings. Details of architectural elements and history of structural use over time, including buildings that no longer remain. Conducted by Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation.
Check the schedule of events for times.
Presidential Walking Tours
This tour will take you to a variety of sites where American Presidents have spoken, stayed, or visited when they have come to Washington, PA - residents sometimes call it "Little Washington."
So why did fifteen Presidents come here? For many, it was the fact that the National Road, the primary artery from east to west in the 19th century, came through Washington. Others visited because they had family or friends in the country; some were campaigning. And one President came to Washington because of a woman named Elizabeth Stockdale. You will learn more about their stories during this hour-long walking tour.
Tours start at the Whiskey Rebels statue on Main Street. Guides provided by Washington & Jefferson College.
Click Here for a Complete Festival Schedule.