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“Worth a Visit”

Old Economy Village
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Ambridge
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Attraction details
Owner description: Old Economy Village is a gemstone site of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Old Economy Village interprets the history of the Harmony Society, a highly successful nineteenth century religious communal society, and preserves and interprets the unique material culture of the Society during its period of residence in Beaver County, Pennsylvania for citizens of and visitors to the Commonwealth. Old Economy Village was the heart of the Harmony Society's home from 1824 until the commune was dissolved in 1905. Old Economy Village is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in partnership with the Friends of Old Economy Village. It is part of Ambridge's Old Economy National Historic District and is among the region's most important historic sites
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
444 reviews
222 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 419 helpful votes
“Worth a Visit”
Reviewed 5 June 2013

My family and I have lived in Western Pennsylvania for nearly 10 years and had never visited Old Economy Village. Soon after we arrived on a Saturday afternoon in April, we watched the orientation video. It provided an informative history of the Harmonists and set the stage well for our tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable, friendly, and allowed our small group to take its time in each area. We were disappointed that the Rapp house was not open because of renovations, but still saw a lot. After the tour, we were able to wander the property at our leisure.

The visitor's center is quite nice. It has a small exhibit area, restrooms, and gift ship. Parking is plentiful. Don't miss the ugly little building in the garden. There's a nice surprise inside!

Visited April 2013
1 Thank jsctraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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60 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
Reviewed 1 June 2013

We had some visitors to our area, north of Pittsburgh, and were looking for someplace different to go. We have experienced most all of the "must sees" in the area with friends from out of town. Browsing through some tour books, I suggested a trip to Old Economy Village. It was an excellent choice.

We arrived in Ambridge and had no difficulty finding the Visitor's Center. We had about a half hour before the next tour so we meandered through the gift shop and then proceeded to the exhibits. The incredible thing about Old Economy Village and the Harmonists is that when they dissolved, they just left everything, lock, stock, and barrel. The museum features original artifacts, tools, and many photos of Father Rapp and his family as well as a history of the migrations of the group. Well laid out, and clearly explained.

Sandy, our tour guide, met us there and showed us to a small room where we viewed an introductory movie, about 15 minutes. Then it was off to explore what remains of the Harmony days. The tour lasted about 2 1/4 hours and gave us such a clear picture of what life was like in the times of Rapp and his followers. Sandy was a great tour guide, full of information, anecdotal asides, and a passion for the area. She had worked in some capacity at the village since the 1970s when she was a teenage docent.

It was unfortunate we could not enter the Rapp house as it is undergoing reconstruction and renovation. We did get into the Carriage home, the beautiful gardens, the mechanics shop, the wine cellar, granary, Baker house, and the tool shop, to name a few. We came away with an understanding of the settlement and an appreciation of the people who lived there.

The tour involves extensive, but flat walking. Some of the sidewalks are uneven, and there are cobblestones to traverse. It would be difficult for someone in a wheel chair or walker.

It is a shame Old Economy Village is missed by visitors to the Pittsburgh area. The foundation struggles to preserve this piece of history and it will be too bad if they cannot continue to get grant or government monies to help out. In the meantime, they will rely on visitors to the settlement and the admission that is paid for the tours.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank ReginaReadsPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Married here in 2002”
Reviewed 24 May 2013

I had an outdoor wedding here in the gardens. It was a lovely setting, and economical for this type of event at the time I was married. I had absolutely no complaints.

1 Thank ScullyPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Wonderful afternoon”
Reviewed 23 May 2013

Go to the visitor center first to view exhibits and brief film about Father Rapp and his followers, then take the tour-about 2 hours. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. The guides are friendly and extremely knowledgeable.
We'd been there 20 years earlier & was well worth the return visit. Would love to go to a special event there.

Visited May 2013
3 Thank Mary320
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kerrville, Texas
1 review
“really interesting and cute but......”
Reviewed 15 May 2013

I really enjoyed this little village. Absolutely adorable and beautify gardens and grounds. The things I didn't like: really hard to find the visitor center, it is 2 blocks north of the village. Also it should be mentioned that this tour should not be taken by those with a physical handicap, the ealkways are very uneven and all the buildings are not handicap accesable and there are large steps. If you have a wheelchair or a walker do not even attempt. The poor people on our tour could barely move around and the tour took 2.5 hours because we had to wait for them. All in all it was a good experience though and I would recommend it.

Visited May 2013
Thank cbektown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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