We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Wonderful little piece of local American history.”

Old Economy Village
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Ambridge
More attraction details
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
Reviewed 10 October 2013

I visited Old Economy Village with friends and family and the young boys were delighted with most of the village grounds, but they were a bit too young to appreciate the full historical accuracy and representation of the era. A must see for adults who enjoy reliving the past and learning about religious sects and their economics during the 1800's.

2  Thank Marigatta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (64)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
All reviews
"beautiful gardens"
in 4 reviews
"remaining buildings"
in 2 reviews
"period costume"
in 2 reviews
"their lives"
in 3 reviews
"pittsburgh area"
in 3 reviews
"welcome center"
in 2 reviews
"living history"
in 2 reviews
"tour guide"
in 4 reviews
"visitor center"
in 4 reviews
"gift shop"
in 4 reviews
"western pennsylvania"
in 2 reviews
"beaver county"
in 2 reviews
in 15 reviews
in 6 reviews
in 3 reviews
in 3 reviews
in 10 reviews

42 - 46 of 64 reviews

Reviewed 7 October 2013

I remember going to Old Economy Village as a child, on an elementary field trip, and making homemade butter and seeing woman dressed in big gowns and bonnets. It had been nearly two decades since that trip, so I decided to stop in on one of the "free days" they had been offering. It was such a neat place! The tour started with a video that was maybe thirty min long and was a quick summary of the history of the village. It was very informative and interesting. We then went on a self guided tour of the grounds and curiously looked thru every building. We especially loved the wine room which was an underground cellar you would never expect to see! I'm not even a wine drinker but the history of that room alone, as told by the volunteer staff was so interesting!
Almost everyone you see on the grounds of old economy village are volunteers and are quite knowledgeable, friendly and eager to give you a glimpse into the past. It is a neat place and is exceptionally beautiful in the gardens in the summer. It's a must-see if you're in the area!

1  Thank sunshine15106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2013

Locals and visitors alike: go to Old Economy. Bonus: if you have a Pittsburgh "Enjoy" coupon book you can save $10 with a 2-for-1 coupon. You'll learn much fascinating, important history. Back in the 1800s there were several religious sects (not cults) and the Harmonists were probably one of the most successful, both in spiritual and material aspects. They were the right people at the right time and the right place; being so close to Pittsburgh during the Industrial Revolution no doubt was a huge part of their monetary success, which enabled them to become closer to the Divine. Here was a mixture of the sacred and profane that apparently worked. My boyfriend and I had a private tour (we were there when it first opened) and our guide, Eileen, was fantastic--kudos to her for wanting to wear her authentic outfit, although it was hot that day. She shared so much interesting history; she didn't rush us and was able to answer all my questions quite satisfactorily. Give yourself at least 2 1/2 hours, you don't want to rush this attraction. The gardens, though not very big, weren't small either; they are a good place to rest after the tour and let all your new knowledge sink in. It's one thing to read about history in a book, or see a DVD; it's quite another to physically walk in the same places where many of the people you'll learn about actually spent their lives. During the tour if you need a restroom, there's very nice ones in the garden area. Although there is a lot of walking, the tour guide's discussion breaks it up, so don't be dissuaded. Ask your guide about the labyrinth (an ancient walking meditation) ; that's the one thing I was hoping to do (the site in Indiana has a gorgeous one) but it was removed some time ago. But you can buy a labyrinth mirror in the souvenir store and there is a small notation about it right at the entrance of the small but worthwhile museum.

1  Thank 76desert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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!

1  Thank jsctraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
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.

2  Thank ReginaReadsPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Old Economy Village also viewed

Been to Old Economy Village? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing