Bushy Run Battlefield
The Fight to Save Bushy Run
by Karen Fetter
Despite the fact that funding for Bushy Run Battlefield has not yet been determined, Heritage Society President Jean Loughry insists Bushy Run will not close.
A group of 10 dedicated people, the Board of Directors for Bushy Run Battlefield, have made a commitment to keep the park open. To this point they have volunteered the hours it takes to give guided tours and serve at the museum and gift shop.
The controversy began when The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) decided to cut funding for the Bushy Run Battlefield. The Board of Directors was left to learn about this decision from an article in the newspaper, according to Jean Loughry. She said they received no confirmation from PHMC. If cut is made then the staff at Bushy Run will be downsized and the educational director position eliminated, although the maintenance staff of one-and-a-half would remain intact.
Regardless of the actions of the PHMC, the Board at Bushy Run has determined that it will find a way to staff the site and keep the historic battlefield open as long as possible.
How can you help? There are three ways that people can support Bushy Run Battlefield. One way is to become a volunteer. Any hours that you can donate out of your week to work at the museum, gift shop, or to give tours would help tremendously. Other areas that are in need of volunteers are administrative, fundraising, marketing and promotion, school liaison, special events, and web design.
A second way to help is to donate money. By making whatever donation you can afford, you can help ensure the future of the park and museum. Funds that are raised help sustain the operating system until further plans can be made. The Battlefield needs $1.5 million to continue to operate. If every person in Westmoreland County donated just $5.00, this goal could be achieved.
You can also help sustain Bushy Run by becoming a member of the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society. Individual memberships are only $15.00 and family memberships are $25.00. There are corporate sponsors, endowments, and lifetime sponsorship levels depending on your level of commitment. A membership includes free admission to Bushy Run Battlefield Museum and quarterly lectures, reduced admission to all PHMC sites, 10% special savings on Bushy Run Gift Shop merchandise, and a quarterly newsletter.
The Bushy Run Battlefield Park began in 1918. A group of men from Irwin, Jeannette, Greensburg, and Harrison City decided to buy six-and-a-half acres of the land where the battle took place so that a memorial could be developed. School children in the area collected pennies as a fundraiser to help in making the acquisition. In addition to purchasing the land, the first monument was erected. Today, the park consists of nearly 250 acres. “Of course,” says Jean Loughry, “the Heritage Society needs more than pennies to help it now.”
The goal of the Bushy Run Heritage Society is to preserve and restore the battlefield as a historical, educational, and recreational resource for the community. The history behind the Bushy Run Battlefield dates to August 5-6, 1763 when Colonel Henry Bouquet and a force of approximately 400 British soldiers achieved a decisive victory over the Native Americans, opening up the settlement of Western Pennsylvania. Highlights of the site include the interpretive exhibit, “The March to Bushy Run” at the site’s visitor center, as well as guided and self-guided tours, special events, and educational programs.
Operating hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On the weekends there are guided tours of the battlefield that take place on an eight person golf cart. There is no cost for members of the society. In addition to the battlefield, there is a museum and a gift shop where people can buy historic books, Bushy Run apparel, souvenirs, and 18th century toys.
Yearly events are also scheduled. August is the annual reenactment of the Battle of Bushy Run. The annual battle reenactment shows how Colonel Henry Bouquet and his troops defeated the Native American forces that had ambushed the British in 1763 on their way to saving the besieged Fort Pitt. The morning battle portrays the events that occurred on August 5 and the afternoon engagement shows the August 6 tactics that led to British victory. Also featured are period 18th century military camps, and 18th century trades area, 18th century craftspeople, and other special programs.
Vistor Center: April 1st through October 31st Wed – Sun: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Closed during winter, for off season visits please contact the Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society.
Prices: Adults- $5.00 Senior Citizens/AAA-Member- $4.50 Children- $3.00 Large group discounts available. Please contact to make firstname.lastname@example.org