French and Indian War sites
About 35 miles north and east of Fort Necessity is the small town of Ligonier, Pa., where, in 1758, Gen. John Forbes built Fort Ligonier as the jumping-off point for his attack on Fort Duquesne. In November of that year, Forbes (accompanied by Washington) succeeded where Braddock had failed, as the French blew up their fort and retreated before Forbes’ army. Forbes ordered the construction of a new fort at the forks — what is now Pittsburgh.
Fort Ligonier has been reconstructed in a magnificent way and has a first-rate museum and perhaps the best bookstore anywhere for those interested in the French and Indian War. A Ramada Inn is next door to the fort on U.S. 30.
U.S. 30, the Lincoln Highway, follows the road built by Forbes in 1758. To the east, in Bedford, a blockhouse contains a museum with information about Fort Bedford. (It was closed for the season when we passed through.) Farther east is the reconstructed Fort Loudon.
Two other Pennsylvania sites, though not part of my trip, would be well worth a visit: Point State Park in Pittsburgh, at the forks of the Ohio, and Bushy Run Battlefield, where the British repulsed an Indian attack in 1763.
One surprise: U.S. 30 took us near the place where United Flight 93 crashed after passengers challenged the terrorist hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. We paid our respects there and were reminded that history is not restricted to the distant past.
• Greg Pierce is the editor of the America at War page.