Who Killed Local History?
The Legion Ville Story
The Push for a National Historical Site
1792 (November): Legion Ville established by General Anthony Wayne.
1793-04-30: Legion Ville camp “broken up.” Troops stationed at Legion Ville until May 9, 1793, but the camp was struck on April 30th.
1818: Eyewitness accounts state that some of the buildings still standing. “The installations at Legionville soon fell to decay [after Wayne’s departure]. Zadok Cramer’s Navigator (1818) reads: Some of the cabins built by General Wayne are still standing on the ground which is an extensive ﬂat, high and timberless, except a thick growth of young scrub oaks. The late John S. Duss, last surviving member of the Harmony Society, is reported to have seen some chimneys on this site and remarked that the people knew the site as “the chimney ﬁeld.” During World War II, Legionville was the site of a temporary housing project. Today the temporary buildings are gone, but one is able to drive over the improvised streets. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s roadside marker is on Pa. 88 at the site.” (A traveler’s guide to historic western Pennsylvania, 1953, p. 114)
1824: Harmony Society purchased the property on which Legion Ville stood. The site was later bought by the A.M. Byers Ironworks Company who in turn sold it to National Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio.
1888: “Legionville of to-day is comparatively unimportant . . . The place has one house, in which lives the [postal] agent George Brown, with his family . . . The importance of Legionville is owing to two considerations: 1. It is near the ancient Logstown, the most important Indian village on the Ohio River. 2. It was the place selected by Gen. Anthony Wayne for the rendezvous of his army during the winter of 1792-73.” Richard J. Fraise in History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania (pp 599-600).
Through the efforts of interested groups as the Anthony Wayne Historical Society, Legionville has been designated a State Historic Site and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, without designation as a National Historic Site, this landmark; zoned for industrialization, will be lost for future generations of Americans to enjoy.
For this reason, I am introducing legislation which directs the Secretary of the Interior to acquire the 22 acres in Harmony Township, Beaver County, Pa. The National Park Service would then administer the land as a national historic site and would be able to reconstruct a model of the encampment.
It is my hope that, in this Bicentennial Year, a vital part of our heritage will be
commemorated through the establishment of the Legionville National Historic
~Senator John H. Heinz, September 16, 1976
Legislative History of S. 1104:
Legionville National Historic Site
The following outlines the legislative history of S.1104 – A bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish the Legionville National Historic Site in the State of Pennsylvania. This legislation was introduced in the 95th Congress (1977-1978) by Senator John H. Heinz (R-Pa).
11/02/1978 Pocket veto by President.
10/23/1978 Measure presented to President.
10/14/1978 Measure enrolled in Senate.
10/14/1978 Measure enrolled in House.
10/14/1978 Measure passed House.
10/14/1978 Measure considered in House.
10/14/1978 Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs discharged in House.
10/31/1977 Referred to House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
10/28/1977 Measure passed Senate, amended.
10/28/1977 Measure considered in Senate.
10/28/1977 Call of calendar in Senate.
10/21/1977 Reported to Senate from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources with amendment, S. Rept. 95-526.
03/23/1977 Referred to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.