Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Heinz History Center
Henz History Center
Heinz History Center


Heinz History Center
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Fort Pitt Timeline

The strategic location of the Fort Pitt Museum – at the Forks of the Ohio River – has shaped the course of American and world history, playing a pivotal role during the French & Indian War, the American Revolution, and as the birthplace of Pittsburgh. Fort Pitt helped to open the frontier to settlement, as Pittsburgh became the ''Gateway to the West.''

February 1754 – British army Captain William Trent arrives at the Point and establishes Fort Prince George (more commonly known as “Trent’s Fort”), the first fort built at the Point.

April 1754 – French troops travel down the Allegheny River and demand the British to leave Trent’s Fort peacefully. The French immediately begin constructing Fort Duquesne.

July 1755 – British army General Edward Braddock is sent to capture Fort Duquesne, but is defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela. Braddock's defeat was a major setback for the British in the early stages of the French & Indian War.

September 1758 – The French and their American Indian allies defeat an attacking British regiment, led by Major James Grant at the Battle of Fort Duquesne.

November 1758 – Knowing they are outnumbered, the French set fire to Fort Duquesne before General Forbes and the British army capture the site. General Forbes and a young George Washington stand over the smoldering ruins of Fort Duquesne and name the site “Pittsburgh,” in honor of William Pitt.

November 1758 – The British build Fort Mercer, a temporary fort designed to defend the Forks of the Ohio until a larger structure could be built.

November 1759 – The British army begins constructing the most state-of-the-art fort in North America, naming it Fort Pitt. The new fort is built next to the site of Fort Mercer.

June 1763 – During Pontiac's Rebellion, an effort to drive the settlers out of the region, American Indians attack Fort Pitt, but find it too well-fortified to be overtaken. After two months, the siege was finally broken with Colonel Henry Bouquet’s victory at the Battle of Bushy Run.

1764 – A modest brick building, known as the Fort Pitt Block House, is erected hear Fort Pitt. The Block House, the oldest authenticated structure in Western Pennsylvania, is now operated by the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

1772 – The British army abandons Fort Pitt, letting it fall to private ownership.

1774 – As the colonies approach the Revolutionary War, British governor Lord Dunmore decides to reassert Virginia’s claim to the Forks of the Ohio, taking over the privately-owned Fort Pitt and naming it Fort Dunmore.

1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Army uses Fort Pitt as its western headquarters, housing troops and supplies to defend the new United States.

September 1778 – The first Peace Treaty between the American Indians and the United States is signed at Fort Pitt.

1792 – Fort Pitt is abandoned due to its deteriorating condition, and Fort Fayette is built in downtown Pittsburgh where Penn Avenue and Ninth Street now intersect. Dozens of Pittsburghers used remnants of Fort Pitt to construct their own homes.

20th Century

1945 – The Pittsburgh Regional Planning Association develops plans to establish a park at Pittsburgh’s Point. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development establishes the Point Park Committee to lead The Point project to completion.

1958 – In an effort to improve Pittsburgh’s Point – a 36-acre industrial area covered with sprawling warehouses and a tangle of railroad tracks – city leaders announce the construction of Point State Park, a beautiful green space that will complement the city-wide cleanup.

October 1960 – Point State Park is designated a National Historic Landmark.

1961 – The beautification of Point State Park is part of Pittsburgh’s first Renaissance, a $500 million resurgence of downtown, from a smoky city into a modern city.

October 1966 – Point State Park is named to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

June 1969 – The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) opens the Fort Pitt Museum on the site of the original fort's Monongahela bastion.

June 2001 – A $2.1 million renovation gives the Fort Pitt Museum a second-floor for exhibition space.

September 2009 – PHMC selects the Senator John Heinz History Center to manage the Fort Pitt Museum.

April 17, 2010 – The History Center re-opens the Fort Pitt Museum to the public.


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