Who is Laurel Highlands?
Laurel Highlands Historical Village was founded in 2003 as a non-profit organization to promote the appreciation and understanding of the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of the South Western Pennsylvania Highlands. The Laurel Highlands is home to a diverse array of people who immigrated from their homelands to join the Native Americans who lived here for generations. The immigrants worked as farmers, merchants, coal and iron miners, steel workers, railroaders, teachers, pastors, and in every profession that is part of American Society.
As our nation forged itself into a nation of liberty, our economy grew to offer opportunities. The Laurel Highlands became a magnet for freed slaves and immigrants from every continent. As a result, we enjoy a rich array of cultural diversity that rivals any place in the world. Our region is truly an example of the ‘American Melting Pot’, where diverse cultures work hard together to build a better life.
The mission and goal of the LHHV is to provide programs and opportunities to understand our history, appreciate the accomplishments of our ancestors, and to understand how differences in our cultural heritage contribute to, and strengthen American society. In short, LHHV exists to illuminate the real value of cultural diversity when it exists in an atmosphere of understanding, cooperation, and working together.
LHHV Pays special attention to the need for future generations to learn the customs, traditions, and practices of their ancestors. We lead field trips on trails through our hills, take kids fishing, and show them the mills and factories where their grandparents worked so hard. In addition, LHHV operates our ‘Penns Woods Project’, which provides refurbished computers, recycled from businesses to students who cannot afford these tech-tools that are necessary in today’s world for their education.
Join us as we continue to grow! Your interests, talents, and knowledge are some of the most valuable information for us!
If you’d like to be part of LHHV, please contact us via EMail, US Mail, or Telephone.
In-Kind contributions are gratefully accepted.
To provide a forum to inspire, motivate and teach young people about their rich cultural and ethnic Inheritance through storytelling, handicrafts and skills demonstrations and seminars, period architecture, garments, tools and lifestyles. We want to provide a powerful and vivid experience that is both entertaining and educational, and engenders in our children and youth interest in the many and varied ethnicities which shaped our nation.
As an historical venue, the Laurel Highlands Historical Village seeks to create an ethnic-centered heritage village reflecting life in earlier times and is accessible to the public. We hope to showcase the contributions, skills and talent of many ethnic groups who shaped the progress of this region.
The Village will be created on a tract of land, and will be complete with replicas of buildings, gardens and trails as well as domestic and work-related features common to the Laurel Highlands region per-industrial revolution. LHHV’s focus will be on areas such as glass blowing, textiles, agronomy, conservation, blacksmiths, music, farming, food, arts and crafts, with emphasis on teaching the skill in the context of various era lifestyles.
Our Leadership Team
Ronald J Shawley
Founder & Executive Director
Laurel Highlands Historical Village
Ron Shawley, Founding Board & Executive Director: (814)241-6123
Doug Yonker, President & Historian: (814)288-9691
Patti Defibaugh, Secretary/Treasurer: (814)288-7017
Donna Gergely, Vice President & Community Relations: (814)615)-3160
Paulette Baker, Founding Board: (814)242-2239
Roxanne Sekowski, Founding Board Member
Mark Watson, Founding Board & Business Director
Robert Nickerson, Entertainment: (814)886-4712
Paul Mock Sr., Founding Board: (304)283-9419
Mike Zekowski, Hunting, Fishing & Trapping Education
OPEN, Educational Director
OPEN, Village Chaplain
Community Relations & VP— Donna Gergely 814-615-3160
Joseph Sabo, Web “Wizard”