Friendship Hill National Historic Site

The National Park Service is welcoming back the firefighters who saved Friendship Hill National Historic Site in Springhill Township 40 years ago with a special event from 1 to 3 p.m. July 14 called “Saving the Gallatin Mansion: A Tribute to the 1979 Firefighters.’’ (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.)

The National Park Service is welcoming back the firefighters who saved Friendship Hill National Historic Site in Springhill Township 40 years ago with a special event from 1 to 3 p.m. July 14 called “Saving the Gallatin Mansion: A Tribute to the 1979 Firefighters.’’

“We know a lot of the firefighters who were here have continued to be great members of our community but many are retiring from the fire departments. It seemed a good time to honor them,’’ said park ranger Hilary Miller.

The park service reports that from June 29 to July 2, 1979, Friendship Hill was struck by a series of fires that were later determined to be arson. The fires damaged the historic Gallatin House and destroyed some outbuildings.

Eight fire companies responded, including Point Marion, Smithfield, Masontown, Fairchance, Collier, Haydentown, McClellandtown and Edenborn.

“The National Park Service is grateful to the over 100 volunteer firefighters who worked diligently to save Albert Gallatin’s home 40 years ago,’’ the park service noted in a release.

During the special event, the mansion will be open for self-guided tours where visitors can see some of the remaining fire damage as well as a display of fire-related photos and articles. The park service hopes firefighters can help identify people in the photos.

At 2 p.m., there will be a short welcome and a group photo of the returning firefighters. Some companies will bring fire trucks.

The Friendship Hill Association will provide light refreshments.

Friendship Hill National Historic Site is located along Route 166, three miles north of Point Marion. Admission to the park is free. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/frhi or call 724-329-2501.

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