Ligonier, Pennsylvania

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Ligonier is a borough in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,695 at the 2000 census. Ligonier was settled in the 1760s. The borough is well known for nearby Idlewild Park, one of the oldest amusement parks in the country, and nearby Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Another tourist attraction is Fort Ligonier Days, a parade and craft market that takes place every fall over the course of three days. Ligonier is part of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area.[1]

Ligonier is the site of a reconstruction of Fort Ligonier, an example of a frontier fort of the French and Indian War. Ligonier is also known for its downtown square, the Diamond, which has a bandstand in the middle.

Contents

Geography

The Borough of Ligonier is entirely surrounded by Ligonier Township, which is a separate municipality. According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²), all of it land. Ligonier is located at 40°14′40″N 79°14′13″W / 40.24444°N 79.23694°W / 40.24444; -79.23694 (40.244518, -79.237067)[2].

History

In 1758, when British forces launched a major campaign to remove French forces from the forks of the Ohio, now Pittsburgh, this spot on Loyalhanna Creek was the site of their westernmost camp before reaching the Ohio. It was an enormous army, a virtual moving city of 6,000 people, that temporarily made this the most populated spot in Pennsylvania second only to Philadelphia. The fort was named Fort Ligonier after John Ligonier, a British noble of French origin who held the rank of Field Marshal in the British Army. Eventually, the name of the settlement that grew up around the fort was shortened to Ligonier.

In 1817, the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Turnpike was completed, a gravel road that was the precursor to today's US Route 30. Fort Ligonier was a logical place for travelers to break their journey, and with such commercial opportunities in mind, a local resident named John Ramsay (sometimes spelled Ramsey) laid out the street plan, including the space now known as the Diamond. The Diamond was intended to be a courthouse site, in the expectation that Ligonier would eventually become the seat of a new county. He initially called the town Ramseytown, later changed to Wellington (after the Duke of Wellington), and finally the name was changed to Ligonier.[3] Several decades of prosperity followed. On April 10, 1834, Ligonier was incorporated as a borough.

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