Epic Guide to Friendship Hill National Historic Site in Pennsylvania including things to do, how to get to the park, where to stay, and more.
Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Friendship Hill National Historic Site preserves the home of the Swiss-American politician Albert Gallatin. Gallatin was the longest-serving Secretary of the Treasury. Gallatin served under two presidents; Thomas Jefferson from 1801 to 1809 and James Maddison from 1809 to 1814.
Gallatin is remembered for founding New York University, reducing the national debt, and funding Lewis and Clark's expedition into the Louisiana Territory.
Is Friendship Hill National Historic Site worth visiting?
Yes, The park is beautiful and well worth visiting. The house is a self-guided tour so you can wander on your own and learn more about how the house changed over time.
There are amazing hiking trails and a fantastic picnic area to enjoy.
History of Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Who was Albert Gallatin?
Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was born on January 29th, 1761, in Geneva, Switzerland. He moved to America in secret in the 1780s and is often referred to as ‘America’s Swiss Founding Father.”
After several failed business ventures and some time spent as a French tutor at Harvard College in New England, Gallatin became the business partner of French land speculator Jean Savary.
The pair traveled to several areas in the United States, buying undeveloped western lands.
In 1785, Gallatin became a citizen of the United States of America. Gallatin purchased land amounting to 400 acres overlooking the Monongahela River in 1788.
Gallatin began building a stone house that would become known as Friendship Hill. Albert married twice in his life after he became a widower five months into his first marriage.
Albert and his second wife, Hannah Nicholson, lived at Friendship Hill.
Friendship Hill sits on the highest point of the land owned by Albert Gallatin. The house is made up of seven sections, built in the federal architectural style. Over the years, several additions to the house were made. The original stone structure of Friendship Hill was built in 1789.
Albert Gallatin’s Entry into Politics
Gallatin entered the world of politics after another failed business venture in which he co-founded a company that aimed to attract Swiss Immigrants to settle in the United States. In 1788 Gallatin served as a delegate to a state convention for two years.
Gallatin was elected into the United States Senate in 1893 but was removed because he had not been a citizen of the United States for the required amount of time.
It was the first time in the history of the Senate that they opened the session, a practice which became the standard after Gallatin. Gallatin was strongly against the politics of the Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton.
Albert Gallatin and the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794
The poor farmers on the western frontier used the excess grain after their harvest to make whiskey. Whiskey became extremely important to the farmers, some of whom were neighbors to Albert Gallatin. Whiskey became the currency of the frontier.
In 1791 the Federal government passed a law introducing a tax on all distilled spirits. The law became known as the whiskey tax. For the government, the tax was a way to pay off some of its debt incurred during the Revolutionary War.
The farmers on the western frontier vehemently opposed the tax, with many refusing to pay. The penalty for violating the tax law was to attend Federal court in Philadelphia. This cost the farmers a great deal, as the city was 300 miles away from their farms.
The western farmers began violently protesting against the tax, by tarring and feathering tax collectors and intimidating them. Gallatin was against the law, and was elected the clerk in charge of its repeal.
When the rebels attacked the home of a tax collector by the name of John Neville, a farmer was killed.
Gallatin felt it was his responsibility to negotiate a peaceful resolution between the farmers and the government. Gallatin encouraged the farmers to comply with the tax or stop distilling.
Alexander Hamilton and George Washington felt the rebellion was dangerous and needed to be crushed by force. Washington, Hamilton, and 13,000 militia marched west.
Gallatin was warned to flee as Hamilton mistakenly believed Gallatin was an instigator in the Whiskey Rebellion. In the end, Gallatin's innocence was proven.
Albert Gallatin as the Secretary of the Treasury
In 1795, after the Whiskey Rebellion, Gallatin was elected into the United States House of Representatives. Gallatin chaired the Ways and Means Committee.
It was his handling of the Federal government's fiscal policies that made President Thomas Jefferson choose Gallatin to serve as his Secretary of the Treasury.
When Gallatin took charge as Secretary of the Treasury, the United States was over 80 million dollars in debt. It was Gallatin's job to reduce this number. Gallatin initially reduced the debt by two million dollars by selling public land and increasing taxes on imported items.
While in office, Gallatin arranged the purchase of the Louisiana territory in 1803. The Louisiana Purchase was extremely beneficial for the national debt, as it opened up the opportunity for more import tax through the harbor at New Orleans. The 800 thousand acres of land also presented the opportunity to sell public lands.
Gallatin was responsible for the building of the first major transportation route, known as the National Road. Gallatin ensured the Federal government had the funds to embark on the endeavor without falling further into debt.
The National Road was a highway that connected Cumberland, Maryland with the Ohio River in Wheeling. The road was extended in the 1830s to connect Maryland with Illinois. The National Road still exists today and is now Route 40.
By the time Albert Gallatin left the office of the Secretary of the Treasury, he had managed to reduce the national debt by almost half. Gallatin did not retire from politics after the thirteen years he served as Secretary of the Treasury. He continued to work for the Federal government as a diplomat.
Gallant left Friendship Hill in 1828 when he moved to New York City.
Things to know before your visit to Friendship Hill National Historic Site
$0.00 - There is no entrance fee to visit the park.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation, and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Learn more about National Park Passes for parks that have an entrance fee.
Free Entrance Days -Mark your calendars with the five free entrance days the National Park Service offers annually.
Eastern Time Zone
Pets are allowed in the park but need to be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length.
Pets are not allowed in the visitor center or park buildings.
Cell service is generally available in the Gallatin House and on the historic knoll. Cell coverage on the park trails is spotty and differs by the carrier.
We had hit-and-miss coverage at the park. It was super random and not consistent.
Park Grounds are open from sunrise to sunset.
The visitor center is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
There is no Wi-Fi available at the park.
Insect repellent is always a great idea when outdoors, especially if you are around any body of water.
We use Permethrin Spray on our clothes before our park trips.
Make sure to bring your own water bottle and plenty of water with you. Plastic water bottles are not sold in the park.
There is a large parking lot at the base of the trail up to the house. It is a walk uphill to the house.
There is handicap-accessible parking near the house. There is a side road to reach this parking area.
There are no restaurants within the park.
There are no gas stations within the park.
Drones are not permitted within National Park Sites.
National Park Passport Stamps
National Park Passport stamps can be found in the visitor center.
Friendship Hill NHS has not been featured in a Passport Stamp Set
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are at least 15 EV Charging stations within 10 miles of Point Marion, PA
Details about Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Size - 675 acres
Check out how the park compares to other National Parks by Size.
November 10, 1078
In 2021, Friendship Hill NHS had 16,522 park visitors.
In 2020, Friendship Hill NHS had 19,462 park visitors.
In 2019, Friendship Hill NHS had 34,159 park visitors.
National Park Address
223 New Geneva Rd.
Point Marion, PA 15470
Where is Friendship Hill National Historic Site?
Friendship Hill NHS is located in southwestern Pennsylvania in Port Marion along the Monogahela River.
Estimated distance from major cities nearby
Pittsburgh, PA - 72 miles
Akron, OH - 176 miles
Cleveland, OH - 199 miles
Washington DC - 216 miles
Columbus, OH - 201 miles
Baltimore, MD - 218 miles
Buffalo, NY - 280 miles
Toledo, OH - 297 miles
Estimated Distance from nearby National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 176 miles
Indiana Dunes National Park - 482 miles
New River Gorge National Park - 158 miles
Mammoth Cave National Park - 474 miles
Gateway Arch National Park - 619 miles
Acadia National Park - 864 miles
Where is the National Park Visitor Center?
Gallatin House - Home of Albert Gallatin
Getting to Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Morgantown Municipal Airport (MGW)
North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB)
Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (LBE)
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
Erie International Airport (ERI)
Port Columbus International Airport (CMH)
From Downtown Pittsburgh:
approx. 2 hrs.
US 51 south to Uniontown US 119 South to Point Marion
PA 166 north - Park entrance is on left 3 miles north of Point Marion.
From Pittsburgh Airport:
approx. 2 hrs.
US 60 toward Pittsburgh
Exit right on I-79 south toward Washington PA
Remain on I-79 south toward Morgantown, West Virginia
Exit #3 (Waynesburg exit)
PA 21 east to Masontown
PA Route 166 south
Park entrance is on the right 1 mile south of New Geneva.
From the Pennsylvania Turnpike:
approx. 1 hr.
15 minutes Exit #8 - New Stanton
US 119 south through Connellsville and Uniontown to Point Marion,
PA PA 166 north Park entrance is on left 3 miles north of Point Marion.
Best time to visit Friendship Hill National Historic Site
The best time to visit is spring through fall when there is no snow.
Weather and Seasons
This part of Pennsylvania experiences warm summers and short cold snowy winters.
The warmest weather is from May 26th to September 19th with an average daily temperature above 74 degrees.
The coldest weather is from December 3rd to March 2nd with an average daily temperature below 47 degrees.
The snowiest weather occurs in February with an average of 3.5 inches of snow.
Best Things to do in Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of Gallatin House. Portions of the house are open and contain exhibits and furnishing related to Gallatin's life.
It is approximately a 300-yard walk to the Gallatin House from the parking area uphill. It is a paved path that leads up from the parking area to the house.
The Friendship Hill NHS Junior Ranger program is designed for visitors ages 6 to 12. They also have an adult junior ranger program.
The Junior Ranger program can be filled out while walking through the house and watching the park films.
Senior Ranger Program
The Senior Ranger Program is designed for visitors ages 13 and up. The book can be picked up at Gallatin House Visitor Center.
The Senior ranger program is intense and you will want to plan a minimum of a couple of hours to fill it out.
We ended up taking the Senior ranger program home with us to fill out.
FestiFall is an annual celebration of the life of Albert Gallatin. The event is free and includes historic toys, live music, crafts, and more.
Hiking in Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Always carry the 10 essentials for outdoor survival when exploring.
There are ten miles of trails at the park that give visitors the opportunity to experience the Allegheny Plateau.
The Friendship Hill Loop Trail system was designated a National Recreational Trail in 1984.
How to beat the crowds in Friendship Hill National Historic Site?
We did not experience any large crowds while visiting the park. We were able to easily move around the house and grounds.
Where to stay when visiting Friendship Hill National Historic Site
There are National Park Lodges within the park.
Lodging can be found within 10 miles of the park including:
Lakeview Golf Resort, Trademark Collection by Wyndham - Take advantage of 36 holes of golf, a terrace, and shopping on site at Lakeview Golf Resort, Trademark Collection by Wyndham. Get out on the links at this resort and enjoy amenities such as golf lessons. For some rest and relaxation, visit the sauna or the steam room. The gym offers yoga classes and aerobics classes; other things to do include basketball, racquetball/squash, and rock climbing. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as a garden and a hair salon.
Courtyard Morgantown - Consider a stay at Courtyard Morgantown and take advantage of a grocery/convenience store, a terrace, and a coffee shop/café. The onsite bistro, The Bistro, features American cuisine and happy hour. In addition to a garden and a library, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Morgantown - Free to-go breakfast, laundry facilities, and a health club are just a few of the amenities provided at La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Morgantown. In addition to a 24-hour business center, guests can connect to free in-room Wi-Fi.
The Cranberry, Ascend Hotel Collection - You can look forward to a grocery/convenience store, a coffee shop/café, and laundry facilities at The Cranberry, Ascend Hotel Collection. Free in-room Wi-Fi is available to all guests, along with a bar and a gym.
Click on the map below for additional lodging and vacation rentals available in the area.
For a fun adventure check out Escape Campervans. These campervans have built in beds, kitchen area with refrigerators, and more. You can have them fully set up with kitchen supplies, bedding, and other fun extras. They are painted with epic designs you can't miss!
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Parks Near Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site - 115 miles, 2 hours
Johnstown Flood National Memorial - 99 miles, 1 hour 50 minutes
Fort Necessity National Battlefield - 23 miles, 30 minutes
Flight 93 National Memorial - 80 miles, 1 hour 40 minutes
Check out all of the National Parks in Pennsylvania along with neighboring National Parks in Delaware, National Parks in New Jersey, National Parks in Maryland, New York National Parks, Ohio National Parks, and West Virginia National Parks