A New Self-guided Trail in Pennsylvania Takes You to the Sights That Inspired 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'
Opened to commemorate show’s 50th anniversary this year, the self-guided trail takes visitors on a three-day itinerary across the state — stopping at 15 places that inspired or influenced Rogers and his show.
Starting in Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, you’ll be able to visit his old high school — viewing treasures like vintage yearbook photos of Rogers alongside the late golfer Arnold Palmer — as well as his childhood church. Also in Latrobe is the Fred Rogers Center, where you’ll find original show memorabilia including puppets, Daniel Tiger’s clock, and Rogers’ sweaters and sneakers.
Make sure to stop at James H. Rogers Park, named after Fred’s father, to take a photo with a hyper-realistic statue of Rogers; tourism representatives say that sculptor Jon Hair even asked for the exact measurements of Rogers’ clothing to create the work.
At the Senator John Heinz History Center in nearby Pittsburgh, you can see the biggest collection of original items from the show, including the sets for Mr. Rogers' entryway and living room. It's also worth visiting the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in neighboring Washington, PA, where one of the show's more famous episodes was filmed.
For another photo opportunity, head to Pittsburgh's Tribute to Children monument — a Rogers memorial centered around a 10-foot statue of the star tying his sneakers near the water to reflect his love of swimming.
“We’re inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the life of one of Pennsylvania’s most beloved icons by walking in his shoes and journeying through the past; if there’s anyone right now who needs a pick-me-up, I encourage you to follow this trail dedicated to a man filled with kindness and patience,” Dennis Davin, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, said in a statement.
En route, make sure to save time to enjoy a banana split in Latrobe (the birthplace of the dessert) and a visit to Indiana County's Buttermilk Falls Natural Area, the former retreat of the Rogers family that’s home to scenic hiking and biking trails and a 45-foot waterfall.
Need a fun home base for your trip down memory lane? Check in to the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh, where turntables play music from Rogers' record label and his time as a jazz musician. The building that houses the Ace was once a YMCA club — one that Rogers regularly attended.
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