The Pennsylvania government will spend $2 million to install a renewable energy technology in a visitor center at Old Economy Village in Ambridge, Beaver County.
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – “Each year, thousands of visitors come to Old Economy Village to catch a glimpse of Pennsylvania’s industrious spirit,” says Gov. Tom Ridge. “The sights and sounds of Old Economy Village piques the curiosity and awakens the spirit in us all. It’s the story of a hardworking, God-fearing people who helped to spark the Industrial Revolution. This new visitor center will help to preserve this true Pennsylvania treasure for generations to come.” The state will provide more than $2 million in capital budget public improvement funds to construct the centre. Old Economy Village, built in the 1820s, housed a Christian communal group known as the Harmony Society. Seventeen historic buildings, formal gardens, 16,000 artifacts, paintings, tools, books and furnishings combine to tell the story of the Harmonists’ piety and economic success in producing wool, cotton and silk textiles. The energy-efficient building will be heated and cooled by earth energy systems, and will be constructed with brick and siding to fit harmoniously into the neighborhood of 19th century brick houses. “The release of these funds by Governor Ridge will greatly enhance the educational experience for thousands who visit Old Economy Village each year,” says Brent Glass of the Historical & Museum Commission. “With more than 22,000 square feet of space for exhibits, education rooms, an orientation-theater, storage for historical objects, and a research library and archives, the new visitor center will significantly improve our ability to tell the story of Old Economy Village and the Harmony Society that built it.” The entire building will be handicapped accessible, and include on-site parking and a bus drop-off area. In addition to state funds, additional support will come from the Heinz Endowments, The Hillman Foundation, and other donors, all of Pittsburgh.