Butler County: Established Hub for Business, Education, Family, and Entertainment
Butler County is not only known for its farms, but for the diversified economic base encompassing companies and organizations in the businesses of manufacturing, information technology, education and health care.
In the southern tier we have the international headquarters for Westinghouse and Mine Safety Appliances, and UPMC Passavant. In the central tier is locally owned Butler Health System and Butler County Community College. To the north there is Iron Mountain (location of U.S. Retirement Operations Center and Federal Investigative Services), Slippery Rock University, and the long-standing manufacturers in Petrolia, the site of the first oil well in the United States.
Rapid growth in the south has earned Butler County the ranking of sixth highest growth county in the nation and recognizes Cranberry Township as one of the fastest developing communities in the Northeastern United States. Among other things, Cranberry spells convenience for companies like Westinghouse with numerous conference facilities and meeting spaces. With the addition of four new hotels there are more than 2,000 rooms available. Accessible via Routes 79, 279, PA Turnpike and 19 we are only 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh and only a short drive from Pittsburgh International Airport.
Smithsonian Magazine rated the City of Butler number seven most livable small town in 2012, and is proud to have been one of the first Western Pennsylvania cities to designate a bike path through the downtown corridor as an extension of the Butler Freeport Trail.
The region’s only museum dedicated to Asian art, The Maridon, is located here as well as the Butler Little Theatre, Butler County Symphony, Associated Artists of Butler County and Butler County Historical Society’s Lowrie-Shaw house. As the county seat, the Butler County Government Center building is a reflection of our past and our future located on historic Diamond Square Park.
Besides its attractions for businesses, Butler County offers a lot for family adventurers. Moraine State Park, at more than 16,000 acres, is the third largest park in Pennsylvania. The park includes 20 miles of equestrian trails and a seven-mile bicycle trail with rental facilities. If you’re looking for water sports and entertainment, think Lake Arthur, an aquatic playground 365 days a year, and one of the best places to rent fishing equipment to snag a northern pike or a large-mouth bass. In the summer months you can rent pontoon boats, fishing boats, kayaks, and paddle boats, all available for families and individuals. In the winter, you can try your hand at windsurfing and ice boating. And courtesy of the Moraine Reservation Fund, you may charter or take dinner cruises on the lake.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be pleased to know that Butler County has reintroduced barn owls and other species, and that bald eagles fly about the park. And you’ll enjoy the wonderful outdoor trails populated with butterfly-attracting plants. If golfing is your game, you can try any of seventeen public golf courses that dot the Butler countryside.
Close by Moraine State Park, you’ll find the Big Butler Fair at the farm show fairgrounds. The fair attracts 150,000 people each year and draws in 15,000 to 20,000 people to its concerts. Plus, you can enjoy various and sundry foods, the midway games, and get up close to animals of all kinds, from horses to cows to goats. At the Penn’s Colony Festival in historic Saxonburg, 65,000 visitors come each year to experience what life was like here in the 1750’s. In September, the festival comes alive with 200 Juried crafts persons and nearly 1,000 costumed participants who provide music, dance, battle reenactments, 18th-century tavern shows, and period foods. Also in Butler County, the town of Harmony is one of only about 50 National Historic Landmark Districts in the country. Visitors learn about the Christian communal group known as the Harmonists that settled in the area during the early 1800’s.
The American Bantam Car Company invented, developed and produced one of the most famous vehicles in the world – the jeep – right here in Butler, Pa. The three day second annual summer Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival in 2012 boasted 1,500 Jeeps representing 25 states and 3 countries. Next year’s proves to be even larger. 2013 will see the Pyrotechnic Guild International convention hosted by Butler County as thousands of fireworks companies and aficionados gather for a full week of “Booms and Blasts.” For all these advances, Butler County hasn’t lost touch with its agrarian heritage with more than 1,150 family-owned farms.
There’s no doubt about it. Butler has so much to offer that it’s a place where more and more people choose to live. Next to Allegheny County, more new-home construction takes place in Butler County than any other area in the Greater Pittsburgh environs. And with the boom in communities like Slippery Rock to the north, Butler Downtown central and Cranberry and Adams Township in the south, there’s no construction let up in sight.