About the Oliver Miller Homestead
This old stone farmhouse nestled among the trees in South Park is a sturdy remnant of frontier days. In 1772, Oliver Miller, his wife Mary Tidball Miller and nine of their ten children first settled in a log home in the wilderness. Led by Reverend John McMillan, families gathered there to worship before there was a church. Sons of Oliver Miller served in the frontier militia and the Revolutionary War and were later involved in the Whiskey Rebellion. Click for more information on the Oliver Miller family: It All Began With a Still
The story of this family reveals a way of life and a struggle for survival common to those who first settled Western Pennsylvania. Most of these frontier farmers were Scots-Irish immigrants; some were of Scottish, Welsh, or German descent. They were proud, frugal people with few possessions, determined to find good, cheap land and a better life.
In 1934, given the name “Stone Manse” and declared a national historic site, the Miller home was opened to the public. For a short period of time the building was furnished and under the care of the County Federation of Women’s Clubs. Later the home was staffed by an Allegheny County caretaker.
In 1973, a new dedicated volunteer organization, the Oliver Miller Homestead Associates, was given the approval of Allegheny County to be the official curators of the newly named Oliver Miller Homestead. Through the years, this all volunteer organization, with the help of Allegheny County’s Department of Parks, has improved the conditions of the house and grounds, added structures, and developed programs to educate the public on the Millers and eighteenth century life in western Pennsylvania. For more information on the Oliver Miller Homestead Associates, click: History of the OMHA
A decorative well that had been constructed in the 1930’s was remade into a working bake oven. A two-story log house was built in 1988 as a reminder of the first Miller home. In 1991 a fully equipped blacksmith’s forge was built on the grounds where volunteer blacksmiths demonstrate the making and repairing of basic items used on a farm. Beyond the forge is a demonstration shed where one might find a chair maker, hornsmith, or cooper at work.
At the far end of the Homestead property is a reproduction bank barn that was completed in 2005. The barn houses the Homestead’s gift shop, known as the Trading Post. It also has a variety of farm tools, permanent and changing informational displays, information about the Whiskey Rebellion, and the original Miller whiskey still.
Among the many gardens on the property is the Constant Garden, which is a kitchen garden in back of the Stone House, and Emily’s Garden, a woodland wildflower garden. Several other areas are planted with cooking and medicinal herbs, while farm crops can be found in small plots in the field below the Homestead.
Click for a map of the Oliver Miller Homestead Site: MAP of OMH SITE