The Story of Foxburg (in a nutshell)
Tucked in the foothills of the Allegheny Plateau in rural western Pennsylvania, the small town of Foxburg is found along the banks of the beautiful Allegheny River. Even before its creation in the 1870’s, the area was once home to several Native American tribes, including the Monongahelan, Delaware, Shawnee, and Seneca for many millennia. Local petroglyths (ancient rock carvings) found nearby testify to the presence of these tribes dating back to 500 B.C. The indigenous tribes were eventually phased out as new explorers, claiming much of Pennsylvania for their king and country, started to arrive in the 1600’s. The Dutch, French and the British were all to occupy the Allegheny River Valley at some point before the colonist’s were permanently established here.
The control of the Allegheny River and surrounding resources were rooted in the conflicts of the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. This made the Allegheny River Valley a strategic battle front during the 1700’s. Many explorers, mostly military, made their way past this region, including George Washington, who was known to have traveled on horseback up Allegheny River valley during one his expeditions for the British government and floated down when returning to Pittsburgh. He was also said to have stayed in a log cabin owned by a gentleman by the name of General Gaines a short distance from what is now Foxburg. A solitary chimney is the only remaining artifact from this supposed structure and can be seen during one of our river tours.
It was during 1796 that one of the members of the Fox family, a descendent of George Fox and founder of the Quaker religion, from Philadelphia decided to buy a tract of land along this section of the Allegheny River. By 1828 a large stone mansion near the confluence where the Clarion River meets the Allegheny River was completed and the land that had been used for summer vacationing became a permanent home for the next 5 generations of the Foxes. Within time, the Fox’s became prominent citizens of the area and played a major part in the local economy and politics. This included bringing in 2 major rail lines, oil production, timbering, road and bridge development, construction of the local church, post office and library, not to mention having one of the largest working farms in the region. The Fox’s also donated the land for which the town now resides. They even brought the game of golf to Foxburg in 1881 and has been played ever since making it the oldest, continuously-used course in the U.S.
Since the early 1900’s, Foxburg had been in decline. It wasn’t until the arrival of Arthur and Patricia Steffee in 1996 that Foxburg started to become a major destination for thousands of tourists a year. With the Steffee’s vision, guidance, and financial support, Foxburg has received worldwide attention in regards to the the reconstructed Fox Estate, now known as the Riverstone Estate, and the additions of the Foxburg Inn, the Allegheny Grille, Divani Chocolatier, the Foxburg Winery, the Foxburg Pizza Shop and Country Store, all built on the bank of the beautiful Allegheny River. There are also several touring agencies that help visitors enjoy the history and beauty of the estate and surrounding river valleys whether it is a carriage ride or Segway tour of the Riverstone Estate or a tour of the river via Canoe, Kayak or Pontoon boat with Foxburg River Tours.
Even though Foxburg has seen a lot of history during its time, hopefully it will continue making history for those who come to work and play here along the banks of the Allegheny River.