New trail celebrates the life and legacy of PA’s beloved son, Fred Rogers

By Bill O’Boyle - [email protected]
This image released by Focus Features shows Fred Rogers on the set of his show “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” from the film, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’ - AP photo

WILKES-BARRE — Travelers can now experience firsthand a truly beautiful day in Mister Rogers’ neighborhood.

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, housed within the state Department of Community and Economic Development, paid homage to Pennsylvania native Fred Rogers and announced a Fred Rogers Trail, where travelers can zip up their cardigans and experience firsthand the neighborhoods that inspired the TV pioneer.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the popular children’s show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the Tourism Office worked with Fred Rogers Productions, the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, and VisitPittsburgh to create a unique experience inspired by Rogers.

The new trail, the latest project of the Wolf Administration’s support of the state’s $40 billion tourism industry, features 15 destinations that share a connection to Fred Rogers and his beloved show.

“Millions of children learned about life from Fred Rogers on ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’ and now many of these viewers are re-experiencing the same teachings through their children’s eyes from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” said Dennis Davin, secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development. “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.”

The new Fred Rogers Trail is a three-day road trip that starts in Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, which was recently featured in Smithsonian Magazines’ The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018, and ends in Pittsburgh, where Rogers filmed his show. The stops take travelers along the pathway of Rogers’ life, from his childhood through adulthood, and includes visits to see key artifacts, including set pieces from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Attractions on the trail include:

Idlewild & SoakZone — provides an opportunity for guests to take a trolley through “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” Airing on PBS KIDS, the series is produced by Fred Rogers Productions and is inspired by the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College — features recorded interviews with Fred, a look at his life “before the sweater,” and other memorabilia.

Fred Rogers Statue — in James H. Rogers Park gives visitors an opportunity to take a selfie while sitting on the bench with a statue of Rogers.

Latrobe High School — houses a large display of items from Rogers’ school years and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” production memorabilia.

Latrobe Area Historical Society — highlights the history of Latrobe, its heritage firsts, and famous citizens including Rogers and golf legend Arnold Palmer.

Latrobe Presbyterian Church — was attended by Rogers and his family. A little-known fact, Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister.

Unity Cemetery — Rogers’ place of burial.

Latrobe Art Center — offers “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” merchandise available for sale.

Senator John Heinz History Center — in downtown Pittsburgh is home to the largest collection of original items from the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” television set.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s — 80,000-square-foot space with hands-on exhibits is showcasing a new addition, the Fred Rogers & Us exhibit.

Duquesne Incline — offers an opportunity to ride a trolley. It was featured on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Tribute to Children — monument is a 10-foot bronze statue of Rogers sitting down and tying his sneakers.

WQED Studios — is where you can take a selfie outside where “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was filmed and produced by Family Communications, Inc.

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum — where “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” filmed the iconic episode, “Grandparents.”

Buttermilk Falls — with an impressive 45-foot drop was owned by Rogers’ grandfather from 1931 to 1956 and was used as a family retreat; hiking trails and a picnic area are on site.

Travelers can find the full Fred Rogers Trail itinerary at visitPA.com/FredRogers.

This image released by Focus Features shows Fred Rogers on the set of his show “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” from the film, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_AP18155722805838.cmyk_-1.jpgThis image released by Focus Features shows Fred Rogers on the set of his show “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” from the film, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’ AP photo

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.