Strategically located for businesses and residents alike, Butler County, Pa., sits just 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh, and easily accessed by the PA Turnpike, I-79, I-80 and State Routes 422, 19 and 8. With its prime location, Butler County is experiencing rapid growth ranging from high tech, energy, agricultural and manufacturing. As a result, new businesses, tech companies, and healthcare facilities are planting their roots here.
Butler County is headquarters of Westinghouse, Butler Technologies, MSA and many more. Many companies are not only making advancements within the county but also around the world. For instance, Butler Technologies Inc. worked with Ralph Lauren designers and DuPont engineers to add heating elements inside the heavy-duty, down-filled, red, white and blue jackets worn by each of the U.S. team members at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Tourism is also a top industry in Butler County, and it has greatly enhanced the area in several ways. As a result of the county’s growth, the area is constantly hosting events, festivals and tournaments generating millions of dollars benefiting the local economy. Several attributes make the county unique like its beautiful parks, rich automotive history, agricultural impact, versatile sporting venues and more.
Moraine State Park
Moraine State Park is the county’s biggest attraction and sees close to two million visitors a year. It consists of 16,725 acres of pure beauty intertwined with an abundance of outdoor activities; making it the most visited attraction in the county at any time of the year. Moraine State Park is the third-largest park in Pennsylvania and offers a variety of activities for year-round enjoyment like hiking, biking, boating, disc golf, cross-country skiing, cabin rental and more.
Moraine State Park is referenced as a “National Hidden Gem,” by Rand McNally’s Pocket Guide for American Express, and in 2008 it was named “number one park in the state of Pennsylvania.”
The main feature of Moraine State Park is Lake Arthur. With more than 3,000 acres, Lake Arthur is the largest man-made lake in the state and offers 42 miles of shoreline. Moraine has 28 miles of hiking trails, which includes The North Country National Scenic Trail that stretches from North Dakota to Vermont. The Park also hosts numerous events throughout the year, providing something for every outdoor enthusiast!
Birthplace of the Jeep
What makes something stand the test of time while the world around us is evolving with new technology every day? The men behind the development and design of the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC) would have been great people to ask since the American Bantam Car Company’s BRC, born in Butler, Pennsylvania, is the predecessor to the Jeep® vehicles you see on the road today.
In 1940, the U.S. Army asked more than 100 tractor and auto manufacturers to design a four-wheel drive, 40-horsepower, 1,200-pound reconnaissance car that could haul soldiers, as well as heavy artillery and requested a working prototype within 49 days. With only two companies responding to the request, the American Bantam Car Company created the Jeep prototype that was responsible for making American forces mobile during World War II.
The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival that takes place in June was created to commemorate the history and birthplace of the jeep. This is one of the county’s largest and most attended events, drawing in tens of thousands of people worldwide. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival helps local businesses generate additional revenue and brings a sense of community pride to Butler County. The festival has also been recognized as the “Event of the Year” by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Society for Tourism.
Butler County has many acres of vast farmland and a variety of dedicated working farms, making agriculture one of the county’s leading industries. In Butler County alone, there are an estimated 3,400 cows that produce 65,000 pounds of milk annually. Butler County dairies also generate $45,706,000 in economic value. Many farms have adapted high-tech tools like drones to assist with overseeing their vast acreage and crops. Other sources of technology include tools that help feed their livestock in a customized fashion.
Annual events are centered around agricultural, including the Big Butler Fair, Butler Farm Show and the Butler County Farm Tour, a free, drive-it-yourself tour of local farms giving visitors the opportunity to meet the friendly faces who grow and harvest their food.
Both residents and businesses alike benefit from the local farms. Many residents participate in CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture), allowing people to get their produce directly from the farmers, and restaurants incorporate farm-to-table by serving dishes with farm-fresh ingredients. Take Wunderbar Coffee & Crepes in Harmony for instance. The buckwheat fl our from Zanella Milling in West Sunbury is used by Wunderbar Coffee and Crepes and is the main ingredient used in their popular crepes as well as some of the other dishes they serve there.
Featuring several versatile sporting and multifunctional venues, Butler County is quickly becoming a premier sports event destination. The UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, located in Cranberry Township, is a large, multi-functional venue attracting thousands of visitors nationwide. The facility hosts many hockey tournaments that bring in a volume of teams, families and spectators.
Cooper’s Lake, with its rolling hills and open layout, has become a recurring destination for Pittsburgh’s Tough Mudder. This two-day event brings 11,000 out-of-market visitors to the county and generates more than $4 million annually with overnight stays, shopping and dining.
Butler County also features a variety of championship disc golf courses located at Moraine State Park, Slippery Rock University and a brand-new course in Cranberry Township which is one of the world’s longest and most challenging disc golf courses. The county has hosted several national tournaments and an international disc golf tournament, resulting in an economic impact of more than $645,000.
Whether you’re a long-standing resident, first-time visitor, or business professional looking for new opportunities, explore all that Butler County, Pennsylvania, has to offer.
About Jack Cohen Jack Cohen is President of Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau (BCTCB). With over 30 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, Mr. Cohen has been instrumental in the growth of the Tourism Bureau. Jack also serves on the Boards of the Pennsylvania Destination Marketing Organization for the Pennsylvania Tourism and Lodging Association, Community Development Corporation, Moraine Preservation Fund, North Country Trail, Pennsylvania Trail Council and the Cranberry Township Sister Cities Association with Haiyang, China.