Roadside Oddities and Curiosities

Find Laurel Highlands' hidden locations, unusual attractions, unique landmarks and more.

Throughout the Laurel Highlands' history, our area has been home to a number of historic events, battles and firsts, leaving a trail of landmarks and interesting relics throughout the region worth a stop. Explore our interactive map below and read on to find the Birthplace of the Banana Split, an alien UFO and many more places you can drive by (or see with a short walk) throughout the Laurel Highlands.

Historic Firsts

Banana Split Festival

Did you know? The Laurel Highlands is home to a variety of firsts in the region, country and even the world! If you love Americana, be sure to visit the Big Mac Museum in Irwin, PA, which celebrates the birthplace of McDonald's iconic Big Mac, first served in Uniontown in 1967. The banana split was invented in Latrobe in 1904, a fact recognized each year a the Great American Banana Split Celebration in the city!

History lovers will also have a lot to stop and see as they drive through the region. Fort Necessity is the site of George Washington's first military battle and his only surrender. Historic Hanna's Town was the first county seat west of the Alleghenies, and used to represent the frontier of the then-British colonies.

Can't-Miss Landmarks

Saint Vincent College Basilica

It's easy to know when you're in the Laurel Highlands thanks to these landmarks! Drive by one of the oldest Basilicas in the U.S. at Saint Vincent College, visit Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece Fallingwater (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and hike up the hill to check out the 60-foot Cross of Christ at Jumonville.

Things That Go Bump in the Night

UFO Monument at Kecksburg

If you love the paranormal, there's a lot of spooky sights to check out in and around the Laurel Highlands. See the fabled crash sight of the 1965 UFO in Kecksburg, immortalized with a replica of the object placed in town and celebrated with a UFO Festival each year! For more haunts, explore a trolley graveyard and stay at the Grand Midway Hotel, a haunted hotel with themed rooms that also sports the world's largest Ouija board on its roof, in Windber.

The region is also a horror-film lovers paradise. Book an overnight stay at Buffalo Bill's House, the filming location for the Academy Award winning The Silence of the Lambs. The home still features many attributes that have remained unchanged since filming and includes a reconstruction of the infamous basement well. The Laurel Highlands is also home to special effects pioneer Tom Savini's special effects school, Douglas Education Center, and horror classics like Dawn of the Dead were filmed in and around our region.

Roadside Giants

Roadside Giants

Created by local students, these towering sculptures of a 1920s Packard, 1940s Bennet gas pump and bicycle are worth seeking out as you travel the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.

Highway Murals

Lincoln Highway Murals

As you cruise the Lincoln Highway, be on the lookout for these murals painted on the sides of barns, storefronts and buildings.