The Longdon L. Miller Covered Bridge in West Finley.
Washington County is rich in history, lush countryside, entertainment options and mineral wealth which has recently resurged as an economic driver. Home to nearly 209,000 individuals as of 2010, it enjoys a low cost of living.
The county and county seat were named for a young revolutionary war hero who went on to be the first U.S. president. Once known for its coal mining, it is now the seat of the regional energy renaissance fostered by the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation, which sprawls across three states and is thought to be the second largest gas play in the world. Washington County was home to the first Marcellus Shale well and the first horizontal well in Pennsylvania. Many jobs are being created in the shale for entry-level and mid-career workers, with training and re-training options available via ShaleNET. Agriculture also plays a large role in Washington County, with more than 1,300 farms whose value of production is more than $38 million annually.
It is home to California University of Pennsylvania and Washington and Jefferson College, and recently welcomed satellite branches of the Community College of Allegheny County and Waynesburg University. There are 14 public school districts, 35 non-public schools and five trade/vocational schools.
The county owns and maintains three popular parks: Mingo Creek, Cross Creek and Ten Mile Creek. The Panhandle Trail, a 17-mile rails-to-trails project, connects Allegheny County to Weirton, W. Va., and links to the Montour Trail. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy the The Washington Wild Things baseball team, a member of the independent Frontier League, or trying out three of the most challenging golf courses in western Pennsylvania: Quicksilver, Valley Brook and the Southpointe golf courses -- the latter home of the annual professional Mylan Classic Golf Tournament. Washington County is also home to the Little Lake Theater, the Washington Symphony and the Artists' Co-Op. Live music fans enjoy shows at the Pepsi Cola Roadhouse, the First Niagara Pavilion and the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Washington County is also home to one of the largest casinos in the northeast, the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, featuring more than 3,700 slot machines and some of Pennsylvania's first gaming table, and more than 200 harness race dates each year. Nearby is Tanger Outlets, with 77 outlet stores.
For visitors, an excellent way to experience Washington County is through its history. Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Avella is the oldest site of human habitation in North America, offering a glimpse into the lives of prehistoric hunters and gathers. Meadowcroft also features recreations of a 16th-century Native American village and a mid-19th century Upper Ohio Valley village. The town of Monogahela is home to Whiskey Point, a key location in the Whiskey Rebellion, as well as Longwell House and the Bethel A.M.E Church, stops on the Underground Railroad. The county is also home to 21 covered bridges dating back to the 19th century, and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum which offers a four-mile scenic trolley ride aboard restored antique street cars.