Albert Gallatin had more fun than you’d think as secretary of the treasury. Now you can picnic, hike, and appreciate history at his Friendship Hill, just a half-hour’s drive from Morgantown.
Born into Swiss nobility in 1761, Albert Gallatin didn’t care about the pursuits his family was known for. Instead, he struck out for the very new United States in 1780. He bought land in southwestern Pennsylvania, built a brick home he called Friendship Hill, and got elected to the state House of Representatives in 1790—quickly earning a reputation in finance and taxation. 1801 saw him appointed secretary of the treasury under President Thomas Jefferson.
Among Gallatin’s adventures: He was close friends with the Marquis de Lafayette, played a role in the 1790s Whiskey Rebellion, arranged for the 1803 purchase of the Louisiana Territory, and financed the Lewis and Clark expedition and the National Road. When he died in 1849, he was the last surviving member of the Jefferson cabinet.
You can learn more about Gallatin’s life and times with a visit to his restored estate on a bluff high above the Monongahela River in Pennsylvania. A National Park Service national historic site since the 1970s, Friendship Hill can offer a lesson in early American politics or it can host a picnic on its handsome lawns or a hike on its 10 miles of wooded trails.