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It’s a beautiful day in Pennsylvania on Mister Rogers’ trail

  • FILE - This June 28, 1989, file photo, shows Fred Rogers as he rehearses the opening of his PBS show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" during a taping in Pittsburgh. A new Fred Rogers Trail promoted by VisitPA.com includes museums, memorials and other sites. This year marks the 50th anniversary of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and a new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has helped rekindle interest in his legacy. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) Gene J. Puskar

  • FILE - This Sept. 4, 2015, file photo, shows a statue of Mr. Fred Rogers at the Mr. Rogers Memorial on the Northside of Pittsburgh. A new Fred Rogers Trail promoted by VisitPA.com includes the sculpture along with museums and other sites. This year marks the 50th anniversary of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and a new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has helped rekindle interest in his legacy.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) Gene J. Puskar

  • This undated image provided by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh shows puppets from the old PBS children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" on display at the museum. The museum is part of the Fred Rogers Trail being promoted by Pennsylvania tourism officials on the 50th anniversary of the show's 1968 launch. A new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has also rekindled interest in the legacy of the show's host, Fred Rogers. (Children's Museum of Pittsburgh via AP)

  • This image provided by the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh shows a set from the old PBS children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," including a model of host Fred Rogers tying his trademark sneakers as he did at the start of every episode. The Heinz History Center is part of the Fred Rogers Trail being promoted by Pennsylvania tourism officials on the 50th anniversary of the show's 1968 launch. A new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has also rekindled interest in Rogers' legacy. (Senator John Heinz History Center via AP)

  • This undated image provided by the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh shows sneakers worn by Fred Rogers, host of the old PBS children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." The shoes are among a number of items from the show on display at the museum. The museum is part of the Fred Rogers Trail being promoted by Pennsylvania tourism officials on the 50th anniversary of the show's 1968 launch. A new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has also rekindled interest in Rogers' legacy. (Children's Museum of Pittsburgh via AP)

  • This image provided by the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh shows props and sets from the old PBS children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," including a model of host Fred Rogers tying his trademark sneakers as he did at the start of every episode. The Heinz History Center is part of the Fred Rogers Trail being promoted by Pennsylvania tourism officials on the 50th anniversary of the show's 1968 launch. A new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has also rekindled interest in Rogers' legacy. (Senator John Heinz History Center via AP)

  • This image released by Focus Features shows Fred Rogers on the set of his show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" from the film, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?." A new Fred Rogers Trail promoted by VisitPA.com includes museums, memorials and other sites. This year marks the 50th anniversary of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and the new documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has helped rekindle interest in his legacy. (Jim Judkis/Focus Features via AP) Jim Judkis

  • FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2009, file photo, people attending the dedication applaud the unveiling of the statue of the late Fred Rogers of the PBS television program "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," in Pittsburgh. The statue by renowned sculptor Robert Berks depicts the children's television pioneer changing his shoes as he had done in the beginning of his show. A new Fred Rogers Trail promoted by VisitPA.com includes the sculpture along with museums and other sites. This year marks the 50th anniversary of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" and a new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has helped rekindle interest in his legacy. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File) Keith Srakocic

  • This photo provided by the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau shows a marker memorializing Fred Rogers, host of the old PBS children's television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" in his hometown of Latrobe, Pa. The marker is in James H. Rogers Memorial Park, named for Fred Rogers' father. Latrobe is about 40 miles from Pittsburgh, where the show was filmed. Both cities are on the Fred Rogers Trail being promoted by Pennsylvania tourism. This year marks 50 years since "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" first aired. A new documentary called "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" has rekindled interest in Rogers' legacy. (Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau via AP)



Associated Press
Thursday, July 12, 2018

It’s a beautiful day in Mister Rogers’ neighborhood! But if you want to visit, you’ll have to head to Pennsylvania.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the classic PBS children’s television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, hosted by the late Fred Rogers. A new documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? has helped rekindle interest in his legacy.

Those who grew up watching the show, which aired from 1968 to 2001, along with fans of the new film, may want to plan a trip on Pennsylvania’s Fred Rogers Trail.

The trail, promoted by VisitPA.com, comes with an invitation to “lace up your tennis shoes” and “zip up your cardigan,” just like Mister Rogers did in the introduction to every episode. The three-day itinerary ranges from Pittsburgh, where the show was produced, to Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, about 40 miles away, including museums, memorials, and his childhood home and church.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor has grossed $12.4 million in five weeks, making it the year’s biggest documentary at the box office. Its portrait of Rogers as a gentle man who preached kindness and tolerance as an antidote to the turbulence of the late 20th century seems to have struck a chord with viewers lamenting the harshness of politics and pop culture today.

In Pittsburgh, the Senator John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., hosts a permanent display called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that includes the entryway and living room set that Rogers walked through at the start of each episode, along with props from the show like King Friday XIII’s castle and Mr. McFeely’s “speedy delivery” tricycle.

At the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh at 10 Children’s Way, original puppets from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood are on display (King Friday XIII, Queen Sarah Saturday and Henrietta Pussycat and more) along with Mister Rogers’ sweater and a pair of his sneakers.

A bronze statue of Rogers at a waterfront memorial on the Ohio River, on Pittsburgh’s North Shore Drive, depicts him tying his sneakers as he did at the start of every show. The building housing WQED studios, where the show was filmed at 4802 Fifth Ave., is a popular selfie spot.

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the Idlewild & SoakZone amusement park in Ligonier is home to Daniel Tigers’ Neighborhood, a ride themed on the trolley that was a beloved feature of the show. Daniel Striped Tiger, a character on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, later got his own animated series. Driving from Idlewild to Latrobe on Route 30, a sign on an overhead bridge quotes the song Rogers sang on every episode: “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”

Once in Latrobe, stops include a sculpture of him at 200 Main St. and an exhibit open Monday-Friday at Saint Vincent College. You can also see the exterior of the house, 705 Main St., where he was born, and the home where he was raised, 737 Weldon St. (both homes are privately owned and not open to the public). An ordained minister, Rogers attended the Latrobe Presbyterian Church, 428 Main St. He’s buried at Unity Cemetery, 114 Chapel Lane. At 200 Main St., you’ll find a statue of him. There’s also a historical marker about him and the show in Latrobe’s James H. Rogers Memorial Park, named for his father.

After all that sightseeing, relax at Buttermilk Falls in New Florence, once owned by Rogers’ grandfather, where you’ll find a waterfall, hiking trails and picnic area.

Fans get another chance to dive into the Mister Rogers’ story next year when a new movie about him hits theaters. It’s called You Are My Friend, starring Tom Hanks.