The Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution of Allegheny County was incorporated in 1892 in order to accept the donation of the Fort Pitt Block House from Mary Schenley. The mission of the Fort Pitt Society is to preserve and protect this valuable historic structure which had been used as a residence for the previous 100 years. Following a 16-month restoration, the Block House was opened as a museum and historical site. By 1902, the structure faced possible demolition to make way for the construction of warehouses and railway terminals. The Fort Pitt Society stood up to the Pennsylvania Railroad and powerful industrialists such as Henry Clay Frick to save the Block House and keep it in its original location. They even went so far as to have a Pennsylvania state law passed protecting the Block House and other colonial structures from eminent domain in 1907.
Since their founding more than 100 years ago, the Fort Pitt Society has been steadfast in upholding their mission. The Fort Pitt Society is made up of the membership of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The ten member board is selected from the larger Pittsburgh Chapter membership. Both the DAR and the Fort Pitt Society are all female, all volunteer organizations. The Fort Pitt Society, as owners and operators of the Block House, is responsible for management of the facility, preservation and maintenance of the structure and grounds as well as the financial oversight, including fund raising and investments. It is important to note that the Block House receives no state or federal funding and never has throughout its history.
The Fort Pitt Society continues to be recognized for its efforts in actively taking care of Pittsburgh’s oldest architectural landmark. The current membership of the Fort Pitt Society was honored as one of 47 recipients of the 2013 Jefferson Awards for community and public service at a reception held on May 6, 2014, at Heinz Field. Each recipient received a two-inch bronze Jefferson Award medallion, commissioned by the Franklin Mint. Sponsored locally by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Highmark, and BNY Mellon, The Jefferson Awards were originally started by former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard in 1972 as a “Nobel Prize” for public and community service, honoring those Americans who perform outstanding public service and inspire others to follow their example.