If you’re looking for information about Yellow Dog Village, Pennsylvania’s best ghost town, you’re in the right place!
Yellow Dog Village is a former mining company town dating back to the early 1900s that now serves as a time capsule and tourist attraction in Armstrong County, PA.
Unlike many so-called “ghost towns” that amount to little more than a sign and the remnants of a few foundations, Yellow Dog Village is a collection of 26 buildings and a park where people lived and played for nearly 100 years.
The History of Yellow Dog Village
Yellow Dog Village was built by the Pittsburgh Limestone Company for its workers in rural Armstrong County.
Workers who resided in the village promised not to unionize or strike, and were labeled as “yellow dogs” by pro-union miners.
But rather than chafe at the criticism from union miners, the workers who lived here embraced the insult, and called their home Yellow Dog Village in response.
After the mines closed in the 1950s, the village was renamed Shadyside Village, and many of the miners found other work in the area and continued to reside here.
Residents of Shadyside Village started getting sick in the early 2000s, and in 2009 residents were forced to leave after it was determined that the village’s water supply was contaminated with E. Coli bacteria.
The village sat abandoned for a few years, leading to the inevitable vandalism and environmental damage to set in.
In 2014 a former history teacher purchased the entire village, with the aim of turning it into a living history museum representing life in a company town 100 years ago.
Those plans did not come to fruition, and the village changed hands yet again.
The current owner, whom I had the pleasure of touring the village with in March 2023, has a slightly different vision for Yellow Dog Village.
The new plan is to rehabilitate some of the homes to turn them into vacation rentals, while preserving others and returning them to their early 1900s appearance.
Of course renovations cost money, and to help generate some of those funds, Yellow Dog Village is now open for paid tours and photo excursions.
Appealing to both history buffs and “urban explorers”, I’ll provide you with a link to book your own tour of Yellow Dog Village at the end of this article.
What You’ll See at Yellow Dog Village
The 32-acre property lies along the eastern slope of Buffalo Creek, a tributary of the Allegheny River.
At the top of the hill sits the former mine manager’s house, which is where the current owner has taken up residence.
A former boarding house also sits near the top of the hill, just east of the mine manager’s house.
A small barn/stable stands on the southeastern corner of the property.
Downhill from these three structure sit four rows of homes, a combination of duplexes and single-family homes.
All but a few of the homes are open to visitors; those few that aren’t are closed because the roofs are too far gone to safely enter them.
Even the homes that are open require caution while you explore them (and yes – you have so sign a waiver before touring them).
Because many of the last residents of Yellow Dog Village left in a hurry once it was discovered that the water was contaminated, you’ll find a variety of personal effects inside the homes.
Some of the homes were abandoned in the 1980s, with former residents leaving behind murals of the era.
While other homes are virtual time capsules of the early 2000s.
The equivalent of electronic dinosaurs are present throughout the village.
The basements of several homes contain the original pantries from when the homes were first built.
Outside you’ll find crumbling streets, moss-covered roofs, and vegetation growing wild.
At the bottom of the hill next to Buffalo Creek, you’ll find the remains of the village park.
A playground and a baseball field are now being slowly reabsorbed by the Earth.
No matter where you go, the ghosts of Yellow Dog Village’s past never seem to be far away.
Touring Yellow Dog Village
As mentioned previously, paid tours of Yellow Dog Village are now available several times a month, with the proceeds being used to help repair some of the homes.
You can check out the tour schedule and book a visit on the Yellow Dog Village Facebook page.
The price to tour Yellow Dog Village is $30 per person, and as mentioned you DO have to sign a waiver and it is EXPLORE AT YOUR OWN RISK!
But when it comes to historical significance and sheer wow factor, Yellow Dog Village may be the most complete ghost town in Pennsylvania!
Concrete City is another Pennsylvania ghost town, once considered to be a “community of the future” due to its unique concrete construction.
33 Abandoned Places in PA You Can Legally Explore is your guide to some of Pennsylvania’s best abandoned prisons, tunnels, highways, and factories.
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