By Benjamin Mikek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Latrobe is known to many Western Pennsylvanians as the onetime home of Fred Rogers, Arnold Palmer and Rolling Rock beer, all noted by Smithsonian magazine, which recently listed the city as one of America’s “20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018.”
The magazine acknowledged some of Latrobe’s other historic credits and present-day assets, from the 1904 invention of the banana split in a local drugstore to the annual Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College.
Its hometown heroes and special features, including a regional airport, have helped the Westmoreland County city of about 8,000 residents survive the kind of industrial decline that has ravaged many other parts of the region more severely. Development projects oriented around the arts, education and a downtown revitalization program are among local improvements in recent years.