The park is named for the Shawnee American Indians who migrated from the Potomac to the Ohio Country. During the early 1750s, a Shawnee village known as “Shawanese Cabbins” was located just south of Schellsburg.
General Forbes camped his army within the boundaries of the park while marching the Forbes Road in the campaign of 1758 against the French at Fort Duquesne, Pittsburgh. The rear guard of the army was commanded by George Washington, who slept here on October 15, 1758. One can still walk remnants of the Forbes Trail within the park.
The white barn, buildings, and houses now surrounded by a lake were once surrounded by a sea of grass. These buildings belonged to John Bowman’s “Water Brooks Farm.” Bowman was president and chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh and was the driving force behind the building of the Cathedral of Learning.