Keystone Town Markers --- A
Unique Look at Pennsylvania Towns and Their Histories
Throughout the various farmlands, mountains, valleys
and cities that constitutes the Commonwealth are time-worn markers that
present a brief and often overlooked in this modern era snapshot of the
villages, hamlets, and towns these markers introduce to the world.
Many of these steel embossed signs were erected during the 1920s through
possibly the 1950s. At first glance, these artifacts announce where
you are or what you are crossing. However, these guideposts present
more than just your physical location. They allow the inquisitive
traveler a look at some of Pennsylvania's best kept secrets. It now
appears that some communities are installing modern
replicas of these classic markers; I personally applaud the Commonwealth
and these communities for placing these 'new' signs showing pride within
This project will document these signs. But
more importantly, it will focus more on the secrets and treasures these
signs lead to. I've included a brief factual information on these
signs, an example of how the towns and signs will be listed, guidelines
for submissions and of course the photos and stories themselves.
Keystone Signs Background Information
There was actually some helpful information to
early motorists on these timeless artifacts. These townposts not
only gave information about what town you were in, why it is named such,
and when it was founded, but it also gave the distance to the next town
or the state line along that specific highway. Using a photo taken
by Bruce Cridlebaugh in Boston, I'll explain what each line means.
Elizabeth-7 (The next town, Elizabeth, is 7 miles.) BOSTON (The specific town or municipality) Named For:
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETS (Next who, what, where and why the town
got its name.) Founded 1886. (Self Explanatory)
The listings of photos on this site will be as follows:
by Bruce Cridlebaugh) Founded 1886. Named for Boston, Mass. See Treasures
Along The Trail for more. Any additional historical information,
anecdotes, etc. will also be added.
by Greg Halpin) Founded 1808. Named for John Arendt. Arendtsville
is located in the heart of the Adams County apple orchard country.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1873. Once named "Athensville", the name
change was initiated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Ardmore
is Gaelic for High Ground or Hills.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1800. Named after Dr. John Christian Baum.
by Mike Natale) Named 1819. Named after Zephiniah Beall.
Blood' is a well known Halloween Haunted Attraction.
by Doug Kerr) Founder 1778. Named after King Beaver of the Lenni-Lenape
Indian tribe. Lenni-Lenape
are known to us as the Delaware Indians and "Lenni-Lenape" means "true
man" or "common people".
SPRINGS(taken by David Slauenwhite) Originally called Reigertown,
it was changed to Beaver Springs by the Post Office.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1818. Washington County town named after Sheshbazzar
by Eric Lasher) Named after Judge Hugh
H. Brackenridge, known for securing the establishment of Allegheny
County and also worked on settling the Whiskey Rebellion in Southwest PA.
CREEK(taken by Kurt Heidel) This keystone is found on PA 63
between PA 113 and 563 near Bergey.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1741. Named for Peter Bricker.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1829. Named on account of port and building
by David Brunot) Founded 1822. Named after the Brockway family.
John Smith Brockway would purchase the land in 1821 at a treasurer's sale.
Brockway was known as Brockwayville
by David Brunot) Founded 1834. Named after nearby Bear Creek.
David was able to capture what is left of this marker before it sees its
by Denny Pine) Founded 1777. Village in Washington County.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1786. Named for Sebastian Burgett, whose
settlement in the area was considered a
by David Slauenwhite) Founded 17XX. This Bradford County Borough
is named after Burlington, Vermont.
by Ron Stafford) Founded 1860. Named for nearby Dixon Run.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1716. Formerly known as 'Milltown, name
was change in honor of Thomas
Downing, who developed a series of mills in the area during the late
Jim Carn) Founded 1844. Formerly known as Petersburg, the town
located on the west bank of the Susquehanna River is named after the Duncan
by Doug Kerr) Founded unknown. Named for Stephen Durell, a Hugenot
and restored by Jim Carn) Founded 1804. Originally named Lewis
Lake, it was renamed from "Lake of the Eagles." The historic
village is home to numerous inns, shops, and restaurants.
BERLIN(taken by Denny Pine) Founded 1784. Before the
Cold War, this East Berlin was formed and was named after the German Capital.
McKEESPORT(taken by Kevin Snyder) Founded Unknown. The
East End of McKeesport. McKeesport was named after the McKee Family.
What is interesting is where this keystone was found. This keystone
was found in Elk County.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1787. Named for John Finley.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1814. This Washington County town was
originally named Briceland's Cross Roads.
by Drew S.)
Settled 1763. Named because of nearby mills that
early settlers traveled to for flour. Flourtown is one of the four
villages that exist within Springfield Township, Montgomery County.
by Doug Kerr) Founded 1864. William Pentecost, who settled the
area, named it after the surroundings of a dense
SPRINGS(taken by Denny Pine) Founded 177X. Located in
Beaver County, this town was named after Frankford the locale near Philadelphia.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1817. Named after settler, Frederick Wise.
Located in Washington County.
by David Brunot) Founded 1853. Originally named Genesee
Forks, Genesee is named after the Genesee River.
by Mike Natale) Founded 1797. One of many communities named for
General George Washington.
by Dan Garnell) Founded 1780. Named after James Gettys, an early settler.
Site of a famous Civil War battle and National Cemetery. The official
town website provides excellent tourism and historical information.
by Mike Natale) Founded 1781. Tiny Greene County town named after
Nathaniel Greene was first named Delight. In 1790, Delight
became Greensburgh and by the mid-19th Century, Greensboro.
NURSERY(taken by Adam Prince) Established 1906. The former
Tree Nursery would be the predecessor to Greenwood Furnance State Park.
The nursery would operate from 1906 until 1993. Greenwood Furnace
State Park was established in 1925.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1903. Famous for chocolate, Hershey was
laid out by Milton S. Hershey
his model town.
by Denny Pine)
Founded 1797. The original name for this Washington
County Village was 'Hickory Tavern'.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1767. Named after George Hinkle.
by Doug Kerr) Founded 1799. Named for Daniel Holiday.
or HOLLSOPPLE(taken by Denny Pine) Founded 1880. Named
after Charles Hollsopple; however, the story of how the town was named
and the tale of the "dropped 'l'" appears to be slightly
controversial. Both spellings are used for and throughout the
by Denny Pine) Founded 17X7. Named after the Hook Family, early
pioneers of the area.
by David Slauenwhite)
Founded 1876. Named after Nathan L. Hoover,
by Greg Halpin)
Founded 1837. Named after Jacob Geiselman. This
sign is now placed over the entrance to the Goodwill Fire Company.
The sign would have originally been found on the North route of the Susquehanna
by Denny Pine) Founded 1776. Named after Thomas Jefferson.
This Jefferson is located in Greene County.
by David Slauenwhite) Founded 1812. Also, named after Thomas
Jefferson. The village uses the Codurus post office. One of
the many 'Jefferson's in the Commonwealth this is located in York County.
by Denny Pine)
Founded 1822. A modern version of the Keystone
sign for the town named after
Edward Jenner, who created the smallpox vaccine.
by David Brunot) Founded 1863. Named after Civil War
Thomas L. Kane, who was the state's first volunteer of the war and
organized the famed 'Bucktail Regiment'.
(taken by Doug Kerr)
Founded 1841. Named after pioneer land owner,
Peter A. Karthaus.
CREEK(taken by David Slauenwhite)
Photo taken on PA 287 in
Lycoming County. Larry's Creek runs through the town of Larryville
on its way to the Susquehanna River.
by David Brunot) Founded 1787. Named after Commodore James Lawrence
who served during the Revolution. He is not the same man whose famous words
Give up the Ship' made that Lawrence a hero of the War of 1812.
by Jeff Kitsko) Founded 1780. Named after pioneer, Robert Laughlin.
Compass Inn Museum is a restored 1799 Stagecoach Inn that sits along
the Lincoln Highway.
RAYSVILLE(taken by Doug Kerr) Founded 1798. Named after
Le Ray de Chaumont. Which is the castle of Jacques-Donatien Le Ray,
who was a French supporter of the American Revolution.
LEMOYNE(taken by Jim
Carn) Incorporated 1905. Formerly named Bridgeport
and later Riverton, Lemoyne sits across the Susquehanna from Harrisburg.
Lemoyne is named after french soldier/explorer, Charles Lemoyne.
by Greg Halpin) Founded 1734. Named after Eli Lewis. Lewisberry
is home of the Purple Door Festival,
a Christian Rock Festival held every August.
by Tim Reichard) Founded 1770. Originally named Derrstown, the Union
County town was renamed when Snyder County was formed out of Union County
in 1855. Lewisburg is the
home of Bucknell University.
LEXINGTON(taken by Doug
Kerr) Founded 1805. Originally named Dundee, the town was renamed to
Lexington in honor of the Revolutionary War Battle.
by Adam Prince)
Founded 1782. Originally called Union Forge,
the village changed its name to Lickdale in 1884 in honor of James Lick,
the famed piano maker who was born in nearby Fredericksburg.
by Adam Prince) Founded 1818. Named for Liverpool, England. Liverpool
was once an important town along the Pennsylvania Canal.
by Greg Halpin)
Founded 1820. Named after Colonel Henry Logan.
MOUNTAIN TRAIL(taken by Cheri Campbell) This keystone notes
that PA 246 is named the Looker Mountain Trail. The road is named
after John C. Looker (1855- 1938) who was a pioneer of Pennsylvania's early
by Kurt Heidel) Although the marker reads that it was named after the
Malvern Hills in Wales, it is incorrect the Malvern Hills are in Worcestershire,
is extremely small, the borough is only 1.3 square miles.
by David Brunot) Established
1893. The sign is not in the greatest shape; but it does show
that besides the nearest town the State Line was also noted in the distance
headed. The town was named after Squire Markley.
MARS(taken by Mike Natale)
Founded 1875. Named for the planet Mars. This Butler County
town is known for the martian
spacecraft within the town square!
by Greg Halpin) Founded 1740. Named after Manchester, England.
by Denny Pine) Founded 1798. Formerly Germantown, this Fayette
County town was later renamed in honor of John Mason.
and restored by Jim Carn) Founded 1790. Originally named Pine
Grove, it was renamed for Alex McEwen.
BLOOMFIELD(taken by David Slauenwhite)
Named after one of the early Penn Manors.
CENTREVILLE(taken by Adam Prince) Founded 1834. Named
due to location between Gephartsburg and New Lexington. Modern day
spelling is New Centerville
EAGLE(taken by Denny Pine) Founded 18XX. Named after
the American Eagle. The sign was relocated to a local Monongahela
Riverfront Park which flows in the background.
FLORENCE(taken by Jeff Kitsko)
Founded 1XXX. Named for
Firenze or Florence, Italy.
by Mike Natale)
Founded 1849. A free port of trading founded
by unknown. The sign, located in Greene County, has seen better days.
HOLLAND(taken by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1728. Formerly Earltown
and New Design. The New
Holland Band celebrated their 150th birthday in 2006.
OXFORD(taken by Doug Kerr) Founded 1782. The name of
the town comes from three parts, near a creek ford there was an old inn
with an ox head on its sign. The term 'New' came about in order to
distinguish itself from Oxford in Chester County. Today, it's known
as the antique capital
of Central Pennsylvania.
by Tim Reichard) Founded 1XXX. Located in the county that shares
the name, Northumberland is named after the British town. In the
early 1800's, the town was considered as the location
for the state Capitol.
by Adam Prince) Founded 1826. Originally named, Concord, the tiny village
is located on an old alignment of PA 18 in Washington County.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1801. Named after Oxford, England.
In 2004, Oxford celebrated 250 years of existance after it was formed out
of Londonderry Township in November
by Denny Pine) Founded 1749. Originally named Palmtown, almyra
is named after Dr. John Palm, who is conisdered as the town's
by Denny Pine)
Founded 1822. Named after George Pancake, town
PATTERSON HEIGHTS(taken by Mike Natale) Founded 1895. Named for James Patterson,
an early settler.
by Tim Reichard)
Founded 1769. Named after the Swanee Indian Chief.
PENBROOK(taken by Jim
Carn) Incorporated 1894. Formerly named East Harrisburg.
CREEK(taken by Adam Prince) Photo taken along PA 104 in Penns
Creek. Penns Creek
is a tributary of the Susquehanna River and is the focal point of Penns
Valley. The creek is well known for its trout
fishing and other recreation activities.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1790. Named for Philip Roth, early settler
and tavern keeper. Formerly Rabbit Hill.
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1770. From the Indian word meaning "A
SCENERY HILL (taken
by Mike Natale)
Founded 1785. Originally named 'Hillsborough'
this Washington County village sits along the National
by Brian Reynolds) Founded 1756. Named for George Schwenk, early
settler. Schwenksville was
Pennsylvania's first greenway community.
by Doug Kerr) Founded 1772. Named for Shohola Creek Indian Tribe.
Shohola means "Place of Peace".
by Doug Kerr)
Named for the Short Family who were pioneers.
by David Brunot) Founded 1865. This the first known modern replica
of a PA Keystone. Sigel was named for General
Franz Sigel, a German immigrant who served during the Civil War.
LICK(taken by Denny Pine) Founded 1855. Deer would gather
here to lick the salt off the slate rocks.
by Jon Dawson) Founded 1827. Named for Rev. John G. Schmick,
a well known clergyman. Parts of the tiny town were permanently
lost after the construction of the Mahoning Creek Dam in the 1940s.
WILLIAMSPORT(taken by David Slauenwhite) Founded 1886.
Simply named because it was located on the shores of the Susquehanna south
of Williamsport. Exists as a separate
community from Williamsport.
CITY(taken by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1850. Named for the
numerous springs within the area, the town was originally called 'Springville',
but changed in 1872
when it was learned another town was called Springville.
GROVE(taken by Greg Halpin) Founded 1747. Named for the
springs in the area located near large groves. Currently, Spring
Grove is home of the huge P.H.Glatfelter paper mill.
VIEW(taken by Adam Prince) This is located at a scenic view
along Old US 220 near Sonestown. Wright's
View is named after former Secretary of Highways, P.D. Wright.
(taken by Denny Pine) Founded 1732. Named after first settler,
by Kurt Heidel) Settled 1691. Named for Thomas
Wynne, physician to William Penn and first speaker of the first Pennsylvania
by Doug Kerr)
Founded 1773. From the Indian Wisachgimi meaning "Place
of Grapes." Wysox is where French
exiles loyal to Louis XVI built a safe
haven for themselves and Marie Antionette. Antionette never made
it as she was captured and executed before making it to Pennsylvania.
by Doug Kerr) Founded 1682. Settled by the Yardley Family and
site of Yardley's Ferry and Mill. Ferry
service connected Yardley, PA to Ewing, NJ until May 1, 1876.
by Kurt Heidel) A different notation as the sign reads 'Entering YEADON
Yeadon is named
after William Bullock's, an early settler, estate Yeadon Manor. Yeadon,
England was Bullock's home. Yeadon incorporated from Darby Township
in 1893. Yeadon is also the home of Betsy Ross and Flag Day.
by Greg Halpin) Founded 1741. Named after York, England.
York served as the
of the United States for nearly a year in 1777-78 when the Continental
Congress fled here from Philadelphia.
HAVEN(taken by Greg Halpin) Founded 1814. An important
transportation point along the Susquehanna River.
NEW SALEM(taken by Greg Halpin) Founded 1876. Originally
named New Salem, 'York' was added to prevent confusion with a second New
Salem in Pennsylvaina located in Fayette County.
SPRINGS(taken by Doug Kerr ) Founded 1808. Named after
local mineral springs.
RIVER(taken by Bruce Cridlebaugh) Photo taken on PA 48 in Boston.
River known for whitewater rafting, fishing, and adjacent bike
by Jeff Kitsko) Founded 1830. Named after the Young Family which
by Kurt Heidel) Founded 1804. Named for Andrew Ziegler.
The Keystone Town Markers Project purpose is to
take a unique look at Pennsylvania towns through the gateway of antique
Pennsylvania Highway Keystones. Your help is enthusiastically encouraged.
Photos, links, corrections, and anecdotes are all accepted. Photos
should focus on the sign and if possible the surroundings. Extreme
close-ups are not necessary; however, the context should be readable.
Photos are subjected to be resized to fit the needs of this project.
If you are interested in helping out, I can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your enjoyment and support!
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