Exerpts from an article in the Clearfield Progress
Submitted by Gloria (Maines) Gloss
From farmland Kerr Addition grew into a development that became a community of coal miners, railroad workers and brick workers, according to residents.
The Kerr Addition to Clearfield was developed by Frederick Kerr of Clearfield in late 1914. It's Phase one of 131 lots and a park was accepted by Clearfield County in January 1915, according to a subdivision map of the community at the county's registrar and recorders office.
Most likely then Kerr Addition to Clearfield was expected to be annexed by Clearfield Borough, remembers Emily Chase Weaver, grand-daughter of Mr. Kerr.
The development stands across the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and faces the railroad yard, the Harbison-Walker brick yard and Clearfield's East End.
Harbison-Walker was a later addition. Before it, stood the Clearfield Novelty Works that manufactured children's toys and sleds, and the Banta Refrigerator Co., both started by James Kerr, Frederick Kerr's father.
Although some may have thought Kerr Addition would join the East End, it didn't happen. Kerr Addition remains part of Lawrence Township.
When developed it consisted of three avenues running parallel to the river, River Avenue, Kerr Avenue and Mapes Avenue. Those were intersected by Palmer, Patton, Owens and Good Street.
Most streets were name for different friends and associates of the Kerr family with the exception of Owens. That was named for the family that lived on the property before subdivision was made.
While most names have been lost, Patton Street was named for Mr. Kerr's father's railroad business associate, Alexander E. Patton of Curwensville. Mr. Patton and Mr. Kerr were credited for generating the interest in a rail extension of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad from DuBois to Clearfield in 1893; the extension of the Beech Creek Railroad from Kerrmoor to Patton and elsewhere.
Today the development extends six more streets along "the hollow," as residents call the land along Muddy Run from Owens Street to Bowman Hill.
Palmer Street was also renamed Lippert Street in memory of a longtime and active resident, William Lippert.
The development is located along River Road on a former Moore farm between another small community, Sheep Rocks, and the Clearfield County Vocational-Technical School and K-Mart Plaza. The school is located on another Moore farm where Kerr Addition residents had a baseball diamond.
Kerr Addition children attended school at the community building along Owens Street. The structure still stands and playground equipment was installed years ago by the Lawrence Township Supervisors.
"Sheep Rocks", said 79 year old resident, Jim McBride, "was the name locals gave to the rock-ledge area where a farmer name Roy Smith grazed his sheep." It is difficult to tell where Sheep Rocks ends and Kerr Addition begins while traveling through the area, but Kerr Addition resident Grace Leigey agrees with Mr. McBride: Sheep Rocks runs from the High Level Road to the Kerr Addition United Methodist Church.
Below the church once stood three rows of company houses, Mr. McBride said. The houses extended from the Aquarius Pet Shop to Sheep Rocks. Workers of the Old River Coal Co., lived there The coal they mined from three shafts at Kerr Addition was sent from the tipple by a bucket line that reached over the river and dropped off coal at the railroad yard.
While most row houses still stand, they have been purchased by persons who have since added individual touches to the structures. The coal company was owned by two Clearfield attorneys, Walter Walsh and Ed Kelly.
"Kerr Addition has grown over the years," said Sheep Rocks resident Wilford Beach, 82
Railroad workers would take building materials from the boxcars to build their homes until something more permanent could be arranged, he said. The workers would ferry the scrap lumber on boats from Clearfield to Kerr Addition. Across the river there was a huge railroad, as large as Altoona's is now. It had a round house and everything. Besides working for Harbison-Walker, the railroad and the mines, residents also worked at the Patterson brick yard in Plymptonville. It later became Glen-Gery, Mr. Beach said, and the remaining structures were just torn down.
"Kerr Addition had its growing pains just like Hyde City," said Mr. Beach. They both grew apart from Clearfield. Now Lawrence Township has more industry than the borough. He said that it's the township now that's growing. But today Kerr Addition and Sheep Rocks are bedroom communities for Clearfield and the surrounding areas.
"Kerr is a nice neighborhood," said Sherm Bowman, whose grandfather Oaks Bowman lived on Bowman Hill and is reached by Owens Street. "the lots are 40 by 150 by majority of which most everyone has two".
City water reached the area in 1945-46, both Mr. Beach and Mr. McBride recall. The water line went through the property Mr. Beach lives on. Before that people relied on spring and well water, but those are gone, Mr. Beach said.
Pat Bowman, Mr. Bowman's wife, said the neighborhood has changed since she and her husband moved there in 1967. When they moved to Good Street, they were one of the youngest families in the area. Now they are among the few long-time residents. Younger families are moving into the homes and trailers there.
Mrs. Leigey agrees with that observation. She lived away from the area four of her 73 years. "I wouldn't live anywhere else,: she said. "I've been here so long. It's built up considerably with trailers. There aren't too many pieces of ground left. I've always liked it here. I'm not afraid and there seem to be a good bunch of kids living here now."
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Surnames of Present and Past Residents of Kerr Addition
Harry and Clara (Best) Buck - farmer (among the first residents)
Sven Rodeen - farmer
Leathy (Buck) Rodeen, daughter of Harry and Clara Buck, wife of Sven Rodeen
Daniel and Edna (Buck) McCracken, daughter of Harry & Clara Buck and son of Charles & Mary (Coder) McCracken. Daniel was a great-great-great-grandson of James McCracken, Sr.
Oswald and Ruth (Buck) Maines, son of David & Sarah (Ogden) Maines and daughter of Alfred & Sara (Doney) Maines
Al and Annie Hubler, later moved to Florida
Jack & Catherine Zebrun
Max Raymond and family
Warren & Elva Bowman
Other surnames include:
Contributed by Gloria Gloss for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/~clearfield/)
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