History of Reynoldsville
Chapter V - Recent


Secret Societies. About 1865 the first secret society was organized in Winslow township. It was a lodge of Good Templara The order met in Prescottville near the flour mill and was formed by people from Brookville. The fraternity existed for about two years and a half and then died for lack of support. There are now about 30 secret societies in Reynoldsville and Winslow township. The Utopia Club, of Reynoldsville, composed of women, was organized March 1, 1891, and is the oldest woman's club in this part of the State.

Newspapers. City daily papers were first received here by mail about the Civil War time, but they were not sold on Reynoldsville streets until 1873 after the opening of railroad communication to Pittsburgh. The first newspaper published in this place, The Advocate, was first issued May 16, 1872. It existed six months and was suspended. In 1874 The Reynolds Herald was started. The office was burned during the big fire August 25, 1875. It passed into other hands. A new outfit was bought and in 1877 its name was changed, to The Herald and Star. Honorable William O. Smith, now editor of The Punxsutawney Spirit, and ex-Congressman from this district, worked on it. That year The Reynoldsville Daily Herald was issued and existed about four months. It had four pages and three columns to the page. The columns were about 12 inches long. May 16, 1878, the name of The Herald was again changed and it was thereafter known as The Eye for a time. Then it was called The Reynolds Herald. In 1880 it was changed to Our Reynoldsville Paper. In 1881 it was The Reynoldsville Paper. April 16, 1889, the name was changed to The Volunteer. James W. Stevenson, of Winslow township, worked on it that year. He was afterwards Bridge Commissioner of New York city (1906-1910) and as such was In the Mayor's cabinet. The paper was last issued October 27, 1917, when it was suspended.

May 11, 1892, The Star was first issued.

In June, 1908, The Falls Creek Herald was moved here and June 26th it appeared as The Reynoldsville Herald. The first typesetting machine in town, a Mergenthaler, came with the office. February 12" 1909, the paper was suspended and the plant was soon moved back to Falls Creek.

Reynoldsville and West Reynoldsville Boroughs. Formerly the business center of the town was in the vicinity of that is now Main and 10th Streets. In 1865 there were about 20 buildings in the place. The Reynolds Hotel, located on what is now the northwest comer of Main and Third Streets, and a barn nearby, were all there was on what is now Main between Eighth Street and the present borough line at the west. In about 1872 when it was certain that the railroad would be built through here, and for several years after, the main part of town moved westward, bringing with it the business centre, the schools, the churches and the post office.

Reynoldsville borough was erected September 11, 1873, having been formed from Winslow township . It had a population of about 600 at that time. The first officers were elected at a special election held October 21, 1873.

The first meeting of the first council was held November 11, 1873, in the dining room of the St. Charles Hotel (afterwards burned) located on the southwest corner of Main and Sixth Streets.

The plot or draft of the borough made by James Caldwell, of Brookville, was April 16, 1874, declared by the council the officially defined public streets and alleys of the borough. All opened since have been done by special ordinance.

Additions East of the Sandy Lick Creek. The David Reynolds addition lies between Main Street and the northeast borough line and between the Sandy Lick Creek at the northwest, and at the east by the old north and south line crossing Main Street at Seventh, following it to where it crosses Fifth Street above Grant, then up Fifth to the northeast borough line.

The section south of Main Street and between the Sandy Lick Creek and Seventh Street is the Albert Reynolds addition.

The VanVliet addition lies between Main Street and the northeast borough line, and between the old north and south line where it runs across Main Street at Seventh to Fifth Street above Grant, then up Fifth Street to the northeast borough line, and at the east by Eighth Street.

The section between Seventh and Eighth Streets and between Main and a short distance south of Jackson Street is the Russ and Reichards addition.

The Rhodes addition lies east of Eighth Street for nearly a block, and from the northeast borough line southwest to near Main Street.

The Schultz addition lies south and east of the Soldier Run and the Sandy Lick Creek to the south borough line, and west of 10th Street.

The Thomas Reynolds addition includes all of the eastern part of the borough not included in the aforementioned plots. Additions west of the Sandy Lick Creek.

All lands between the west borough line and the Sandy Lick Creek and east of the railroad cut is Industrial Hill.

South of West Main Street is The Central Land & Mining Company addition.

The David Reynolds addition is bounded on the north by a line just north of Baxter Street, east of the Sandy Lick Creek, south by West Main Street and west by the railroad.

A triangular piece consisting of a few acres northeast of West Main Street and west of Broadway is the Prescott addition.

The remaining part of the borough west of the creek is The Powers-Brown Company addition.

Most of the ordinances were passed by the council soon after the organization of the borough.

In 1885 all former ordinances being considered unsatisfactory by action of the council were repealed and ordinances from Number One to Number 19, inclusive, were passed.

In 1892 an ordinance was created establishing fire limits prohibiting the erection of wooden buildings on Main, between Third Street east to Coal Alley which is between Fifth and Sixth Streets.

About 1898 property owners began tearing down their fences in the borough compelling persons owning cows and pigs to prevent their running at large. It caused much discussion for a time.

In 1898 an ordinance was passed preventing further erection of wooden awnings and swinging signs over the sidewalks and requiring those already standing to be torn down when not in a safe condition. That ordinance resulted in making a radical change in the appearance of the business part of West Main Street, for previously the sidewalks in front of the stores on both sides, through all of the business part were practically roofed over.

In 1904 an ordinance was enacted prohibiting further building of wooden sidewalks. Once these walks were prevalent on account of their cheapness, but brick and concrete having become quite as inexpensive and much more lasting, are now used. The ordinance was enforced without difficulty.

The first policeman was employed by the borough In 1875 and was paid for each arrest. In 1887 the borough hired one on a salary whose beat was lower Main Street. The business men paid half of the expense and the borough the remainder. Part of the time since then Reynoldsville has had no salaried police. March 8, 1904, the municipality began hiring two, one by day and one by night.

September 23, -1893, the borough of West Reynoldsville was erected, having been formed from Winslow township. The area was 120 acres. The first officers were elected at a special election held October 12, 1893.

The first meeting of the first council was held in the West Reynoldsville schoolhouse (since burned) Tuesday evening, October 18, 1898.

The town was laid out about 1872 by The Ohio Coal Company who owned most of the land. Soon lots were sold and the locality became known as Ohiotown. In about 1878 the company sold all of its property here and elsewhere to The Powers-Brown Coal Company. The name of the place was changed to West Reynoldsville when it became a borough.

An election was held April 28, 1914, when the voters of the two municipalities consented to West Reynoldsville becoming a part of Reynoldsville borough. May 25th following the governor signed the letters patent consolidating them. It then became the Third ward.

Telegraph and Telephone Lines. The first telegraph message was received in Reynoldsville in 1873 at about the time of the completion of the Allegheny Valley Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad which took possession later, now has four telegraph lines running through here. Formerly The Western Union Telegraph Company owned nine lines passing by Reynoldsville including a trunk line from New York to Chicago, strung in 1893. In 1903 there arose a dispute between the railroad and telegraph companies concerning the contract by which the latter's poles occupied the railroad company's right-of-way. After some litigation the railroad company cut down all of the telegraph poles and wires of the telegraph company on the railroad right-of-way, including those in Winslow township, destroying, in all, nearly $1,000,000 worth of the telegraph company's property here and elsewhere.

The first telephone line established in this region was in Winslow township in 1882. It belonged to The Powers-Brown Coal Company and connected their office at Soldier Run Mine in Prescottville with the Sprague Mine in Rathmel, both operations being owned by them. The next year, 1883, they moved their office to the south side of Main about 76 feet west of Fifth Street, extended their lines there and installed the first telephone in Reynoldsville. It was further enlarged as the property was sold to new companies, until now it is the private system of The Jefferson & Clearfield Coal & --- Company and extends from Reynoldsville to all their mines.

In August, 1891, The Central District Printing & Telegraph Company, of Pittsburgh, better known as The Bell Telephone System, established the DuBois district which includes Jefferson and a part of Clearfield counties with exchanges at Reynoldsville and other points. Trunk lines connect Reynoldsville, DuBois, Brookville and Punxsutawney. In May, 1906, Reynoldsville was cabled, that is, the private wires were put into a single cable.

The Summerville Telephone Company, known as the Independent Company, was chartered May 6, 1896. It strung wires to Reynoldsville in 1897. The company ran lines from Summerville through Brookville and Reynoldsville to Punxsutawney and DuBois. It established exchanges in the larger towns, and is connected with the lines of the neighboring independent companies. Reynoldsville was cabled in 1913. In 1914 the company was sold to The Huntingdon & Clearfield Telephone Company.

The Red Bank Telephone Company was organized in 1903 and strung wires In Jefferson and Clarion counties, and in 1907 opened an exchange in Reynoldsville. It is known as the Farmers' Telephone Company.

Finance. The first deposit bank in Reynoldsville was Oyster & Company, and was established in 1874 and closed in 1876.

The F. K. Arnold & Company Deposit Bank, established in 1874, was sold in 1883 to I. C. Fuller & Brother.

The Arnold & Seeley Deposit Bank, established in 1883, was changed in 1884 to The Seeley, Alexander & Company Deposit Bank. I. C. Fuller & Brother sold to Seeley, Alexander & Company in 1885.

The F. K. Arnold & Company Deposit Bank was established in 1890 and was sold to The Seeley, Alexander & Company Deposit Bank in 1892.

In 1905 The People's National Bank was formed from The Seeley, Alexander & Company Deposit Bank.

In 1893 The First National Bank was incorporated.

In 1905 The Reynoldsville Trust Company was started.

The Citizens' National Bank was formed from The Reynoldsville Trust Company in 1906, and was merged with The Peoples' National Bank in 1918.

The Reynoldsville Building and Loan Association was organized February 11, 1890. The first series was opened in the following April.

Fire and Water. Reynoldsville has suffered from several large free in addition to many small ones though large ones are less frequent now than previous to the institution of proper fire protection in 1888. The conflagration to which the most people in Reynoldsville suffered occurred Sunday August 26, 1875. It began very soon after midnight and continued until about four o'clock that morning and 21 business places were burned. The loss was almost $100,000 and the insurance was $42,000. The fire began on the south side of Main midway between Fourth Street and Swamp Alley. It swept eastward to a building just across Swamp Alley, and westward to near the corner of Main and Fourth Streets, going no further on account of a vacant lot. Crossing over it burned on the north side of the street from the vacant lot at the corner of Main and Fourth to the corner of Main and Fifth Street. The heat became so intense that men could not get near enough to use buckets of water and were obliged to keep away and let it burn. The next morning the hill just east of Cold Spring Hollow outside of the borough limits and a mile east from the fire, was found covered with burning shingles carried there by the wind.

At two o'clock, a. m. October 12, 1876, a fire started which destroyed all of the buildings on the north side of Main from Third to Fourth Streets, with the exception of a building on each corner.

On the morning of July 20, 1893, the Reynoldsville woolen mill, located near the west bank of the Sandy Lick Creek several hundred feet above Main Street bridge was burned. Loss $55,000, Insurance $9,000. The building was wood and was erected in 1878.

On the evening of December 13, 1893, the tannery to the western part of town was burned. It had been built in 1881. Lose including the stock of leather destroyed, was about $160,000, covered by Insurance. It was the most expensive fire that ever occurred in Reynoldsville. The buildings were reconstructed and July 14, 1895, the rocker room and part of the dry loft of the same plant were burned. Lose about $25,000. Well insured.

About 11 o'clock, p. m., October 12, 1901, fire broke out on the south side of Main midway between Fourth Street and Pine Alley. It burned east to within one building of Fourth Street and west to half way between Pine Alley and Third Street.

March 28, 1919, at about 3 o'clock, p. m., fire started in the asbestos manufacturing plant on the northeast corner of Mable Street and Swamp Alley between Fourth and Fifth Streets, and the rubber department was destroyed. Loss nearly$30,000. Well insured.

An imperfectly organized fire company with buckets and ladders came Into existence in 1875. In 1877 two chemical fire extinguishers were purchased by the borough and two fire companies were organized. In 1888, after the water plant had been construct--d the companies were reorganized and a large amount of hose and other suitable equipment were bought. The companies are now known as The East End Fire Company and The Hope Fire Company. In 1893 The West Reynoldsville Hose Company was organized. The name was since changed to The Citizens' Hose Company.

In September, 1888, The Reynoldsville Water Company was chartered. The stock in the company was $12,000. Three miles of main pipe was laid at first which had been increased to 10. The property was purchased by the Reynoldsville borough, which took possession In February, 1919, for $89,000. Most of the water is from Pitch Pine Run a short distance north of the borough line at Fifth Street. The water is pumped into a tank on top of the hill, at the south, giving a pressure in the pipes on lower Main Street of 115 pounds to the square inch. The force is sufficient to throw a single stream from a one-half inch nozzle over any building on the highest point in the borough without the assistance of a steamer. At a number of fires several large streams have been thrown at once for a long time without appearing to diminish either the force or supply.

SOURCE:  Pages 79-85, History of Reynoldsville and Vicinity Including Winslow Township by Ward C. Elliott. Punxsutawney, Spirit Publishing Company, 1922


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(c) Jefferson County Genealogy Project


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