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Littlestown Borough

Borough municipal offices are located at 46 East King Street, Littlestown PA 17340; phone: 359-5101.

Beginnings [1]

Littlestown, situate in the southern part of Adams County, about two miles from the Maryland State line, is one of the oldest towns in the County. It is in Germany township; its elevation above sea-level is five hundred and thirty-two feet — only a difference of three feet between it and Gettysburg. It was laid out in the year 1765 — only sixteen years after York was detached from Lancaster County, thirty-five years before the foundation of Adams County, fifteen years before the county seat of Adams was laid out by James Gettys, and one year after our sister town, Hanover, was founded by Richard McAllister — then called McAllister's town. The town was laid out in that year by Peter Little, whose name in the vernacular, was "Klein." The new town was long known as "Kleina Sthettle." Then it took the anglicized name of its founder, Peter Little's Town, and was subsequently called Petersburg, but as there was another town of the same name in Adams County, to prevent confusion in mail matter, it was given the name it now bears — Littlestown.

Among the original owners of town lots, the following appear: Peter Cushwa, Matthias Baker, Stephen Geiss, Henry Brothers, R. Mcllhenny, Jacob Gray, John Alspach, Michael Reed, Peter Baker, D. Zackery, and such names as Will, Sell, Hostetter, Staley, Grouse, Long, Dysert, Little, Kuntz, and others. Many of the descendants of these ancestors are today among our most respected and useful citizens. The original lots, forty-eight in number, were arranged in consecutive order. The two streets of the town were named King Street and Queen Street.

Littlestown at first improved but slowly — lagging along quietly until the completion of the Gettysburg and Petersburg Turnpike, which was built about the year 1814; this formed a part of the through line of Turnpike from Pittsburg (which was then considered the far West) to Baltimore, over which was carried in "Pitt Wagons," as they were then styled, traffic to and from the East and West. Several lines of stages carrying mails and passengers from these, then distant points, passed through the town daily in earlier days, and the gaily-caparisoned horses and highly colored stage coaches, on their arrival and departure, created as much excitement and interest among the people as do now the arrival and departure of Railroad trains. The Gettysburg and Petersburg Turnpike Company was charted by the Legislature of Pennsylvania on the seventh day of April, A. D. 1807, and the Turnpike was finished about seven years afterwards. Nothing remarkable in the improvement of the town or its progress occurred until 1857, when the Littlestown Railroad was built; it was commenced on the Fourth of July, 1857, and completed in the latter part of June in the following year. About this time, Littlestown commenced a new life — additional town lots were laid out by James Renshaw and Geo. Myers, known as "Renshaws & Myer's addition to Littlestown. Old town lots of desirable location brought very high prices for building purposes, and the new lots were in great demand. Two new warehouses were built along the terminus of the railroad, also a new hotel, all the stores renovated, and a few years after a new store-room and dwelling house was erected by Ephraim Myers, which is probably one of the finest and best constructed buildings in Adams County. Business of all kinds revived, and the population of the town in a few years nearly doubled itself. In 1871, the railroad was extended to Frederick city, Maryland, and forms now the Frederick Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Littlestown was incorporated by the Court of Adams County, in the year, A. D., 1864, and by the faithful and persevering energy of Dr. R. S. Seiss, its second Mayor, and the Town Council composed of Daniel Grouse, Frederick Bittinger, Joseph Barker, David Schwartz, and Samuel Weikert, the streets were graded and shortly afterwards new pavements were laid, and the general appearance of the town improved.

In 1872, a very commodious and substantial public school house was built of brick, capable of accommodating over two hundred pupils. In August of 1864, the first election for borough officers was held — W. F. Grouse being elected Chief Burgess. His successors were, Dr. R. S. Seiss, Simon S. Bishop, James H. Colehouse, Henry Rahter, Martin Steffy, Dr. R. S. Seiss, J. H. Hinkle, H. S. Klein, Dr. Seiss being the present incumbent.

There are now in the town five well built churches — the Catholic church rebuilt in 1840, the United Brethren church built in 1822 and rebuilt in 1862, St. Paul's Lutheran church built in 1866, the German Reformed church built in 1858, and a very beautiful church of modern architecture, rebuilt in 1870 by the Methodists. A new banking house for the Littlestown Savings Institution, of great architectural beauty, was erected in the year 1879. Mount Carmel Cemetery occupies a lovely spot on the southwestern portion of the borough, and its elevated position commands a splendid view of the beautiful surrounding country. Littlestown is distant ten miles from Gettysburg and forty-two from Baltimore. The population of the town, according to the late census, is nine hundred and thirteen. Littlestown is located in a rich, fertile and healthy neighborhood; its citizens are remarkable for their energy, industry, and hospitality, and display much taste in the neatness and cleanliness of the town, and especially of their houses and homes — almost every house having two yards, beautified and adorned with flowers.

  1. Reily, John T., History and Directory of the Boroughs of Gettysburg, Oxford, Littlestown, York Springs, Berwick and East Belin, Adams County, PA,
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