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Tarentum Borough


Tarentum Borough Hall is located at 318 Second Avenue, Tarentum PA 15084; phone: 724-224-1818.

Beginnings [1]

Tarentum Borough is situated on the Allegheny River and Pennsylvania canal, at the aqueduct and locks near the mouth of Bull creek. It is distant from Pittsburgh twenty-one miles; from Kittanning, twenty-two miles; from Greensburg, twenty-three miles; from Butler, nineteen miles; and on the cross-roads leading from the above places."

The principal features of the place are thus enumerated: "The neighboring hills abound in coal. There is a steam gristmill, a sawmill and fulling mills adjoining the town, also a valuable water-power at the locks. The situation is favorable for the development of manufactures, and well suited for mechanics."

Felix Negley was the first settler in Tarentum. He was of German origin, and arrived in 1796. In 1797 he erected a log cabin about forty rods below the mouth of Bull creek. He was then engaged in building a dam across the creek, and making preparations for building a sawmill and a gristmill. These were soon completed. Three or four years later he erected a larger log house a short distance from the first, on the opposite side of what is now Negley street. In 1812 James Lisley built a log house near where James Ashler's drugstore stands, on North Canal street, near the railroad station. This has been weather-boarded, and it still stands there. These were the only original houses of the olden time within the limits of the borough. Several log cabins stood near the mouth of the creek as early as 1800. They were occupied by Mr. Negley's laborers, who were also hunters and fishermen. These were the principal dwellings in the place, for the first twenty or thirty years, and the village had no importance beyond what Mr. Negley's mills gave it. In 1821 Mr. Negley built a carding-mill, and in 1824 placed it in operation, with Alexander McAllister as a partner.

  1. History of Allegheny County Pennsylvania, 1889, A. Warner & Co., Publishers, Chicago
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