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Schellsburg Borough

Schellsburg Borough Hall is located at 2199 Cortland Road, Schellsburg PA 15559; phone: 814-733-2809.

Settled around 1808, Schellsburg was incorporated in 1938 from Napier Township.

Early Settlers [1]

The borough of Schellsburg numbered among its early settlers John Clark who had a tannery; Michael Reed, Esq., a cabinet maker and carpenter; John Lindsey, a hatter; Frederick Goeb, a printer, who printed books and almanacs. The first blacksmith in Schellsburg was Henry Horn. His brother, Daniel, joined him later and learned the trade. A pottery was conducted at an early period by Peter Schell. Among the early industries, in addition to those mentioned, were wagon and harness making. At the present time Schellsburg has two industrial establishments, the furniture manufactory of M. M. Whetstone and the Marble and Granite Works of C. B. Culp which employed 2 workers.

  1. National Historical Association, Inc., A History of the Juniata Valley, Vol I, pp 160, 1936, Harrisburg

The Schellsburg Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.

Description

Schellsburg is an architecturally intact crossroads village of nineteenth and twentieth century buildings. ... Overall integrity is high, with noncontributing resources mostly consisting of altered and newer residential buildings. They are widely scattered and have little effect on the integrity of the district as a whole. The settlement was built as a small commercial center to serve the surrounding rural area and travelers on a major east-west overland route developed before 1800. The historic district is located on U.S. 30, the Lincoln Highway, nine miles west of Bedford and Pennsylvania Turnpike exit 11 [renumbered/renamed, exit 146]. Schellsburg is located five miles east of the Allegheny Mountains, on the east side of Chestnut Ridge. There are steep hills to the east and rolling farmland extends to the north and south. Shawnee State Park is located approximately one mile south of the village.

The historic district includes most of Schellsburg Borough. The core of the district is a group of buildings extending along four blocks of Pitt Street (U.S. Route 30), the main thoroughfare. Market Street is the primary cross street and the intersection of Pitt and Market Streets is the center of the district -reflecting the original platting and subsequent growth of the community. Mill Street is the west boundary of the borough and the district, beyond which there is open land and no buildings. The district's eastern limit of historic buildings is a modern shopping district with a supermarket, fire hall and motel. Vine Street, for the most part, forms the north boundary of the district with the exception of two buildings, located further north on Market Street: a ca. 1949 automobile garage and the 1940 former high school. The district's south boundary is defined by a two by two block street grid historically called "New Town," representing Schellsburg's limit of expansion in the mid-nineteenth century. This small grid of 15 houses extends east from Market Street (S.R. 96), just south of the intersection with Pitt Street. Around the periphery of the village there is a scattering of house-trailers and, to the north and south, small clusters of modern houses.

The most distinctive visual characteristic of the district is the group of brick buildings flanking both sides of Pitt Street for approximately three blocks between Mill Street and Jackson Street. Interspersed are frame houses and two commercial garages. There are a few open lots on the north side of Pitt Street between Mill and Market Street and one at the southwest corner of Pitt and Market Streets. The principal side street is Vine Street, paralleling Pitt Street one block north. It is built up with nineteenth century wood frame houses and two log houses. South Street mirrors Vine Street, paralleling Pitt Street to the south. South Street is undeveloped, with two Market Street properties bordering it. Market Street is the main cross street, with houses scattered along it both one block north and one block south of Pitt Street. Smaller cross-streets include Baltimore, Peter and Mill Street. Only a handful of houses are present on these later streets and the three alleys included in the district. Of the 17 businesses active in the district seven are antique shops; six are housed in historic buildings along Pitt Street. One church is still active in the village; the other two have been converted -one to residential and the other commercial use. There are 32 historic outbuildings in the district, identified as the following: 15 barns (included as buildings in the resource count), eight sheds, three garages, three outhouses, two smokehouses and one chicken coop.

Contributing Resources

The historic district contains 108 resources, of which 92 are contributing and only 16 are non-contributing (15%). There are 62 contributing residences -67% of the district's contributing resources. Houses along Pitt Street (U.S.30) have garages or other outbuildings facing on a rear alley. Most garages and outbuildings on secondary streets face onto the main street.

Some of the oldest buildings in Schellsburg are undoubtedly log houses. Two have been positively identified: 117 and 145 Vine Street. Both houses were stripped of wood and synthetic siding in recent years, to reveal the original log construction. The house at 117 has a combined stone and brick chimney, one over one windows and wood sheathed newer rear wing. The house at 145 has a modern rear wing.

The Taylor House at 3770 Pitt Street, one of two early nineteenth century cut stone houses in the district, was erected in 1827 by Charles Dunaker and later occupied by John S. Schell. A disastrous fire in 1937, exacerbated by Schellsburg's lack of a municipal water system, destroyed the interior of the building. It was rebuilt with a slightly lower roof line, retaining many of original exterior features including the decorative center doorway with overhead fanlight and paired end chimneys.

The brick house at 3789 Pitt Street has strong Federal style ornamentation. The main five-bay section has a delicately crafted entablature incorporating dentils, swags, urns and raised diamond shapes. Flanking the center door are pilasters adorned with raised urns and rope molding. Brick window lintels, arranged in soldier bond, depart from Schellsburg's characteristic early nineteenth century type: flat sawn wood timbers painted white. A two-story ell extends back from the northwest corner of the main section. Attached to it is a smaller one-story section with integral porch roofs -broadly sloping roofs shading wide porches flanking both sides of the rear wing. Most of the windows in this house have two-over-two double hung sash; others have older nine- over-six. Alterations include a two-story six-sided corner bay at the southwest corner of the main elevation and a Colonial Revival style sun porch, along with some one-over-one double hung windows.

Located at 1538 Market Street (1880) is a spacious well preserved late nineteenth century brick home. It is sited on the north end of the "New Town" street grid, at the northeast corner of Market and Bedford Street The house is T-shaped, with a projecting center pavilion and steeply pitched cross-gable roof. The center door, in the projecting pavilion, is topped with a small flat wood cornice supported by four decorative corbels. Windows are tall with two-over-two double hung sash.

The United Church of Schellsburg, 1646 Market Street, was built as the Reformed Church in 1850. It has a pedimented gable end roof, 12 over 12 windows, flat wood lintels with corner blocks and a saw-tooth patterned brick frieze. The existing bell tower, a replacement of the original, displays a one stage lowered tower topped with a copper sheathed spire. The former Lutheran Reformed Church at 182 Vine Street, reportedly built in 1888, is likely an enlarged version of the congregation's first church built on the site in 1843. Brickwork patterns on the front elevation suggest the facade was widened when the building was enlarged in 1888. Heavy pegged timber beams are used in the framing of this building. This former church is currently being converted to residential use. The one time Presbyterian Church (1850), 1589 Market Street, is now the home of an antique store. Although the owner removed the front steeple for safety reasons and altered original window openings, the building still reflects its origins as a church. Today Bodyworks Fitness Center and the Schellsburg Borough offices occupy the former the Schellsburg-Napier Joint High School (1940). This one-story school building is a good example of Colonial Revival style architecture displaying: a hipped roof and symmetrical fenestration pattern and three sets of large paired six-over-six windows flanking a projecting center entryway. The entryway features a gable roof, decorative composition stone block insets and a recessed doorway topped with an overhead fanlight. This conversion from school to a shared private-public facility successfully preserves the integrity of the building.

Integrity

The Schellsburg Historic District has preserved its integrity. Fires and demolitions, resulting in the loss of buildings, have been scattered and do not adversely effected the historic ambiance of the district. Additions to buildings, dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, extend from the rear of buildings and are not visible from the street. Seven buildings have been converted into antique shops, most with few changes to the building facade. Newer windows have been installed in many homes, made less obvious by the use of snap-on muntins and the preservation of original window dimensions. Victorian-era porches, adorning both late nineteenth century houses and (added to) much older buildings, are well preserved with intricate millwork.

There has been a notable loss of outbuildings in the second half of the twentieth century, and remaining outbuildings continue to deteriorate. Unless new uses are found, losses are likely to continue. Fortunately, there is a growing preservation ethic in the community, in part attributed to Schellsburg's reputation as a haven for antique enthusiasts. Out of town buyers are purchasing Schellsburg's historic buildings as second homes. The former Evangelical Lutheran Church, 182 Vine Street, is currently being converted to residential use, retaining major exterior features including stained glass windows and the belltower

Significance

Schellsburg Historic District is significant under Criterion A in the area of Commerce and Transportation. The district meets the requirements of the MPDF "Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor Historic Resources, Westmoreland to Franklin Counties." Schellsburg is historically and physically associated with the Lincoln Highway and its commercial, residential and institutional resources collectively reflect the significance of Lincoln Highway communities.

Schellsburg grew into a small business center serving highway travelers and the surrounding agricultural area. The district is also significant for Architecture. The period of significance begins in 1808, the year John Schell founded the village, and extends to 1940. Schellsburg was bypassed by expanding railroad systems in the later half of the nineteenth century but road-related business and local commerce continued to support a concentration of general stores, auto garages and small shops through the mid- twentieth century. The Borough core has an unusually intact collection of Federal style masonry buildings dating from the first half of the nineteenth century. There are also a number of well-preserved vernacular dwellings that were built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Summary History

Schellsburg Borough is located in central-western Bedford County, on U.S. Route 30, historically a major east-west overland route. The ancestor of U.S. Rt. 30 was Forties Road, which passed approximately one mile south of present-day Schellsburg. The Fort Duquesne to Fort Bedford Turnpike was built along today's route in 1792. Pioneer John Schell relocated to the area from Montgomery County about 1796 and purchased 1,500 acres where he built a farm, just south of present-day Schellsburg. Schell built an inn along the turnpike around 1795 (demolished ca. 1958). He laid out the town just east of the inn in 1808, a grid of streets clustered along the spine of the turnpike. Within the first year, Schell sold 10 building lots. He then donated land for schools and churches. Members of the Schell family were major landowners and leaders in the village for several generations.

Continued improvements to the east-west turnpike route and local roads secured Schellsburg's future as a commercial center, sustaining local businesses over the next two hundred years. When the turnpike was upgraded in 1818, it became known as the Bedford to Stoystown Turnpike. In 1913, the route was included as part of the nation's first transcontinental route, the Lincoln Highway. In 1945, the road was designated as U.S. 30. Mixed-use residential-commercial buildings, homes and small shops were tightly packed along three blocks of the highway -known locally as "Pittsburgh Street." The main crossroads at Pitt St. (U.S. 30) and Market Street (S.R.49) was the location of the Post Office for many years. Market Street brought traffic into Schellsburg from the south, where grain and falling mills were located on Shawnee Creek during the nineteenth century. These sites, which are not extant, were considerably removed from the nominated district.

John Schell acted as a benefactor to spur growth in the settlement. He donated land for the area's first church, on a picturesque hillside, one-quarter mile west of the Schellsburg Historic District. Union Church (1806, extant), measuring 25' by 30' and built of logs, was later sheathed in clapboard. At first, Lutheran and Reformed congregations shared the building. Within a single decade (1843-1854), during the village's boom period, three congregations built their own houses of worship in the village. The Reformed Church (presently United Church of Schellsburg) was built in 1850 at 1538 Market Street. The former Lutheran Reformed Church (1843, likely enlarged 1888, and converted into a house in 1999) is located at 182 Vine Street. The former Presbyterian Church (1850), converted into a store ca. 1980, is at 1589 Market Street. Methodists, the fourth and last congregation organized, built a church in the southeast corner of the village in 1892. It burned in 1945, the only one of four nineteenth century church buildings in the district that did not survive.

John Schell's offer of lots for school use did not fall on deaf ears. From the early years of settlement, Schellsburg residents supported private schools for their children. Townspeople first constructed a log school on lots 23 and 24 (today the location of Schellsburg United Church). It was replaced by a brick building in 1825 and in 1867 a larger 2-story brick building was constructed a short distance to the north (demolished ca. 1995). A womens' private academy, built at the turn of the century on Peter Street, burned in 1916. The Schellsburg-Napier Joint High School, constructed in 1940, was the last local school built. In 1954, high school students were transferred to the new Chestnut Ridge High School and the Schellsburg-Napier High School housed elementary students until 1982. Since the mid-8Os, the school has been occupied by a fitness center and borough offices.

On Pitt Street, brick houses and buildings with mixed residential/commercial use were built, along with small shops sited alongside owners' residences. The Schells, Colvins and others with stores on Pitt Street controlled water-powered industries on the Shawnee Creek south of the village. Village founder John Schell established the first mill in surrounding Napier Township. Son Henry Schell built a fulling mill south of Schellsburg, where Colvin's grist mill flourished in the late nineteenth century. Brick making, along with milling, were activities common to rural areas of Bedford County in the nineteenth century. The resources reflecting these patterns are no longer extant and their sites were far removed from the nominated district.

In 1838, Schellsburg was just the second village to incorporate in Bedford County. It experienced several decades of growth and prosperity that did not abate until mid-century. Schellsburg reached its apex in the 1850s. Shortly after, the Pennsylvania Railroad was built miles north of Schellsburg, displacing the Bedford-Stoystown Turnpike as the major trade route. Instead of shrinking and deteriorating, Schellsburg thereafter remained remarkably steady in terms of population and commercial activity well into the twentieth century. Without hope of future growth, Schellsburg's four churches began discussing a merger back to a single congregation. The Methodists and Presbyterians shared a joint Sunday school beginning in 1933 and the Reformed congregation joined them in 1947. A Joint Board of Directors was formed in 1963, with members from all the churches, to discuss consolidation into a single congregation. In 1964, the "service of uniting" was held, and the former Reformed Church building became the new home to the United Church of Schellsburg.

Lincoln Highway, and other road improvements, increased traffic in the early decades of this century. Completion of the first section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, along a parallel cross-state route in 1940, decreased the numbers and variety of service businesses such as gas and service stations, restaurants and rooming establishments on U.S. Route 30. The first completed turnpike section, Carlisle to Erwin, included the closest exit to Schellsburg, Bedford toll plaza #I 1 located nine miles east. Schellsburg's economy has survived better than most villages its size, with an unusually diverse collection of 17 operating businesses. Pitt Street, drawing out of town traffic on S.R. 30, is home to six of Schellsburg's seven antique shops. Also located on Pitt Street are most of the local service businesses: the bank. Post Office, funeral home, a building contractor, beauty shop and two of Schellsburg's three auto repair garages. Situated on side streets are one antique store, Gulp's Monument Works, a fitness center and a third auto repair garage. All but one of these businesses is housed in a historic building. Construction of Shawnee State Park (1949), just south of the village, has benefited the economy and enhances the image of historic Schellsburg.

Historic Significance, Commerce

As a crossroads community, Schellsburg was advantageously sited to provide trading opportunities and other services to fanners in surrounding rural areas and travelers on the historic road. The brick Federal style Schell-Colvin Building (ca.1810) is one of the resources that still conveys this pattern of commercial activity. It was built at the crossroads -the main intersection of Pitt Street and Market Street. Constructed by the Schell family, it housed the Mansion House in the 1860s, under Proprietor J.M. Robison; a separate front entrance led into J. Colvin's Store. By 1877, J.E. Colvin's Store was joined by the Schellsburg Post Office. More than 65 area businesses received mail there in 1861. Another historic building contributing to the district's commercial importance is the Mickle-Geisel Funeral Home at 3779 Pitt Street. Built around 1854, this mixed-use building was occupied by A.B. Bums Store and residence in 1861.

Businesses thrived on Pitt Street, particularly in the block between Market and Peter Streets, during most of the nineteenth century. Those not housed in large mixed-use brick buildings occupied small shops adjoining the owner's residence. An example is the one and one half story, front gable brick building housing Courtyard Antiques at 3812 112 Pitt Street. In the mid-nineteenth century, this building was likely used as a blacksmith shop. Another small building, possibly used as a small store, sits alongside the home at 3752 Pitt Street. One of the small tanneries that operated in nineteenth century Schellsburg was W.A.B. Clarke's Tannery, which sat on the west side of the extant (1810) Clarke House, 3709 Pitt Street. There are no known remains of the tannery, suggesting archeological resources are not present at this site. The Clarke House is one of three cut stone houses in Schellsburg, and one of two surviving from the very early years of the settlement.

The construction of church buildings in the village of Schellsburg, in the first half of the nineteenth century, was a signal of stability and expectations for further growth. E.L. Walker's 1861 Map of Bedford County includes an inset map of Schellsburg featuring drawings of 15 prominent local buildings, including three Schellsburg churches: the Lutheran Church (1843), on Vine Street; the Reformed Church (1850), to which the Schell family belonged, built on a choice location next to the village schoolhouse in center village; and the Presbyterian Church (1850) built on Market Street one block south of the main intersection with Pitt Street. All three buildings survive today.

In 1861 the population reached 394 and everywhere there were signs of a prospering community. Shops and stores occupied almost every lot on Pitt Street, between Market and Peter Streets. Of the village's 24 businesses, there were two hotels, three tanneries, two blacksmiths, one wagon shop and a saddle maker. There were also two furniture and undertaking shops, a soap and glue factory and a pottery shop. Another sign of vitality was the number of registered school students. While Schellsburg's population in 1861 was only one third that of Bedford's, nine miles to the east, Schellsburg counted nearly two-thirds as many school students (Statistical Table, 1861 Map of Bedford County).

Municipal expansion signaled the continued optimism of community leaders. Between 1860 and 1877, "Dr. A. Ealy's Addition," also referred to as "New Town," was laid out as a two-street square grid that soon was filled with homes and associated outbuildings. The grid was laid out just south of Pitt Street, east of Market Street. The Ealys had deep roots in the community, spawning several generations of physicians throughout the 19th century. While Ealy family offspring purchased a number of properties in Schellsburg's "New Town" section, family head Dr. John Cyrus Ealy continued to reside at 3732 Pitt Street (today Laurel Bank) where he had settled in 1813.

Construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1850s, north of Schellsburg, limited future growth in the village. The beginning of Schellsburg's decline is documented by the 1877 Bedford County Atlas (F.W. Beers and Co.) that lists 19 businesses, five fewer than in 1861. The village was back to just one hotel -the venerable Western Hotel constructed on the western edge of Schellsburg by John Schell Sr. over a half century earlier. The number of small shops, operating on Pitt Street east of Market Street, had also declined in number.

Schellsburg continued to serve as the social, entertainment and commercial center for area residents, demonstrated by one of the last major construction projects of the late nineteenth century. Schellsburg Lodge #870, International Order of Odd Fellows built in 1876. A.H. Egolf made bricks for the building, on his farm just west of the village. The three-story brick building, located at 3698 Pitt Street, served as a resource for the greater community as well as the lodge. The lodge incorporated as the Schellsburg Hall Association and sold public shares to defray construction costs. While the lodge reserved the third floor as a ceremonial hall, the second floor was outfitted with a stage and rented out for amateur plays and concerts, and as a meeting room for the local Grange and a summer normal school for teachers. The first floor was occupied by various businesses over the years, with a grocery located there early this century. Today, Antiques and Elderly Things Antique Store occupies the storefront. Another business that built at the time was Culp's Monument Works, dating from 1889. Benson Culp built a residential type building as the headquarters at 126 Vine Street. The office is still there today.

The old turnpike route was renamed the Lincoln Highway in 1913, the country's first transcontinental route, stretching 3,300 miles from New York to San Francisco. The new route took advantage of existing road networks, passing through Schellsburg on Pitt Street – the old turnpike route. Up until 1940, the Lincoln Highway supported many auto-related businesses in Schellsburg. Automobile service stations opened in the village, and at least a half dozen roadside gas pumps dotted Pitt Street between World War I and mid-century. The roadside gas pumps are gone, hut three auto repair shops remain. May Brothers Body Shop and Packards Auto Shop, 3701 and 3758 Pitt Street respectively are well preserved, featuring brick-fronted commercial garages dating from ca. 1920-40. May Brothers Body Shop is an altered five-bay Federal style building, whereas Packards Auto Shop is a concrete block and brick building dating from around 1920. Weingardners Auto Repair Shop, 1679 Market Street, built ca. 1949, is a concrete block building with an apartment housing the owner's family on the second floor. Also serving the needs of travelers on the Lincoln Highway were hostelries in two of Schellsburg's historic buildings -Williams Tourist Home, 3779 Pitt Street and Colvin's Colonial Inn at 3789 Pitt Street.

Architectural Significance

The historic district is a strong, cohesive group of buildings representing vernacular architectural trends and stylistic influences from Federal to early twentieth century American movements. The most visually striking group of buildings in Schellsburg is the collection of Federal style (largely brick) and related vernacular buildings (frame, brick and a few stone), located along Pitt Street. Schellsburg's highstyle architecture is, with a few early twentieth century exceptions, limited to this group of Federal style buildings. Buildings constructed between 1860 and 1900, with one exception (a Second Empire style home), are modest vernacular examples. The addition of decorative Victorian-era porches to new and older houses, late in the nineteenth century, is another significant characteristic of the district. A handful of early twentieth century dwellings in the district display Prairie, Four Square, Colonial Revival and Dutch Colonial styles.

Schellsburg Historic District's 14 Federal style (ca. 1810-1860) houses have remarkably uniform and well preserved characteristics that give them a strong collective identity. Most are 5 by 2 bays (with a few 3 by 2 bays) with single or double end chimneys. Most are brick (12), with one additional stone and another vinyl-covered example. With few exceptions, the brick is Flemish bond; brick buildings built after mid- century have running bond brick. Most Federal style buildings have a formal centered entrance and a very wide (up to 4' or wider) door, with a center vertical line creating the illusion of double doors. There are either side and overhead lights or a fanlight overhead. Wood window lintels are flat and painted white, with plain corner blocks. Only rarely are lintels incised, creating a molding profile, and adorned with bulls-eye corner blocks. Decorative elements are primarily limited to the front doorway area. An example is the Federal style stone house, 3709 Pitt Street, dating ca. 1810. It displays quarter round gable end windows, a six paneled front door 4'3" in width, a Victorian-era porch and a broad fanlight adorning the main entry door -similar to 3770 Pitt Street.

A popular element in both Federal style and nineteenth century vernacular buildings is the two-story rear verandah. It is observed in Federal style homes, where galleries project from a rear 2-story ell, as demonstrated at 3829,3842,3743 and 3732 Pitt Street. Modest wood frame homes constructed in the late nineteenth century have galleries as well, like 127 and 189 Vine Street.

Early twentieth century architectural styles, though few in number, contribute to the architectural significance of the district. The district's only twentieth century stone residence, built by Frank J. Fulton of nearby Stoystown, occupies a prominent corner at Pitt and Peter Streets. It is the large Prairie style building (1924) at 3790 Pit Street. The high style building's hipped roof, Colonial Revival style sun porch and dormers are combined with an ornate doorway featuring an overhead fanlight and sidelights. At the northeast corner of Schellsburg's main intersection, Pitt and Market Streets, is 3733 Pitt Street (1920) -a large red brick Four Square home with a hipped overhanging roof, rambling front verandah supported by Colonial Revival style grouped columns, dormers and a two-story porch.

Buildings in the district grew in several characteristic patterns that help illuminate the various stages of Schellsburg's development. A few of Schellsburg's oldest buildings have long two-story facades facing the street, the result of a series of gable end additions over many years. One at 3753 Pitt Street joins an older (probable log) section with a balloon frame addition added to one side. Later in the nineteenth century one- story bay windows were added, framing the front porch's display of turned and carved decorative elements. The estimated construction dates of the sections are 1820/1880. Another dwelling, 3738 Pitt Street (1820), has a rambling nine-bay front facade built in two or three sections. A third similar example is located 3692 Pitt Street.

Characteristic of many buildings in the historic district is the rear and front addition, most often resulting in an L-shaped building. Many Federal style houses have rear 2-story wings either built as an integral part of the original house or added at a later date. Illustrating this are 3721 and 3732 Pitt Street. Another pattern noted is the growth of small wood frame houses by the addition of a larger front section featuring a formal side-gabled rectangular facade. This pattern is likely the case at 3661 Pitt Street, featuring a Federal style front section, and at 197 Vine Street where a three by two bay facade appears to have been added onto the front of the original dwelling.

Outbuildings, a prominent visual element in Schellsburg, help define the history of individual properties and the entire district. A half dozen homes retain collections of outbuildings, many in poor condition and unused. The home at 3776 Pitt Street has a chicken coop, barn and smoke house at the rear of the property. Behind the vacant home at 3789 Pitt Street stand a smokehouse, outhouse and two barns.

Most visible of Schellsburg's outbuildings are several modest size barns, formerly used as carriage or horse barns. The well-preserved vertical plank barn (3714a) at the rear of 3714 Pitt Street is one example. Two barns (1576a and b), alongside a shed, stand on the large property at 1576 Market Street. Atypical in the historic district, because of its size, is the barn (3721a Pitt Street) at the corner of Market and Vine Streets (behind 3721 Pitt Street) This barn is similar in scale to farm barns found in the surrounding rural areas. It features clapboard sheathing and a carved star ornament affixed to each of the gable ends.

Comparable Historic Districts

Bedford Borough, nine miles east of Schellsburg, was settled a half century earlier (1750) than Schellsburg. It became the Bedford County seat in 1791 and grew into the county's major commercial, financial, residential and cultural center. In contrast, Schellsburg developed into a crossroads village after 1800, with a much smaller commercial base serving road traffic and the surrounding agricultural area. Bedford's Historic District has an older and broader selection of high style architecture than Schellsburg's, including Colonial Revival, Federal, Georgian and Greek Revival style examples from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Schellsburg's oldest architecture begins with early nineteenth century Federal style and vernacular forms. Bedford's architectural richness and variety extends through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with many examples of Italianate, Second Empire, Beaux Arts, Art Deco and Bungalow styles. Schellsburg's architecture, from the second half of the nineteenth century, is overwhelmingly vernacular in style. Examples of early twentieth century architectural styles in Schellsburg, although far fewer in number than in Bedford, include Dutch Colonial Revival, American Foursquare and Prairie styles.

Two other Lincoln Highway villages, both eligible historic districts, are located near Schellsburg. The first is Stoystown (Somerset County), 15 miles west and slightly larger, and also built around the old turnpike (U.S. 30). Its fewer businesses are clustered at the main four corners, whereas Schellsburg's are more spread out. Stoystown had a U.S. 30 bypass built in the late 1930s, removing through-traffic from the village. In contrast, Schellsburg was not bypassed. Instead, its main thoroughfare (Pitt Street) was widened and U.S. 30 traffic continued to flow through the village, maintaining the commercial character of Pitt Street. In regard to architectural styles, Schellsburg and Stoystown have predominately vernacular buildings. However, Stoystown lacks Schellsburg's strong presence of early to mid-nineteenth century brick Federal style architecture.

Harrisonville (Fulton County) is another nineteenth century settlement where the main axis of the town was built around the old turnpike (U.S. 30). This village, which has fewer buildings than either Schellsburg or Stoystown, is located 35 miles east of Schellsburg. Like Schellsburg, the same basic institutions are represented including a post office, gas station, hotel and the Odd Fellows Hall. Unlike Schellsburg and Stoystown, Harrisonville did not experience a substantial rebound associated with designation of the Lincoln Highway in the early twentieth century. Unlike Schellsburg's significant concentration of brick buildings, all of Harrisonville's buildings are wood frame. With only one exception, all of Hanisonville's buildings date from the nineteenth century. In contrast, Schellsburg includes a number of twentieth century buildings.

Major Bibliographic References:

  • Atlas of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. New York: F.W. Beers and Company, 1877.
  • Historic Sites Survey: Prepared for Office of Historic Preservation. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Bedford County Planning Commission, 1981.
  • Historic Structures Reconnaissance Report, Schellsburg Borough and Napier Township Heberling Associates, 1992.
  • Waterman, Watkins and Company (publ.) History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania. Chicago: Waterman, Watkins and Company, 1884.
  • History of Schellsburg, unpublished High School Dissertation of Jean Culp. 1923.
  • Koontz, William H., ed. History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania. New York: Lewis Publishing Company.
  • Map of Bedford County. Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh: E.L. Walker: 1861.
  • The Pioneer, Quarterly Newsletter of the Pioneer Historical Society of Bedford County, various issues.

**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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