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Orangeville Borough

Orangeville Borough Offices are located at 301 Mill Street, Orangeville PA 17859; phone; 570-683-5915.

Beginnings [1]

Orangeville is one of the most picturesque in Columbia County, and has many attractive and homelike cottages, surrounded by trees and flowers.

The town was laid out by Clemuel G. Ricketts, of Fairfield County, Ohio, who came here in 1822. Noting the advantages of the site for a village, he bought it from Henry Dildine and other heirs of Andrew Dildine and took possession of the house just vacated by Harman Labour. This house and the farmhouse of Abraham Eveland were the only ones on the site of Orangeville at the time. Ricketts straightened the road and sold two lots to Elisha Boone, who at once began the erection of a house and tannery. He bought a stock of goods from an Espy merchant and opened the first store in the town in the same year that it was founded. Ludwig Herring was employed to haul the goods for the store from Philadelphia, yearly.

The third house was built by David Melick, and at once occupied by Philip Snyder and Solomon Siegfried, from Northampton County. On the corner, later owned by Alexander B. Stewart, Ricketts built the next house, which was occupied by David Fausey as an inn. A few years later Ricketts built the brick hotel later known as the "Orangeville Hotel." John Unger, who came to Orangeville in 1824, built many of the houses later erected here.

The name of the town was adopted at a town meeting at the suggestion of the proprietor, who said that as many of the residents had come from Orange County, New York, and Orange, New Jersey, it would please them to perpetuate the name. So the town received the name of Orangeville, about 1824.

A.B. Herring, son of Ludwig Herring, built the first gristmill in the town. It was burned in later years, and the site then occupied by the Conner electric light plant. The Boone tannery was continued for many years. It had a rival in the tannery of Miles A. Williams, built in 1856. Both of these have been long since abandoned. A distillery once occupied the site of a Methodist church.

One of the first undertaking establishments in the county was opened here in 1853 by Alfred Howell. In 1855 James B. Harman became proprietor and brought to the town the first hearse. He also embarked in the manufacture of furniture. His successor was A. E. Patterson.

Abraham Eveland, son of the first resident on the site of the town, had been engaged in shoemaking here. M.S. Hayhurst had been repairing watches and clocks for more than thirty years in Orangeville. His quaint sign had hung from its post for almost that length of time.

The storekeepers in 1914 were B.F. Quick, Jerome B. DeLong, Perry DeLong, G.N. Smith and G.S. Fleckenstine. The village smith was J.C. Smith. The Orangeville Printery was operated by F.M. Bowman, who did a good business, but did not publish a paper.

The old "Centennial Hotel" was last run by H.C. Conner, but its site later occupied by the Presbyterian church. The "Heckman House" was managed by H.A. Shaffer. The "Orangeville Hotel" is an old hostelry. It was owned and conducted for many years by Samuel Hagenbuch, and some time after his death was sold by the heirs to C.H. Reice. In 1913 it passed into the hands of James Redline.

The Sterling Shoe Company, owned by A.C. Guinn and Irvin Roeder of Catawissa, was established in Orangeville in 1908 and employed twenty men at one time. The plant was operated by electricity and manufactured children's and misses' shoes. It closed in 1912.

One of the important manufacturing plants in Columbia County and for years the chief support of the residents of Orangeville was the Conner Agricultural Implement Works, which were burned in June, 1914.

Benjamin Hayhurst began the manufacture of farming implements in his blacksmith shop here and was succeeded in 1853 by William Schuyler, who continued it for twenty years. After passing through several hands the shop was purchased in 1880 by White & Conner, who devoted their time entirely to making wheelbarrows, harrows and bobsleds. In 1896 Mr. Conner assumed full control of the works, and in 1909 he took into partnership his son Gerald.

Mr. Conner bought the water right of the old gristmill on the creek above town, and clearing out the abandoned millrace, constructed a concrete dam across Fishing Creek, 212 feet long, built a concrete powerhouse and installed a 75-kilowatt generator, operated by a 55-horsepower turbine. He developed the implement factory to a high degree, putting all of his profits into it in the shape of buildings and machinery. At the time of the fire it consisted of six two-story buildings, housing a planing mill, foundry, machine shop, blacksmith shop and two warehouses. The products of this plant were threshers, fodder cutters, wood saws, springtooth harrows, Scotch harrows, bobsleds and wheelbarrows. About thirty men were employed and the prosperity of the town to a great degree depended on that of the works.

A peevish baby was the cause of its mother awakening and discovering the fire. Mrs. Harry Ebner awoke a little before four one morning in June, 1914, and noticing the blaze roused her brother, Harry Williams. The alarm was given to most of the residents of Orangeville. For a time the bucket brigade had a hard time preventing the total destruction of the town, but strong efforts finally conquered the flames. Four of the buildings, containing all of the machinery except the electric plant, and all of the stock on hand, besides $5,000 worth of lumber, went up in smoke, the total loss being almost $40,000, with but little insurance. The fire was more difficult to fight because of the darkness caused by the breaking of a flywheel in the electric plant the day before. This left the town in darkness, as besides operating his factory Mr. Conner supplied the town with lights.

After the fire Mr. Conner at once cleaned up the debris and erected concrete buildings, establishing the works on a firmer footing than before. His water rights and location were ideal and the workmen were firmly settled in the town, so that rebuilding on the same site was the logical thing, although he received many advantageous offers from other towns.

The petition for the incorporation of Orangeville was presented to the proper court in 1899 and in February of the following year it was made a borough. The election in that month resulted as follows: A. B. Herring, burgess; C.J. Megargell, J.B. Montgomery, C.B. White, J.B. DeLong, G.S. Fleckenstine. R. Fister, J.W. Conner, councilmen; H.J. Conner, J.B. Harman, justices; G.L. Jolly, L.C. Williams, H.B. Low, G.M.D. Herring, E.H. Sloan, school directors; I.K. Dildine, A.W. Eveland, poor overseers. At that time there were about ninety-one freeholders in the new borough.

The population of Orangeville in 1847, according to an old history, was about two hundred persons. At that date there were forty houses in the town, several stores and two taverns. In 1900 the census gave the town 439 inhabitants, and in 1910 one less than 400.

Reference

Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, J.H.Beers & Co., 1915.

  1. Historical and Biographical Annals of Columbia and Montour Counties Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, J. H. Beers & Co., 1915.
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