Lightstreet (Light Street), a neat and homelike village, a short distance north of the Susquehanna River and northeast of Bloomsburg, was merely a place of residence for retired farmers and a few storekeepers who catered to their wants. At one time it was a town of some pretensions.
The plot of the town of Williamsburg was laid out in 1817 by Philip Seidle and in 1821 the residents were John Hazlett, Uzal Hopkins, William McCarthy, James McCarthy, George Zeigler and a Mr. Lake. Half a mile south were the blacksmith shop of Robert Gardner and the farmhouse of John Deaker.
The upper gristmill was built in 1823 by McDowell & Millard, and here Gen. Matthew McDowell later established the first post office under his own name. This mill was rebuilt in 1868 by Peter Ent. It was operated by Harry Heacock with the modern roller process. The lower gristmill was built in 1825 by Samuel L. Bettle, was later owned by Kelchner & Son and then operated by W.H. Greenley & Son. It also was a modern mill. Both of these mills were operated by waterpower from Fishing Creek. Each mill had a distillery beside it.
Two iron furnaces were located in the past at Light Street. One at the upper end, above the mill, was built by McDowell in 1845, soon after the construction of the mill. It was a charcoal furnace, and was operated later for some years by Peter Ent, and after him his son Wellington ran it until 1868 and then abandoned the work. The lower furnace was owned and run by Bettle, and stood just above his mill.
Rev. Marmaduke Pearce, a Methodist clergyman, came to Light Street about 1844 and became the owner of the lower mill. He found the walk to the post office at the upper mill too far and took steps to remedy this by applying for the post office. When his object was attained he changed the name of the place to Light Street, from the fact that he had lived on a street of that name in his native city of Baltimore. Soon after the two settlements came to be one long village.
At one time a tannery was operated in the town by J.W. Sankey and later by Charles Rink. Besides the mills the town, with a population of about three hundred, had three churches, a school building and a P. O. S. of A. hall.
William M. Ent, a descendant of Peter Ent, conducted a hardware store in the town. William M. Robbins, the postmaster, was also a furniture dealer, and stores were kept by J.E. White, Franz Crawford and R.W. Ivey. C.F. Jackson, barber, R.M. Kester, butcher, and Grant Drake, blacksmith, constitute the rest of the commercial men of the town.
The largest house in Light Street was the old tavern, and then a private residence, built by Peter Shook about 1865. He owned considerable land in the village and built the tavern himself, burning the brick on his farm near the creek. Owing to opposition from the neighbors he lost his liquor license some years later, sold out and moved away. His property was sold to various parties, but in 1914 all of the various parcels had come into the hands of Harvey Hutzell, thus again vesting the ownership in one person.
The "United States Hotel" was opened in the early sixties by Philip G. Keller, who rebuilt a private residence for the purpose, adding a large hall on the third story. This was then the only hall in the town and a popular resort for the young people. William B. Goodheart was the next owner, and Mr. Spearing the last. When the building was burned a small frame house was erected on the site to retain the license, which was later rescinded.
The remaining veterans of the Civil War in Light Street were John Crawford, Joseph Miller, and Samuel Keller.