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Waterford Borough

Waterford Borough municipal offices are located at 262 West 2nd Street, Waterford PA 16441; phone: 814-796-4411.

Borough of Waterford, Erie County Pennsylvania

Beginnings [1]

In 1794, government surveyors Andrew Ellicott and William Irvine completed a town plan for the site at Fort LeBoeuf along LeBoeuf Creek in Waterford Township. The town was given the name "Waterford." A year later, Ellicott and Irvine completed plans for the town of Erie twenty miles north of Waterford. Both plans were based on William Penn's popular gridiron plan with town squares at the intersection of major streets. The main north-south street in Waterford was named "High Street" and the main east-west street was named "Third Street."

The next thirty years saw the transformation of Waterford from a military outpost to a thriving frontier settlement as it was opened to trade by land and by water. In 1809, the Erie and Waterford Turnpike was completed to Waterford. The road began in Erie and connected with High Street in Waterford, and would eventually provide a thoroughfare from Erie to Philadelphia by way of the French Creek, the Juniata, and the Susquehanna Valleys. Waterford also became a principal port of entry for products and supplies destined to the Ohio River by way of LeBoeuf Creek, French Creek and the Allegheny River. Salt trade along the LeBoeuf Creek and beyond was very lucrative and attracted Waterford's early settlers.

Early commercial development occurred along Water Street near the creek, but when river traffic and trade began to decrease in the early 1820's, mercantile and service businesses began to open along High Street where business was steady along the Waterford Turnpike. Judson's Store and the Eagle Hotel (National Register, 1977) were two of the earliest commercial endeavors to open along High Street. Constructed in 1820 and 1826 respectfully, these surviving buildings represent the start of Waterford as a local service center. On the southeast corner of High and First Streets, Amos Judson constructed a two story house with a store attached to the south. He opened a barter and trade facility where anything from hides to building materials, dried fruits, farm products and wool, could be obtained or exchanged. The frame Federal Style building survives in excellent condition and is used as a local history library and museum.

Six years later Thomas King, the son of one of Waterford's early settlers, opened the Eagle Hotel and livery stable. King hired Ebanezer Evans, a master builder, to complete the stone work on the inn and livery stable. The inn was one of few stone buildings in Western Pennsylvania and it became a welcome sight to weary frontier travelers. The Eagle Hotel boasts a rich history as a social hall, a resort, and a popular stop for salesmen who would reside in the hotel, rent a horse and rig from the livery, and conduct their business in the area. The original livery stable was destroyed by fire in 1845, but the main building was restored in 1977 and operates as a restaurant.

  1. Sands, Patricia A., and Sisson, William, Waterford Historic District, nomination document, 1989, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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