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Orbisonia Borough

Orbisonia Borough Hall, P.O. Box 363, Orbisonia PA 17243; phone: 814-447-3255.

Beginnings [1]

This town is the largest community in the southeastern section of Huntingdon County. An Indian trading post was established on its site in 1760. When the Bedford Furnace was opened in 1785 more settlements were made in the neighborhood. Taverns, stores and a post office were established here by 1836 but it was not until May, 1850 that any definite steps were taken to lay out the town. It had been known as Orbisonia for more than a decade previously and was the home of William Orbison who conducted the furnace. Sherman Day wrote of it in 1842, "The estate, formerly Ridgley and Cromwell's, has changed owners, and a town has been laid out at the site of the old furnace, called Orbisonia, from the name of the present proprietor, William Orbison, Esq., of Huntingdon. Two furnaces and a forge have been built; and the inexhaustible mines of valuable ore, and steady water-power, promise to make it a growing place." On November 23, 1855 Orbisonia was incorporated as a borough and Simon Gratz, member of a famous Pennsylvania family, became the first burgess. Mining, rolling mill operations and the East Broad Top Railroad & Coal Company employ the residents today, The Orbisonia Telephone Company of which J. W. Hostetler is secretary operates in the borough. The Orbisonia Water Company, privately maintained, serves 246 consumers. The population of the borough was 618 in 1910, 682 in 1920 and 741 in 1930.

  1. National Historical Association, Inc., A History of the Juniata Valley, Vol I, pp. 309, 1936, Harrisburg
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