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Gilberton Borough

Gilberton Borough Hall is located at 2710 Main Street, Mahanoy Plane PA 17949; phone: 570-874-4790.

Beginnings [1]

This borough was formed from a part of West Mahanoy lying north of the Broad mountain and in the valley of the Mahanoy creek, and was chartered in 1873. The first borough election was held March 1st of that year. The officers elected were: E.S. Seaman, chief burgess; Joseph Byers, John Hilihan, John Shandy, John Brennan and William Ryan, councilmen. The chief burgesses since have been Daniel Becker, 1875; and George Burchill, the present burgess, 1879. The first school directors were: J.H. Olhausen, president; Jeremiah O'Connor, secretary; William Agin, P. McLaughlin and Joseph Zimmerman.

The borough is divided into three wards, known as the east, middle and west wards. The assessed valuation in the borough in 1880 was $545,725. The population in 1880 was 3,173.

Mahanoy Plane, the principal village in the borough, was named from the inclined plane that, running to the top of Broad mountain, connects the Mill Creek railway with the Mahanoy and Shamokin branch of the Philadelphia and Reading road. The building of the roads drew here a few of their employes, and in 1859 a schoolhouse was built by the township of Mahanoy. Immediately following the completion of the plane, in 1861, the collieries of the adjoining county drew the attention of speculators and operators to this vicinity, and in 1865 the abandoned tunnel which was driven by Stephen Girard in 1833 was taken possession of, and Bear Ridge collieries were established. Meanwhile coal shipments over the plane had commenced, railroad repair shops and engine house had been erected, and the plane made the headquarters of a division of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. The hotel known as the Union House was built in 1863, at which time the place contained about two hundred in habitants. William Edwards was the first merchant, and his store was located near the coal schutes. The Shenandoah branch railroad was built during the same year, and the offices of the resident engineer and superintendent of the railroad. From 1865 the growth of the place was rapid, three large collieries having been opened, and the transfer of coal up the mountain to Frackville became an important industry. In 1880 the place had grown to a prosperous village of 1,000 inhabitants, with a number of fine stores, three hotels, two churches and an intelligent and orderly population. During the time of the labor troubles a "body" of Mollie Maguires was located here, and the usual measures adopted to cripple the operators and employers.

A building and loan association was attempted some years since, but it is now in the hands of a receiver. A fine public school is located here, in a convenient building, which was erected in 1874, at a cost of about $5,000.

The high school building at Mahanoy Plane was erected in 1874 and 1875. During 1879 a new school-house was built at Gilberton. The number of school-houses in 1880 was three, with five schools.

  1. History of Schuylkill County PA., 1881, W.W. Munsell & Co., New York
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