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Palo Alto Borough

Palo Alto Borough Hall is located at 142 East Bacon Street, Pottsville, PA 17901; phone: 570-622-8666.

Beginnings [1]

Up to 1874 the site of Palo Alto was covered with timber, and the undergrowth of laurel as so thick that passage through it was very difficult.

A log house stood near a bridge crossing the Schuylkill, and a board shanty had been built for a blacksmith's shop in which to sharpen tools for driving a tunnel to the coal veins in Sharp Mountain.

The ground on which the borough was built includes land owned by Benjamin Richards, formerly of Philadelphia, and William H. Warder, also of Philadelphia. The borough extends along the base of Sharp Mountain on the south side of the Schuylkill River for about 2 miles and is bounded on the north by the boroughs of Pottsville and Port Carbon. It was laid out by John G. Hewes in the fall and winter of 1844-1845. At the time Palo Alto was laid out the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and the Schuylkill Navigation Company had their northern terminus here. The population of the town increased steadily with the increase of tonnage on the railroad and navigation, until the abandonment of the latter, at which point many of the boatmen who lived here moved on.

In 1854-1855 William Harris built an extensive rolling mill here for the manufacture of railroad iron. Another was built on the opposite side of the railroad in 1863 by Benjamin Haywood, who had become the owner of the first. They were known, together, as Palo Alto Rolling Mill.

The Borough was incorporated in 1854. The place was named at about the time of the battle of Palo Alto, in Mexico; an additional reason for the naming stems from the fact that very high timber grew on the mountain above the borough.

The first offices elected in the borough were: Waters S. Chillson, burgess; Allen Enison, William Bensinger, David Riley, John Griner, William M. Stellwagon and Jacob Lime, councilmen; William M. Stellwagon, clerk.

  1. History of Schuylkill County, PA with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, W. W. Munsell & Co., New York, 1881.
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