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Gilpin Twp, Armstrong County, PA

Beginnings [1]

About 1888 or 1890 the Pennsylvania Railroad Company constructed a branch from Leechburg to Schenley connecting with the Allegheny Valley road, in which they had a controlling interest, thus opening up the vast coal fields in Gilpin township, every acre almost of which is underlaid with coal of a fine quality, the Freeport vein being on top, and as it can be "drifted" it is the one now being worked.

Four miles above Schenley, on the Kiskiminetas river, and two miles below Leechburg is the old village of Bagdad, famous in canal days and since. It was at this old town, or a short distance below it, that a point on the Pennsylvania canal known for years as "Wherry's Defeat" was located. The following incident or disaster gave rise to this name. When building this section of the canal the late James Wherry, of South Bend township, this county, had the contract, and it was found necessary to build an extensive riprap or retaining wall sloping from the edge of the towpath to the river. Just when it was nearing completion the Old "Kiski" got on one of her "tears" and swept away the work of months and with it several thousand dollars of the contractors' hard earned and not too plentiful money. The wall was rebuilt and stands to-day as a monument of what determination and skill can do under the right kind of leaders and skilled workmen.

Bagdad, about the middle of the last century, became prominent as a salt producing company, and some of the best wells along this river, famous then for this industry, were drilled at this place and above and below it, most of the salt boilers and miners living in the little village. Among the old-time salt manufacturers were the late Daniel Hill, David Lynch, Daniel Kistler, Capt. Samuel Kistler and his brother John, the latter being one of the few yet living; his home is in Freeport. There were also Clines, Stulls, Shusters, Sherbondies, Shirys, Klingensmiths, and Walters and a host of others, the long roll of which it is impossible now to record.

  1. Armstrong County Pennsylvania: Her People Past and Present, Volume I, J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago, 1914

Street Names
Bagdad Road • Schenley Road