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Sharpsville Borough

Mercer County, Pennsylvania

Sharpsville Borough Hall is located at 1 South Walnut Street, Sharpsville PA 16150.
Phone: 724‑962‑7896.

Beginnings [1]

When the post office was established here in 1864, the place was called Sharpsville Furnace.

Sharpsville Pennsylvania is a borough on the east side of the Shenango River, on the west side of Mercer County, where a blast furnace was established in 1846. The furnace prospered because it was close to locally mined low-sulphur bituminous coal and was next to the Beaver and Erie Canal (1844) that ran from Lake Erie to the Beaver River. A small village with school, stores, and churches was constructed near the Sharpsville furnace by 1848. The Pierce family became prominent in the development of the town in the 1850s, continuing as the wealthiest family in the Borough into the twentieth century.

Sharpsville [2]

An account of the growth of Sharpsville is to be found chiefly in the history of the industries that have been founded there. About these the borough has grown, and with that growth has come the establishment of schools and churches and the development of the civic life that characterizes a borough of several thousand population.

Jonathan Dunham was the original settler of this locality, and his descendants still live here. The tract purchased from the state by this pioneer in 1798 bordered both banks of the river. Further up the river lived Samuel Clark, the founder of Clarksville, and two or three miles northwest was Godfrey Carnes, the Revolutionary soldier. Mr. Dunham was a farmer and hunter, and passed the rest of his life here. His original place was bought by Thomas Means, who in turn sold it to James Sharp, his son-in-law. The latter is considered the actual founder of the borough of Sharpsville. He erected a log grist mill about 1820, and after it had been carried away by the floods he constructed both a grist and saw mill in 1836. Some lots were platted about the mill, and the few houses that clustered about the mill became the nucleus of the borough.

The building of the Sharpsville furnace in 1846 was an important event in the history of this place. The turn of affairs about this time caused Sharpsville to become one of the chief centers of the iron and coal industries of the county. The personal factors were even of more advantage than these material interests. It is no exaggeration to say that Gen. James Pierce did more to build the town than any other man. Although his early residence had identified him with Clarksville, where he had mining interests, he moved to Sharpsville about 1856, which henceforth became the center of his manifold business affairs. Nor must the presence of the Agnew brothers and other enterprising associates of these families be overlooked in considering the personalities who laid the basis of Sharpsville's prosperity. The furnaces established by these men, the development of the coal properties, whose product found a natural outlet to market through this point, and the presence of ample transportation facilities in the canal and later with two railroads, gave Sharpsville an impetus to growth that could not fail to make a town of importance even with the larger town of Sharon in such close proximity. General Pierce was the leader of the group of citizens who built the Sharpsville and Oakland Railroad, and this was another factor of progress. A post office was established here in 1864, at first under the name Sharpsville Furnace. Ten years later a civil government was formed, and the first borough election held June 9, 1874. The first church building (the Methodist) in the borough was erected in 1858. The first building in the borough limits used for school purposes was constructed in 1847, by Vincent, Himrod and the McClures, who had established their furnace the preceding year and put up this building in order that the furnace employes, might have accommodations for their children's schooling. The Iron Banking Company was organized in 1873. These and other enterprises and institutions gave Sharpsville all the features of a town.

School was taught in the original building until 1870, when General Pierce bought the property and donated lots for the erection of a school in a new site. A new schoolhouse was built, containing four rooms. The growth of the village made additions necessary, which were made in 1876 and in 1883, making a building of nine rooms.

The corner stone of the present public school was laid May 25, 1892, an event which was celebrated with unusual ceremony. The corner stone, in which were deposited many relics, has an interesting history of its own. It was quarried in 1839 from a quarry two miles east of Sharpsville, and the dressed stone was laid in the top course of the left lower wing wall of lock No. 10 of the canal at Sharpsville.

  1. Rogers, Rebecca M., Jonas Pierce House, nomination document, 1996, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
  2. White, J. G., editor, A Twentieth Century History of Mercer County Pennsylvania, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1909