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Stoneboro Borough

Mercer County, Pennsylvania

Stoneboro borough hall is located at 59 Lake Street, Stoneboro PA 16153.
Phone: 724‑376‑3541.

Beginnings [1]

On the south side of Sandy Lake, amid the picturesque hills surrounding that body of water, is situated the town of Stoneboro. The site has the charm of landscape beauty for those who like to set their dwellings among hills and beside lakes, and for more than forty years has also been attractive to those who exploit the resources of the earth and build up centers of commerce.

An unusual circumstance introduces the history of Stoneboro. About 1825 some colored freedmen, seeking a home in a free state, located on the lakeside. For some years the place bore, in consequence, the name Liberia. But as the colony lacked self-sustaining vitality and was not kept up by immigration, its retrogression continued until but one survivor remained, who was a sort of wretched middleman in furnishing whiskey to those who sought it at his shanty.

The land occupied by the colored men passed, in 1862, into the possession of Jeremiah Bonner and the Mercer Iron and Coal Company, who owned or had mineral rights in over thirty-five hundred acres of land about the lake. The preliminary work for opening mines began in the summer of 1864, under the direction of P.H. Watson. Until July of that year Mr. Watson had been assistant secretary of war, and the unusual stress of duties during the war had so injured his health that he was obliged to leave Washington and seek change in outdoor employment. He became general manager of the coal company's affairs at Sandy Lake, and remained in charge until the latter part of 1865. The coal taken from the No. 1 mine during the winter of 1864-65 was sold to teamsters who hauled it to Oil City, where it was sold at from twelve to fifteen dollars per ton. A spur of the Jamestown and Franklin Railroad was built to the mine and the first carloads left the mine May 22, 1865.

The operations of the coal company account for the origin of the town here. J.M. Goodwin, then in the employ of the coal company, surveyed the land upon which the village of Stoneboro stands in 1865. The first store was opened by W.H. Bonner, a son of Jeremiah Bonner above mentioned. April, 1868, a post office was established here, with Robert P. Cann, who has since become prominent in business and public affairs, as postmaster. Another early postmaster was John P. Hines, still an active business man.

The active enterprise of the coal company and the first residents quickly developed the village to a point where incorporation became desirable, and the borough of Stoneboro came into legal existence August 25, 1866. In 1870 the census gave Stoneboro 470 inhabitants. In the next decade it had increased to over a thousand and has since remained about that figure. Stoneboro has always had the advantage of situation and therefore has required less improvement to make it an attractive town than some other boroughs. For a number of years it has enjoyed considerable note as a summer resort. In the municipal history the most important event of recent years was the establishment of a water works system, in 1903. When a special election was called to vote for an increase of the borough debt to pay for this improvement, the proposition was carried by a vote of 100 to 16. No other borough in the county has a system of water works like Stoneboro. It is a gravity system, no pumping station being necessary. The spring water comes from a hill one mile and a half west of town, flowing into a reservoir that contains 7,000 barrels, and thence by mains is distributed throughout the town. The pressure is entirely adequate for fire protection, and a volunteer fire department with hose, hook and ladder and chemical engine, has superseded the primitive method once in vogue when the citizens tried to put out fires "with water buckets and snow-balls."

  1. White, J. G., editor, A Twentieth Century History of Mercer County Pennsylvania, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1909