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Pike County, Pennsylvania

Pike County Courthouse and county administrative offices are located at 506 Broad Street, Milford PA 18377; phone: 570‑296‑7613.


Zen Grey House

The Zane Grey House, circa 1905, located in Lackawanna Township. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Photo by wikipedia username: Daniel Case, 2008, own work, creative commons [cc-3.0], via wikimedia commons, accessed July, 2022.


TOWNS

Beginnings [1]

Created on March 26, 1814, from part of Wayne County and named for General Zebulon Pike. Milford, the county seat, was incorporated as a borough on December 25, 1874, and probably named for Milford Haven in Wales.

Originally a remote section of Bucks County, the land that became Pike was first settled about 1700. Purchases from the Indians in 1749 and 1768 legitimized settlement, and an agreement with Connecticut in 1786 confirmed Pennsylvania-s authority. Violence with Native Americans lasted through the Revolution. Milford was settled in 1796 and just kept growing. Millwrights and ferry masters were early settlers. Canals, beginning in 1827, made Pike a connecting point with New York, and an aqueduct was built to carry canal boats over the Delaware. Railroads arrived in 1848, and lumber was rafted out to Easton and Trenton. A tanning industry once flourished, and bluestone quarries were productive. The population grew with the lumbering industry, but by 1914 the stands of trees were exhausted. Few stayed on. Although rural, Pike is not a significant farming area. The summer tourist population, a feature for over a century, is often ten times the permanent population. Farms occupy only 1‑1/2 percent of the land. Many national leaders spent creative periods secluded in Pike: Charles Peirce, Dan Beard, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Thomas Edison, Zane Grey, and Horace Greeley, for example.

Beginnings [2]

Pike County was formed March 26, 1814 and named for General Zebulon Pike who was killed in Canada in 1813.

As the act creating the county provided that Milford could only be the county-seat on condition of the payment of at least fifteen hundred dollars by her people towards the erection of public buildings, they went immediately to work and raised that sum.

The work of erecting a courthouse was begun in 1814 and the stone building still standing and used as a jail was completed in 1815. It was substantially constructed of native boulders hewn square on the outer side. The contractors were Dan Dimmick, Jacob Quick and Samuel Anderson. At first there was no bell upon the courthouse, and when the judges and lawyers and persons interested were to be summoned, the sheriff mounted the cupola and blew most piercing blasts upon a huge tin horn. This was superceded by a huge triangle, upon which the sheriff or a tipstaff dealt resounding blows that were not unmusical, and this, in turn, gave way in 1844 or 1845 to the bell which for many years announce at proper seasons that justice was about to be judicially administered.

  1. Pike County, State of Pennsylvania, incorporated dates for municipalities, www.phmc.state.pa.us
  2. Fluhr, George J., Pike County Historian, Pike County Courthouse, Milford PA, nomination document, 1978, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.