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Youngwood Borough

Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Youngwood Borough Hall is located at 17 South Sixth Street, Youngwood PA 15697.
Phone: 724‑925‑3660.

Beginnings [1]

From the time of the building of the Southwest Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1900, the surrounding country was farm and timber land. A large portion of this land, located on both sides of the railroad tracks, was owned by the John Young and the James Woods families of Greensburg — hence the name Youngwood, which was given first to the railroad station and later to the borough.

The land north of what is now Depot Street and west of what is Fourth Street was owned by Henry Stroble. Prior to 1902, the entire area of Youngwood was a part of Hempfield Township. The following families lived in the vicinity: the Winemans, the Strobles, the E. N. and J. W. Truxels, Robert Ellis, and the following Harrold families: W. H., W. N., Joseph and Clemence.

In 1899, a land company known as the Youngwood Land Company, was formed. Mr. E. M. Gross, one of the members of the land company, purchased the Young and Woods farms, together with that of David Highberger which adjoined these farms. Part of this land was bought by the Pennsylvania Railroad for railroad yards. Morrison Gay was the agent for the Land Company.

In 1900 the company laid out lots on both sides of Fourth Street, extending on the west side to the yards. About the same time Henry Stroble laid his land out in lots. All these lots were placed on sale in 1901. Owing to a disagreement between Henry Stroble and the land company the lots were laid out in different dimensions. This accounts for the irregularity of Fifth and Sixth Streets where they join Depot Street.

With the sale of lots, came the building of homes. At the close of the year 1901, about seventy-five homes had been erected. One must bear in mind that even before 1901, there were homes and other buildings in existence.

In 1890 Robert Ellis purchased land on the west side of the railroad, and erected a large brick building. This was used as a residence and a store room. Mr. Ellis was commissioned as postmaster, and the post office was located in the store room. On the second floor of the building was a large room used as a meeting place by the Junior Order of United American Mechanics.

Since the land was arable, it was not uncommon to find farmhouses. On the site of the Inverness Hotel there was a barn; directly east of this was a wagon shed; and to the north, on the site of the Hoyle property, there was a log house.

On the site of Silliman's store there was a four room frame dwelling occupied by Judge Copeland's grandfather and his family. On the opposite corner was located the home of Henry Stroble. This dwelling has weathered the storms of half a century.

To the west of the Stroble residence was the Fiscus property. This was occupied by Dr. Walter H. Brown, the town's first doctor. He used it as a residence and an office.

At the south end of Fourth Street there was a large brick house, the home of Clemence Harrold and his family. This dwelling is now occupied by the Poerio family.

In 1900, L. L. Love purchased a lot from Henry Stroble and erected a house. This house was purchased by the Methodist congregation, and is now used as a parsonage.

J. W. Porter came to Youngwood in 1901, and built a restaurant. In 1902 he built a house south of the Ellis property. When this was completed, he moved his restaurant into the basement. For fifteen years he served the railroaders-serving them meals and packing lunches. With the death of Mr. Porter in 1917, the dwelling was sold to Mr. J. W. Stinebiser.

In 1901, L. L. Lowe and Charles Haller entered into the contracting business. This firm was known as "Lowe and Haller." The large lumber yard built by them on North Third Street is still intact. With lumber available, houses began to spring up almost over night. The following people erected houses at this time: on South Fourth Street, H. M. Carnes, E. W. Truxell, Wesley Moser, Wm. Rial and Wm. Crock; on South Third Street, H. W. McFeeters; on Fifth and Depot, W. P. Lowe.

For many years the town was known as a railroad town. It seems that even before there was a town, there was a railroad-the Southwest Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. There was a small frame passenger station and freight station on the east side of the tracks, at the intersection of the Southwest and Sewickley Branches. John Scott served as passenger and freight agent.

In 1900 tracks were laid from Youngwood to Fosterville, thence to the County Home. At this time the weigh scales, located at the north end of the yards, were built. These were opened for traffic on October 25, 1900.

Early in 1902 the Pennsylvania Railroad built a new brick passenger station, a freight station and a six room office building. All these buildings were located on the west side of the tracks. The office building has recently been demolished.

In 1916 the Ellis building was purchased by the Pennsylvania Railroad to be used for a Y. M. C. A. At this time Youngwood was a teeming railroad center and a Y. M. C. A. was essential. Under the leadership of such men as Michael Hughes, Elmer Dellett, Crosby Matthews, Dell Dean, the needs of the men were taken care of. Prior to 1916, there was a Y. M. C. A. organization in Youngwood. In 1902 the Everson Branch of the Y. M. C. A. was transferred to Youngwood. Mr. F. H. Beldin was the first superintendent, and the meetings were held in the various churches.

Today, Youngwood is without passenger train service. There was a time when passenger service was adequate-there were four round trips daily from Uniontown to Pittsburgh, and three round trips daily on the Sewickley Branch.

In 1902 Youngwood was incorporated into a borough. On November 10, 1902, the first election for borough officers was conducted. The results of the election were: Burgess, Henry Stroble; Councilmen, Harry M. Carnes, James Hile, Wm. Crock, T. E. Holtzer, George Pahel, W. H. Brown, M.D., Edward Wolford; School Directors: Wm. Rial, Eli Truxel, George Sturtz, L. C. Kelly, Pat Rist. The Borough Council met in the Ellis building and elected these officers: T. E. Holtzer, president; Wm. H. Crock, secretary; Win. S. Rial, solicitor; Thomas O'Brien, policeman. One of the first tasks of this group of men was to enact some laws or ordinances. The following were among the first enacted:

(1) an ordinance establishing streets and side walks.

(2) an ordinance authorizing the erection of a Borough Building, the first floor to contain a hose room, and Council and Burgess room; the second floor to be for the use of volunteer firemen; the basement to be used for a lockup. This building was erected in 1903, on South Fourth Street on a lot purchased from Jacob Sell.

(3) an ordinance which prohibited automobiles from traveling more than eight miles an hour. How could a vehicle travel so fast? The streets were unpaved, and in early spring and late winter they were a sea of mud and well-nigh impassable.

In 1901 the street car tracks were laid, and the West Penn ran a car every half hour between Youngwood and Greensburg. Later this was extended to Scottdale.

In 1903, the West Penn Power Company furnished light for the citizens of the town. In the same year the Fayette Gas Company furnished gas for heat and light. In 1905 the first telephone exchange was installed in the Fiscus and Riblett Store. At this time there were about twelve telephones in the town. Ethel Wineman was the first telephone operator.

Other utilities and improvements came rapidly-sewers were laid, streets were paved, and sidewalks were laid.

In 1904, Robert Love erected a large brick building on the corner of Depot and Fourth Streets. Today this houses Bayer's Pharmacy, a barber shop, the Lions' Den, Nellie's Pastry Shop, a number of offices and several apartments.

Thus from a humble beginning the town has grown and prospered. It has nurtured outstanding men and women; it has participated in civic, state, and national enterprises; it has and will continue to satisfy the material, educational, industrial, cultural and spiritual needs of its people; it has answered the call of the country in times of war and in times of peace; it has steadily gone forward through fifty years of progress.

  1. Youngwood's 50th Anniversary Celebration, 50 years of Progress Youngwood PA, 1949