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Darlington

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The earliest inhabitants along Little Beaver Creek were primarily members of the Delaware, Mingo, and Shawnee tribes. The first European settlers were farmers who called the village Greersburg, after George Greer, one of the three original landholders. By the early nineteenth century, the village was a layover for stagecoach passengers traveling between Pittsburgh, Erie, and Cleveland, Ohio. Abner Lacock (1770–1837), a self-taught civil engineer, laid out the town in 1804, cutting the flat land into sixteen blocks, with eight lots to each block. Active in Beaver County politics and serving in the U.S. Senate from 1813 to 1819, Lacock supervised the building of the Pennsylvania Canal's western division from Johnstown to Pittsburgh, and lobbied successfully to bring segments of the canal up the Beaver River to Ohio via Beaver and Sandy creeks. Incorporated in 1820, Greersburg was renamed Darlington in 1830 to avoid confusion with Westmoreland County's seat, Greensburg.

Cannel, or slate coal, a popular alternative to English coal, was discovered near Darlington in 1832. Initially shipped to New York City via the canals, after 1850, it was transported by the Pittsburgh, Marion and Chicago Railroad, which used the Greersburg Academy ( BE33) building as its train station. Nearby clay deposits prompted the founding of a brick company. Bricks from the Darlington area were used to construct two buildings in New York City: the Waldorf Astoria in 1930 and the United Nations in 1971. Both the clay and the coal mines are now closed. Yet, there has been an effort to retain old homes and academy structures that might otherwise have been demolished. The social influence of Scots-Irish Presbyterians can be seen in Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church of 1798 (1965 rebuilt; 718 PA 168); the Reformed Presbyterian Church (1847; 140 1st Street); the red brick Jonathan Morris House (1837; 463 Cannelton Road); and Buttonwood, home of abolitionist Arthur B. Bradford (1837–1840; 137 Bradford Road). Today, the village of Darlington is a small crossroads community with late-nineteenth-century houses providing a charming bedroom community for Ellwood City, located to the north in Lawrence County.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.

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