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Hookstown, about three miles south of the Ohio River, is a simple farming community and crossroads town with a preponderance of nineteenth-century red brick houses. An 1817 map shows roads from Pittsburgh and Washington, Pennsylvania, converging just below Hookstown. The road through Hookstown leads to Georgetown on the Ohio River and Dawson's Ferry on the north shore, and the community's location on this major route kept its inns, taverns, and wheat and flour mills busy. The town was named for two brothers from Maryland, Mathias and Benjamin Hook. Both were salt dealers, and Mathias was a Revolutionary War soldier. They came to western Pennsylvania c. 1786, patented the land in 1806, and laid out Hookstown over the course of the next three years. The earliest settlers were from Maryland and Delaware, and most were Scots-Irish Presbyterians, as evidenced by the two Presbyterian churches in this small town. Largely settled before the Civil War, Hookstown maintains its historic appearance despite minor alterations to many of its buildings. It was incorporated in 1843 at the peak of its population of 350. Never on a rail line, Hookstown avoided the industrial development that so dramatically altered neighboring towns. The undulating land surrounding the village continues to support working farms. Closely spaced, gable-roofed houses line Main Street and one block west. They are two stories in height, with four to five bays across the facade and a variety of chimney placements. Notable is the McLaughlin house (c. 1840; 464 Main Street), with a Georgian-styled fanlight and sidelights at the entry.

Hookstown Main Street (PA 168), looking north from Pittsburgh Grade Road.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.

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