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Freeport sits on land settled by William and David Todd in 1796 at the confluence of the Allegheny River and Buffalo Creek. The site was such an ideal spot to moor river craft that David Todd decreed that no wharf fee could ever be charged; thus, the town became known as a free port. It was incorporated as a borough in 1833. As early as 1816, a gristmill and, later, a sawmill were built on the west side of Buffalo Creek in adjoining Laneville. The present mill ( AR18) dates from a later period. The town grew as the woolen mill, distillery, and brickyard began to ship their goods via the canal in 1831. Several two-story, five-bay-wide, red brick houses from this era resemble the fine example at 619 High Street. The small borough at one time hosted nine churches; five remain today, including the brick Gothic Revival Freeport Methodist Church (1877; 209 4th Street), which is festooned with corbeling and buttressed pilaster strips. The DeBlasio House at 319 4th Street (1875) was built during the county's oil boom, when the railroad dominated transportation. Architectural styles like this vernacular interpretation of the Second Empire swept into town along the rails. As the brick industry and local distillery prospered in the 1890s, several grand houses went up, including the large Queen Anne, Turner house (c. 1890; 104 Buffalo Street) and the Truby house (c. 1900; 317 4th Street), a substantial brick, Colonial Revival dwelling with a two-tiered, double-columned porch. The small commercial district contains a series of three-story brick buildings, including a former hotel at 401 Market Street (1852) and the Keystone Building at 201–205 5th Street (1898).

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.

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