James Campbell and Andrew Brown laid out Blairsville in 1819 along the northern bank of the Conemaugh River. The village prospered when the western division of the Pennsylvania Canal was completed in 1828, and boat-building and packet services were founded. Only a few buildings from the canal era remain, located at 302 and 312 S. Liberty Street and 123–127 W. Market Street. They are simple, two-story red brick buildings of four and five bays, typical of canal housing in the region. The arrival of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which connected Blairsville to Pittsburgh in 1856, quickly made the canal obsolete, and by 1860, it was abandoned. Blairsville became the terminus of a branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad main line, and therefore home to a large number of offices and mechanics shops. The line traversed Main Street and stretched to a wharf on the river. Two buildings mark the railroad's impact on the town: the board-and-batten former Station House (1851; 55 Old Main Street) and the Italianate Artley House (1852; 304 S. Walnut Street), built by and for Daniel Artley, a master carpenter for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Today, ten blocks of Market Street contain two- and three-story brick and frame commercial buildings that successfully compete with the large chain stores along U.S. 22.
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