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Greensboro

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Located on the west bank of the Monongahela River, Greensboro was laid out in 1787 by Elias Stone. The original town plan included eighty-six lots of one-half acre each on flat land along the high banks of the river. A gradually rising hillside allowed expansion to the west. The town's population has remained between 300 and 400 people for most of its history. By 1807, a glass company, founded by Swiss immigrant Albert Gallatin in 1797, had moved to Greensboro from New Geneva east of the Monongahela River to take advantage of the coal beds. Incorporated as Reppert and Company in 1808, it closed in 1821. However, it spawned other glass manufactories, which became Greensboro's primary industry for almost forty years. Local glass cutter James Jones built a two-story red brick house c. 1879 (429 Front Street) with round-arched window and door openings, each with a keystone and corner blocks. Honoring his trade, the house has a ruby-colored, floral-etched, round-arched transom above the front door, and frosted glass transoms on the first-floor interior. The Ionic-columned porch with a sunrise carving in its small pediment was added around 1900.

From 1856, steamboat packet service to Pittsburgh offered a more efficient means of shipping the local pottery, which, by the 1860s, replaced glass to become the dominant industry. Clay roof tiles made by Star Pottery works and crockery manufactured in Greensboro were distributed across the nation, reaching peak production in the 1870s. Painted with advertisements, they held food and whiskey and dispersed Greene County products nationwide. Few glass- and clay-making industrial buildings survive, making the Hewitt pottery site in Rice's Landing all the more important (see Rice's Landing, p. 273). Several houses built by people who worked in the industries survive in and around Greensboro. Transporting coal by river barge was the last major industry in Greensboro, peaking between 1900 and 1920 before trucking became the preferred method of shipment. The Colonial Revival and the Queen Anne houses at County Street and the Monongahela River are two of the largest houses in the village, while to their west, a reconstructed log house (110 Front Street) and the two-story, red brick I-house at 222 County Street represent the earliest buildings in town.

In 1996, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers relocated Lock and Dam No. 7 three miles north of Greensboro to Gray's Landing, which caused the river level to rise fifteen feet in Greensboro, inundating its two-hundred-year-old cobblestone wharf. The townspeople rallied to save their many interesting historic buildings. In combination with its proximity to the river, the preserved buildings retain the village's charm.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.

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