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West Middletown and Vicinity

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West Middletown, laid out in 1796 as a stopover for travelers along the Wellsburg Pike, lies midway between Washington, Pennsylvania, and Wellsburg, West Virginia, an Ohio River departure point. West Middletown became a borough in 1823, and developed into a thriving nineteenth-century rural commercial center. The Ralston grain threshing machine was invented nearby and made in West Middletown until the manufacturer's bankruptcy c. 1859. The borough was also a major stop on the Underground Railroad, establishing an Anti-Slavery Society in 1834 and an African Methodist Episcopal Church in the late 1860s at 40 E. Main Street. Situated on a ridge overlooking rolling farmland, the small village has attractive red brick and white frame houses lining E. Main Street. Many of the houses were built before 1850, and the simple vernacular structures are flush with the sidewalk. A two-story red brick, five-bay Greek Revival house (c. 1850; 17 W. Main Street) has a standing-seam metal roof, pressed-stone corner blocks in its window surrounds, and a dogtooth course of brickwork at the cornice. A neighboring house (c. 1870; 1 W. Main Street) has bracketed eaves, segmental-arched windows, and sawn ornament on its porch. The National Register nomination for the borough states that “modest prosperity and a conservative Scots-Irish heritage” have preserved the town's homogeneity and that “the nineteenth century formed it, and the twentieth century froze it.”

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.

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