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Oley Valley and Oley Village

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Bounded by low hills, the Oley Valley marks the eastern extension of the belt of limestone that reaches west to Cumberland County, unifying much of the architecture of the German migration that has farmed its rich soil. The valley demonstrates the tendency of German farmers to stay in one place and to preserve their folkways with remarkable continuity. The character of the valley can be seen in a tour that begins in Oley where PA 662 heads south from PA 73 to the village of Yellow House and then returns north along Covered Bridge Road to PA 73. The valley continues beyond its core with a spectacular mill complex off Oley Furnace Road (off PA 662) just west of Oley where the covered bridge for which Covered Bridge Road is named still stands, just north of Kauffman Road.

The village of Oley, the valley's commercial node, developed near the intersection of PA 73 and PA 662. Most of Main Street's houses and shops are brick Victorian designs that stand out from other early Pennsylvania towns because of the verticality of their roofs, but here and there are earlier stone houses, some dating to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Banks reflect urban styles, either colonial or classical. Friedens United Church of Christ (337 Main Street) is typical of German-influenced brick Gothic Revival. Its datestones record the evolution of the institution, from its 1830 beginning to its rebuilding in 1888.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas

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