With a backdrop of mountains, Mifflintown is one of eastern Pennsylvania's most picturesque county seats. It faces Mifflin (originally named Patterson) situated on the opposite bank of the Juniata River. Alexander Lafferty settled in present-day Mifflintown in 1755 on an estate he named “Content.” In 1774 Harrisburg planner William Maclay purchased Lafferty's property and built a log house (1866 demolished) that he sold to John Harris later that year. Harris, who became a justice of the peace in 1779, constructed an addition to the house to serve as a courtroom. When Mifflin County was formed in 1790, which then included what is now Juniata County, his property was chosen as the county seat and named Mifflintown, but the county seat was removed instead to Lewistown. In 1831, Juniata County was cut from Mifflin, and Mifflintown became its seat. The town's linear plan parallels the river and, after 1849, several bridges linked the town to Patterson (now Mifflin) and the railroad on the Juniata's opposite bank. The four-span Twin Boroughs Bridge was constructed in 1937.
The brick Victorian Gothic Messiah Lutheran Church (1901; 3 S. 3rd Street) has the typical German two-towered facade enlivened by canting the corner tower toward the courthouse and embellishing with a giant Gothic window. The Richardsonian Romanesque Westminster United Presbyterian Church (1887; 208 Lemon Street) has a fortresslike corbeled brick tower. The Georgian Revival Aldersgate United Methodist Church (1874, 1937; 109 N. 3rd Street) was enlarged in 1937, marking the end of the city's growth. Catastrophic fires in 1870, 1873, and 1883 destroyed much of the original town, which explains the unified late-nineteenth-century architecture. Main Street is densely packed with brick hotels, now converted to apartments, and two-and three-story brick buildings decorated with vergeboards and brackets.
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