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Jersey Shore and Vicinity

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Jersey Shore's name never fails to befuddle, especially those from the Philadelphia region. The town's name derives from its first settlers, who came from Essex County, New Jersey, in the 1780s to the western side of the Susquehanna River's West Branch. Soon those living on the opposite side began referring to the west bank as the “Jersey side” or the “Jersey shore.” When the community got its first post office in 1805, it called itself Waynesburg, after Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne, but made its common name its official name when it became a borough in 1826. Tanneries and sawmills were important early industries. After 1905, the car and machine shops of the New York Central Railroad in neighboring Avis, Clinton County, became the area's major employer until the erecting shops relocated to upstate New York in 1931 and the car shops closed in 1955. The town's population today is about one-quarter that of 1920.

Jersey Shore's architecture best reflects its pre–Civil War mercantile period and the early-twentieth-century railroad boom. The Greek Revival style was enthusiastically embraced and sometimes executed with more verve than sophistication. It became so dominant by the 1840s that it influenced nearly everything built before the Civil War. The rare Gothic Revival house (for example, 231 N. Main Street) is essentially a classically proportioned brick dwelling but with cross gables; Italianate houses also adopted Greek details. This may have as much to do with the prominence of builder-architect Henry Hipple as with local taste. At the corner of Allegheny and Main streets is Veterans Park (1986 dedicated) with a 1925 World War I monument. Allegheny Street and the extensive residential district to its south grew during the railroad era with scores of simple frame Queen Anne and Gothic Revival houses. Architecturally significant churches stand in the town's older section near the river. Methodists began building their church at the corner of S. Main and Thompson streets in 1845, but it took so many years to complete that it became a mixture of Greek Revival and Italianate details. The Italianate Lutheran Church at the corner of Broad and Smith streets was dedicated in 1872; a storm blew down its spire in 1891. In recent years local leaders have invested in adaptive reuse of old buildings. The Broad Street School of 1885 and its 1905 addition, for example, now house elderly residents; shops fill the Federal Revival high school (1926) at Allegheny and Pleasant streets; and in 2000, Jersey Shore's public library moved into the former Epworth Methodist Church at the corner of Allegheny and Oliver streets.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas

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