Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Montoursville 2018: Facebook tangent about Walnut Lane

As I continue with Week 1 of the Montoursville 2018 series, there was coincidentally a super-interesting post related to Montoursville history today on the Lycoming Historical Facebook group.

I'm going to share a lengthy excerpt here, because it fits nicely with the theme, it's not like I'm making any money off this, and I like the idea of giving the content an extra layer of preservation, because who knows how much of Facebook's archives might turn into Lost Corners of the Internet as the decades pass...
From "Lycoming Historical"...
Walnut Lane no longer exists in Montoursville. A half a century ago it was located near the green bridge at the base of Broad Street. In trying to describe it, if you were heading west on Broad Street and as you were approaching the green bridge you decided to take the exit to the right that is the I-180 West on-ramp, the first 50 to 100 yards may have been near Walnut Lane. Or, if you started on the bike path at the green bridge and headed north you may have been covering ground that was once Walnut Lane. I am not positive, I am just trying to give an estimation of its location.

Walnut Lane came to a dead end when it reached a large building. By the early 1970s it was one of just a few buildings that were on the lane. The large building at one time carried the name Cooper Apartments and the Walnut Lane Apartments. That would be all there is to say about this building, except if you were to go back little more than a century ago you may realize that the building housed a company that was once one of the biggest suppliers of feed, wheat, corn, meal, flour and assorted grains to our area. Also, for a little over a decade, it was the State Police Troop D headquarters.

Affectionately known as "The Old Mill" to people who are aware of its history in the Montoursville area, it existed as far back as the 1880s. ... It was known as the The Hayes Mill and the Hayes-Pidcoe Mill. The mill ran alongside the Loyalsock Creek.

The building was used as a mill up into the early part of the 20th century (possibly up until about 1920). The Old Mill was converted to apartments in the mid-1920s. In 1939 the Williamsport city directories began to carry information about Montoursville addresses. In the 1940 directory it shows State Police Troop D listed as being on Walnut Lane, no numeric address, just the street name. None of the residents on Walnut Lane ever showed a numeric address in any of the directories I checked. The police barracks would be listed on Walnut Lane through the 1951 directory. I am fairly sure that the information for the 1951 directory was gathered in 1950.

Carol Bair confirmed this with information she found in the September 1975 issue of the Otstonwakin. In the issue it stated the barracks was on Walnut Lane from 1939 to 1950. Bair also mentioned she recalls that the lane was black-topped at some point and until then it was always a dusty road. One or two other residents are listed in the directories as living on Walnut Lane during the time the police barracks occupied The Old Mill. ...

[big snip]

Question about Loyalsock Creek, Mill Creek and the Old Mill. I'll be honest here, I thought the name Mill Creek referred to the waterway that ran alongside the mills. Perhaps there were more mills that ran along the creek, hence the name Mill Street for the road that runs along the creek south of Broad Street. However, there is also a beautiful postcard of a trolley taking an evening ride over Mill Creek as it heads to Starr Island (the forerunner to Indian Park). Thus Mill Creek must have run near The Old Mill as it was near Starr Island. ...

Other observation to note, in a couple of the pictures are the bridges that crossed into Loyalsock prior to the green bridge. Their location appeared to be along Walnut Lane in sort of a northern turn off of Broad Street as you approached the Loyalsock Creek. The current green bridge is a slight southerly turn as you approach the creek. In one of the pictures, from the mid-1890s, it looks as if the spans that crossed the creek were not uniform in design.
The Lycoming Historical Facebook group also has some cool photographs of Montoursville's 100th anniversary celebration in 1950.

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