PRR K4s 1361 leads an excursion train past the Gamble Mill in 1987.
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, was a very busy railroad town in its early years. In addition to the Pennsylvania Railroad, it was also home to the Bellefonte Central Railroad (1882-1984) and the Central Pennsylvania Railroad (1891-1918).
Michael Bezilla has co-authored two awesome books on the subject. Rails to Penn State: The Story of the Bellefonte Central Railroad and Branch Line Empires: The Pennsylvania and the New York Central Railroads.
The 1900 CT1000 lists Bellefonte Nail Works (MP 32.5), Storage (MP 32.8), McCalmont & Co. (MP 32.9), Junc. Bellefonte Central R. R. (MP 32.9), A. G. Morris Nos. 5 & 6 (MP 33.0), Bellefonte Glass Works (MP 33.1), P. B. Crider & Son (MP 33.1), Gerberich, Hale & Co. (MP 33.2), Station (MP 33.5), Bellefonte Fuel & Supply Co. (MP 33.5), Junc. Eastern Div. P. & E. R. R. (MP 33.5), edward K. Rhoads (MP 33.6), and Bellefonte Car Works (MP 33.7).
The 1923 CT1000 lists Storage (MP 32.9, Tyrone Division), Scales (MP 32.9), American Lime & Stone Co.'s Plants Nos. 29, 18, 19 & 20 (MP 32.9), Junc. Bellefonte Central R. R. (MP 33.0), American Lime & Stone Co.'s Plants Nos. 30 & 32 (MP 33.2), Gamble, Gheen & Co. (MP 33.2), Western Maryland Dairy (MP 33.2), M. J. Thomas (MP 33.3), Freight Station (MP 33.4), Passenger Station (MP 33.5), Bellefonte Fuel & Supply Co. (MP 33.5), Junc. Williamsport Div. (MP 33.6), Centre Co. Junk & Fuel Co. (MP 33.6), Sutton-Abramsen Engineering Co. (MP 33.7), Titan Metal Co,, (75.7, Williamsport Division), C. Y. Wagner & Co. (MP 75.7), Public Track (MP 76.0), Penna. Match Co. No. 1 (MP 76.0), Bellefonte Lumber Co. (MP 76.0), Junc. Tyrone Div. (MP 76.1), Station (MP 76.1).
The 1945 CT1000 lists Storage (MP 32.9, Middle Division), Scales (MP 32.9), American Lime & Stone Co.'s Plants Nos. 19 & 20 (MP 32.9), Junc. Bellefonte Central R. R. (MP 33.0), American Lime & Stone Co.'s Plants Nos. 30 & 32 (MP 33.2), Public Delivery (MP 33.2), Titan Metal Co. No. 1 (MP 33.2), Bellefonte Borough (MP 33.2), Sheffield Farms Co., Inc No. 1 (MP 33.2), M. J. Thomas (MP 33.2), Freight Station (MP 33.4), Passenger Station (MP 33.5), Lauderbach-Griest Co. No. 1 (MP 33.5), Bellefonte Fuel & Supply Co. (MP 33.5), Atlantic Refining Co. No. 4 (MP 33.6), Centre Co. Oil & Gas Co., Gulf Refining Co, No. 1 and Sutton Engineering Co. (MP 33.7), M. L. Claster & Sons No. 2 (MP 33.7), Federl Match Corp. (MP 33.7), Public Track (MP 33.7), C. Y. Wagner & Co. (MP 33.8) Titan Metal Co. No, 2 (MP 34.0), and Junc. Williamsport Div (MP 34.1).
Detailed Railroad Maps
Courtesy of Michael Bezilla.
|Bellefonte area railroads, 1900.|
|Bellefonte Furnace, 1904.|
Sanborn Maps (1911)
Sanborn Maps (1922)
1950s Track Chart with Industry Labels
Entries from the 1945 CT1000. Distances are from Tyrone passenger station.
Storage (MP 32.9)
The yard at Bellefonte was called Sunnyside Yard, not to be confused with the mega-passenger yard outside of New York City. The Bellefonte Central Railroad had trackage rights into the yard and appears in many photographs.
|A Bellefonte Central Railroad switcher working at Sunnyside Yard during the Conrail years.||Sunnyside Yard in 1960. The PRR stationed 600 covered hopper here for lime service.|
Scales (MP 32.9)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), located on the west side of Sunnyside Yard.
American Lime & Stone Co.'s Plants Nos. 19 & 20 (MP 32.9)
From a profile published by the Borough of Bellefonte in 2006:
A. G. Morris, A. A. Stevens and J. K. McLanahan, who had been active in the area's lime industry for many years, founded the American Lime and Stone Company in 1901. The company immediately began purchasing land in the Bellefonte area, and had acquired twenty tracts by 1904, including several established quarries and kilns. Between 1901 and 1922, the company operated nine plants in the Bellefonte area. By 1934 the American Lime and Stone Company owned 86 tracts of land in Centre County, most which were located north and west of Bellefonte, along Spring Creek and Buffalo Run between Milesburg and Coleville. These lands contained high quality limestone, as well as access to water and the railroad.
The property that is currently occupied by Graymont's Bellefonte Plant was utilized for the manufacture of glass from approximately 1867 to 1903. However, the Bellefonte Glass Works was destroyed by fire prior to 1904, and in 1905 the Bellefonte Window Glass Company sold the property to the American Lime and Stone Company. American Lime and Stone began construction of a new, modern facility on the site of the former glassworks, while continuing to operate existing facilities throughout the area. Plant Nos. 19, 20, and 30 existed in the vacinity of the former Bellefonte Glass Works. Plant No. 20, which stood on the north side of Buffalo Run, is no longer present. By 1944 Warner Company, who had been managing the American Lime and Stone Company since 1922, held all of the capital stock in American Lime and Stone Company and required the company to convey all of its assets to Warner Company to satisfy the company's debts. Thus, the American Lime and Stone Company conveyed 82 tracts of land with ll of their improvements to the Warner Company that year. The facility continued to evolve under the ownership of Warner Company. Then in 1967, Warner Company sold 33 tracts of land to the Bellefonte Mining Corporation, and in 1986 they sold an additional 41 tracts of land to the Bellefonte Lime Company, which later became Graybec Lime Inc. and is currently known as Graymont (PA).
Plant No. 19 -- Plant No. 19 was largeley constructed during the 1920s and 1930s, although improvements to the facility have occurred continuously. The Bellefonte plant of Graymont (PA) Inc. is comprised of many buildings and structures that have been constructed over the past 80+ years. Most of the buildings are "fireproof" poured reinforced concrete structures. However, some of the buildings are concrete block, tile, or brick, while others have steel frames with either concrete or metal cladding. With the exception of small sheds and the office building, very little wood is used in the facility due to its limited strength and tendency to burn. The primary elements of the facility, which are described below, include the rotary kilns, storage bins and bunkers, hydrating plant, separator building, bagging room, and system of conveyors that move the limestone and burned lime through the facility. Other important elements are the coal storage bins, coal mills, power plant, control rooms, quality control laboratory, dust collection system, and acid treatment plant, among others.
For many years quarrying was done along the Bellefonte Ridge, and in 1921 a mine was opened. Mine levels at 200, 400, 600, and 900 feet extend for about 2 miles from the shaft. Limestone was lifted out of the mines, and carried across Buffalo Creek on a trestle. However, the mine was closed in 1987 because it became too expensive to keep water out of the mine and bring the limestone up to the surface. Quarrying and mining are not done in Bellefonte today. Instead, the limestone is acquired in Pleasant Gap, and is brought the Bellefonte via the Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad. Trains comprised of 12 cars serve the facility twice per day, with each of the train cars csarrying approximately 90 tons of stone. Once it arrives in Bellefonte, crushed limestone pours out the bottom of each csr and is wet to minimize the dust as it falls down onto a conveyor, which is part of an elaborate system of conveyors and pipes that carries it across the site to the appropriate storage or processing location.
Graymont -- Approximately 1,500 tons of limestone are processed each day at Graymont's Bellefonte plant. Since lime loses approximately half of its weight during processing, daily production at the facility is approximately 700 tons of lime. Since approximately 1930, lime has generally been burned in efficient rotary kilns rather than the older shaft kilns. Rotary kilns are huge hollow cylinders lined with firebricks that rotate continuously and are heated to a temperature of between 2400 and 2600 degrees. Limestone is fed continuously into the kiln at one end, and as the stone moves slowly downward through the kiln over a period of about 2.5 hours, it is burned and converted to lime. The lime then spends about one hour cooling in the satellite cooler tubes st the opposite end of the kiln so that the pebble lime can be dropped onto conveyors without damanging them.
Five rotary kilns have been used in Plant No. 19 since its establishment in 1922. Kiln No. 1 was installed in 1923. Kiln No. 2 was added between 1923 and 1931, and Kiln No. 3 was installed between 1931 and 1949. Kilns No. 4 and 5 were erected in 1956 and 1965, respectively. Coleville Road, which used to pass through the area in the vacinity of Kiln No. 5, was moved to the south when these most recent kilns were installed. The first two kilns (No. 1 and 2) were housed under gabled canopies, which trapped the heat but served to keep the rain off the kilns. In the event of a power outage, the cold rain on the hot steel can cause warping of the kilns and result in severe damage. Now that the kilns are not under cover, the plant has a back-up diesel generator to keep the kilns turning in the event of a power failure. Only kilns No. 4 and 5 are currently in use; the others have been removed.
The rotary kilns are fueled by coal, which is brought to the plant by truck from Western Pennsylvania and Ohio and is stored in outdoor bins or a large metal coal bunker until needed. The lump coal is then ground into a fine powder and is fed into the kilns, providing a high, consistent level of heat to burn the lime. Approximately 260 tons of coal are burned at the plant each day. Because of the increasing cost of coal, which has recently risen from about $45 or $50 per ton to $80 per ton, Kilns No. 4 and 5 in Bellefonte will probably be removed in the near future and replaced by newer kilns at Graymont's Pleasant Gap facility [this has taken place]. Kilns No,. 4 and 5 require nearly one ton of coal for every 2.5 tons of lime produced, while new kilns can produce six or seven tons of finished lime for every ton of coal used.
The vast majority of lime sold by Graymont's Bellefonte facility is pebble lime, or simply burned limestone. Once it is burned and cooled, the finished pebble lime is classifed or graded by size in the machine/structure known as the "12-foot classifier." Lime that is too coarse falls to the bottom of the classifier and is pulverized before it is able to pass upwards through the classifier. Once it has been sorted by size, the pebble lime can be bagged or stored for bulk sale. Several bunkers and storage tanks for finished lime are present on the property.
A small amount of the finest ground pebble lime produced at this facility is hydrated after burning. Hydrated lime is a dry powder obtained by treating quick or pebble lime with sufficient water to satisfy its chemical affinity for water, and chemically converting it oxides to hydroxides. The hydrating proess simply involves mixing the lime with just the right amount of water to cause a chemical reaction, then drying it to approximately 220 degrees, at which temperature it turns into a fine powder.
Although it used to be packed into barrels for sale, today finished lime is either bagged or loaded in bulk into trucks for transportation to market. Hydrate and pebble lime are both bagged in 50-pound bags, each at a station manned by two men, a stacker and a bagger. Each pair can bag between 80 and 100 tons of lime per day. The bags are stacked and stored in the bag wareroom until needed. The vast majority of the lime, however, is shipped in bulk by trucks that are filled with lime that is poured from the storage bins into the tops of the trucks.
An office building, which is now used as a file storage facility, was erected on the north side of Coleville Road in 1922. Several other buildings and structures are present on the property, all of which serve an important role in the processing of lime, an activity which has taken place in Bellefonte since the eighteenth century and continues today.
Junc. Bellefonte Central Railroad (MP 33.0)
American Lime & Stone Co.'s Plants Nos. 30 & 32 (MP 33.2)
From a profile published by the Borough of Bellefonte in 2006:
Reference corporate history above, at MP 32.0.
Plant No. 30 -- The group of buildings located north of the railroad spur and west of Thomas Street was known historically as Plant No. 30. This group of buildings was among the first to be built by the American Lime and Stone Company on the site of the former glassworks. By 1922, Plant No. 30, which consisted of two long, narrow buildings, one on each side of the railroad spur and joined across the tracks at the second level, was identified as an "Abandoned Hydrating Plant." The abandoned one- and two-story masonry buildings were modified, and currently serve as storage space, office space, and a maintenance shop.
Public Delivery (MP 33.2)
Titan Metal Co. No. 1 (MP 33.2)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), shown as Titan Metal No. 2. The 1922 Sanborn maps shos this as the J. H. & C. K. Eagle Silk Mill.
From a profile published by the Borough of Bellefonte in 2006:
The J. H. & C. K. Eagle Textile Company was incorporated on July 15, 1920 and located on approximately two acres of land purchased from George and Amelia Gable. The silk industry suffered as a result of the Great Depression, and the industry declined during the 1930s. In 1934, the J. H. & C. K. Eagle Textile Company sold its Bellefonte mill and other properties to C. K. Eagle and Company, Incorporated. In 1938, C. K. Eagle and Company, Inc. was forced into bankruptcy, selling their Bellefonte mill to Reconstruction Finance Company. This transaction included "all lands, buildings, fixtures, machinery, and equipment covered by mortgages," including all patents, trademarks, etc. After holding the property for a year, Reconstruction Finance Company sold the property to Titan Metal Manufacturing Company in 1938.
The Titan Metal Company began as the Alpha Metal Company in 1915. The company purchased the former McCoy Linn Iron Company between Bellefonte and Milesburg, where they developed an improved bronze rod known as Titan Bronze. Operation of this outdated rolling mill was very expensive, so the company decided to begin extruding its products: rather than being rolled, bars of various shapes were made by forcing billets of hot brass through dies to give the bars the desired shape. This change required a new forging plant, so the Titan Metal Company established a new facility on the site of the former Valentine iron works along Logan Branch southeast of Bellefonte Borough.
In 1925 Titan Metal Company reorganized as Titan Metal Manufacturing Company, which employed approximately 150 men and women. Business boomed in 1928 and 1929, but prices began to fall then, requiring lower manufacturing costs. The company modernized and expanded its facility in order to be more competitive in the changing market. With their expanded facilities, forging, casting, stamping and machining operations were all conducted in addition to extrusion, Plant No. 2, which housed the company's shipping and receiving department, occupied the former Eagle Silk Mill. In 1964, Cerro Copper and Brass Company, which had taken over Titan, purchased additional land adjacent to the former silk mill. Following acquisition of this additional land area, Cerro expanded the facility between 1964 and 1968, with large additions on the north and south ends of the brick silk mill.
In 1968, over 1,300 people were employed at Cerro. Cerro Corporation continued to function as such until 1976, when the company became Cerro-Marmon Corporation by merger. In 1977 the company changed its name to The Marmon Group, Inc., who then became The Marmon Corporation in 1986. Headquarters of the Cerro division of the Marmon Corporation is still in Bellefonte, but the company has divisions in major metalworking areas throughout the country. Marmon Corporation retained ownership of the property until 1997, when the 3-acre tract was sold to BellJay Corporation, the property's current owner.
Bellefonte Borough (MP 33.2)
Not listed in the 1923 CT 1000.
Sheffield Farms Co., Inc. No. 1 (MP 33.2)
Western Maryland Dairy (1923)
Located on the west side of the branch.
The 1943 New York Division Makeup of Trains includes listings for trains RJ-10/11 as carrying a tank car between New York and Harrisburg for forwarding to Bellefonte (and many other creamery locations) via trains 570/571.
From a profile published by the Borough of Bellefonte in 2006:
In 1920, Martha Thomas sold a small tract of land that had been part of the Thomas estate to Irvin D. Baxter, proprietor of the Western Maryland Dairy Company based in Baltimore, Maryland. The brick building that stands on the property today boasts the tile work that reads "1920 Western Maryland Dairy," confirming that the building was constructed that year. In 1921, Baxter transferred the property to the Western Maryland Dairy Company. The Western Maryland Dairy Company acquired additional land from Martha J. Thomas in 1922.
After just four years of operstio in Bellefonte, the Western Maryland Dairy Company sold the two tracts that comprised its Bellefonte Creamery to Sheffield Famrs in 1924. The property was transferred "together with the improvements located thereon and the quipment located therein, excepting, however, all cans and supplies." The words "Sealtest Sheffield Fams" are still visible on a large wooden signboard located between the first and second story windows.
With plants at Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Howard, Coburn, and Jersey Shore, Sheffield Farms dominated the local dairy market. They paid $2.50 to $2.90 per hundredweight, enticing farmers to sell their milk to the company and driving several other companies out of business. Farmers who sold to Sheffield Farms were required to build milk houses on their farms to meet the sanitary requirements of New York City, but most did so willingly due to the financial incentives offered by Sheffield Farms. Larger processing and distributing facilities, such as the Western Maryland Dairy Company's Bellefonte Creamery, were also updated to meet the company's sanitary requirements.
In 1956, "separate corporate existence of the Sheffield Fams Company, Inc., terminated and all of the estate, property, rights, privileges, and franchises of Sheffield Farms Company, Inc. became vested in and were held and enjoyed by National Dairy Products Corporation." In addition to acquiring Sheffield Fams, the National Dairy Products Corporation purchased other franchises and facilities, including Bryers ice cream in 1926 and Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation in 1930. Like many components of National Dairy Products Corporation, Kraft-Phenix Cheese continued to operate as an independent subsidiary of National Dairy Products Corporation for many years. It was eventually absorbed into the parent company, which changed its name to Kraftco Corporation in 1969 and Kraft in 1976. Kraftco Corporation sold the Bellefonte Creamery to the Eastern Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc. for $15,800 in 1973. After six years of operating the dairy, the Eastern Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc. sold the property to William H, Klaban III for $18,000 in 1979, ending the building's association with the dairy industry.
M. J. Thomas (MP 33.3)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), located on the west side of the branch, just north of the freight station.
Freight Station (MP 33.4)
Located on the west side of the track.
|Water tank near the freight station, sometime after the CRP viaduct had been removed, which would have been in the background.|
Passenger Station (MP 33.5)
Located on the east side of the track.
|1909 postcard of the Bellefonte station.||Another 1909 postcard view.|
Lauderbach-Griest Co. No. 1 (MP 33.5)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), located on the east side of the branch.
Lauderbach-Griest was a grocery wholesaler.
Bellefonte Fuel & Supply Co. (MP 33.5)
Located on the east side of the branch via a siding accessed from behind the passenger station. Shown on the 1950s era track chart (above) as Lauderbaugh Griest #1. Shown on the 1922 Sanborn map (above). The Sanborn also shows a Lauderbaugh-Zerby Company (wholesale grocers) on another siding directly east of the passenger station, though it is not listed in the 1945 CT 1000.
From a profile published by the Borough of Bellefonte in 2006:
The Atlantic Refining Company developed this property beginning in 1898. From 1898 to 1956, the property served the oil company. From 1962 to 1988, the property (plus two additional tracts of land) served as a building supply store, and from 1988 to 2002 it housed a screen-printing business.
Prior to the establishment of the Atlantic Oil Refining Company in Bellefonte, the Bellefonte Fuel and Supply Company was a wholesale agent for the Atlantic Refining Company. The Atlantic Refining Company established a presence of its own in Bellefonte when it purchased a 39-perch property from the William A. Thomas estate in 1898. The property was located west of Saint Paul Alley on the north side of the railroad right-of-way, crossing over South Potter Street. The company built a brick office building and installed storage tanks on the site.
In 1919, the Atlantic Refining Company enlarged their Bellefonte facility, purchasing a tract of land adjacent to their other property on the west side. The 10,829 square foot property on the north side of South Potter Street was purchased from Albert C. and Jane W. Brand of Philadelphia. It is not known what, if any, improvements were made to this parcel during the Atlantic Refining Company's ownership of the property.
Fuel was brought to Bellefonte via the railroad. Trains stopped on the opposite side of South Potter Street, near Spring Creek. The fuel was then pumped from the railroad cars through underground pipes and into various storage tanks that once existed in the property. Fuel was also delivered to State College and Penns Valley via the Pennsylvania Railroad's Lewisburg and Bellefonte Line, which travelled down Logan Branch after passing through Bellefonte.
Approximately half of the Atlantic Refiining Company's business involved the distribution of kerosene (coal oil) to grocery stores. The local stores then sold it directly to consumers who brought in one and two-gallon cans to filled at the stores. This gas was used to power heating stoves. The other half of the Atlantic Refining Company's business was producing gasoline for cars. This was distributed to local filling stations, where consumers would pump gas into a glass bulb at the top of the pump, where it is measured and the quantity paid for before being gravity fed down into the vehicle. They also produced a very specialized aviation gas, which was delivered by tank track and poured from 5-gallon cans through a funnel into planes at the Bellefonte airfield.
The Atlantic Refining Company sold both tracts of land to Russell R. and Helen C. Jodon for $3,000 in 1956, and in 1962, the Jodons sold the same property to John L. and Joyce Willr, who operated a hardware store on the property and constructed the buildings along South Potter Street south of the brick building to accommodate their business. William and Mildred Mattern, together with Martin and Dorothy London, purchased the property from the Willars in 1972. The property they acquired included the two tracts of land formerly owned by the Atlantic Refining Company, as well as a tract to the west of those lots, and a narrow lot between South Potter Street and the railroad right-of-way that contained a warehouse.
On this property, Maartin London and Bill Mattern started Triangle Business Supplies and Services. After relocating their business to East Bishop Street, they sold the South Potter Street facility to the Potter Street Associates for $76,500 in 1988. Potter Street Associates then leased the building to Printing and More Printing (P.A.M.P.), a screen-printing company that occupied the building until approximately 2002, at which time Potter Street Associates sold the building to Patrick and Patricia McCool, the property's current owners.
- 1865 Bellefonte and Snow Shoe Railroad Company building built.
- 1874 Served as company offices and scales.
- 1887 Harrison & Budd Coal yard acquires property.
- 1892 Hoover & Miller Coal yard becomes new owner.
- 1894 Name changed to Bellefonte Fuel and Supply Company.
- 1926 Bellefonte Fuel and Supply Company incorporates.
- 1944 Kofman’s and Keystone Moving and Storage Company moves in in support of Titan Metals and Cerro.
- 1994 The Ham Store, Inc. purchases the property.
Atlantic Refining Co. No. 4 (MP 33.6)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), the Atlantic Refining Co. No. 4 was on a spur departing the branch opposite the passenger station.
History is shared with the Bellefonte Fuel & Supply Co. (below).
Center Co. Oil & Gas Co., Gulf Refining Co. No. 1 and Sutton Engineering Co. (MP 33.7)
Centre Co. Junk & Fuel Co. (1923)
J. W. Cooke (1900)
Sutton-Abramsen Engineering Co. (1923)
Bellefonte Car Works (1884)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), these entities were on a spur departing the branch opposite the passenger station.
From a profile published by the Borough of Bellefonte in 2006:
The property located on the south side of South Potter Street and bound on the east and south by Spring Creek (the Sutton property) has served a variety of enterprises associated with the lumber, metals, and petroleum industries for many years. It was first used as the Blanchard Planing Mill owned by D. G. Bush, and was subsequently developed by the Bellefonte Car Manufacturing Company in 1873. The Bellefonte Car Manufacturing Company organized with the intention of manufacturing railroad cars. The company became a lively industry as a result of a large contract with the Pennsylvania Railroad to produce 500 freight cars. Power was supplied to the facility by a 75-horsepower steam engine in addition to water from Spring Creek that traveled through a flume at the base of the millpond to the 100-horsepower water wheel, and then exited back into Spring Creek on the east side of the facility, below the dam. The Bellefonte Car Works was closed by 1887.
Because of its ideal setting with reliable waterpower and railroad service, it was not long before the buildings of the Bellefonte Car Manufacturing Company were occupied again. By 1892 (and perhaps much earlier), the facility housed the foundry and machine shops of S. M. Buck and a sawmill operated by Fox and Curtin. However, these two enterprises occupied only a portion of the buildings, leaving others vacant. In 1894, the special "Industrial Edition" of The Keystone Gazette advertised the former Bellefonte Car Works as a "superb and desirable plant, specially adapted for manufacturing on a large scale." The plant was comprised of "ten good buildings, each of which have sufficient space to accommodate considerable machinery and ample room for conducting the manufacture of various commodities on a fair sized scale." Suggested uses for the buildings included foundries, pattern shops, machine shops, a shirt factory or knitting mill, and a laundry, among other enterprises of various scales.
Perhaps in response to the ad, W. R. Jenkins and J. H. Lingle, who operated a foundry and machine shops in Bellefonte between Lamb and High Streets on the west side of Dunlop Street (the area now covered by the Silk Mill/Cerro Building) where they manufactured power hammers and perhaps other items, formed the Bellefonte Power and Hammer Company and moved into the former Bellefonte Car Works in the 1890s.
The Bellefonte Power and Hammer Company was chartered in 1896 for the purpose of manufacturing and selling tools, machines, and other articles of wood and metal in Bellefonte for a term of twenty years. Under the leadership of Jenkins and Lingle, the Bellefonte Power and Hammer Company made square stroke hammers, which were a big improvement over the older ones used in the iron industry. Hammers manufactured by the company were distributed internationally to companies such as the Pierce Arrow Automobile Manufacturing Company, among others. Jenkins and Lingle updated the former car works facility, demolishing some of the old buildings, enlarging others, and construting some new ones.
In 1906, the Cunninghams sold property to J. H. Longle, who was operating the larger adjacent foundry and machine shops of the former Bellefonte Manufacturing Company. At the time of this transaction, the property contained a frame foundry building that was transferred together with all of the "fixtures, equipments and improvements associated with the established foundry on said premises," which suggests that the Cunninghams were operating a foundry of some sort, or that not all of the equipment of the Houser Springless Lock Company had been removed.
After having been reunited with the rest of the car works property for just three years, J. H. Lingle sold the former lock factory to Ellis L. Orvis for $1,800 in 1909. The Orvis' subsequently sold three tracts, including the former lock factory property, to Wilson Reynolds Shope for $1050 in 1921. W. R. Shope operated a planing mill on the property between approximately 1921 and 1945, enlarging and modernizing the facility substantially. In 1945, W. R. Shope transferred the property containing a lumber yard, planing mill, and other buildings, as well as his other properties in the area, to the Bellefonte Trust Company for $1. The Bellefonte Trust Company then sold the planing mill property to agent John G. Love, who immediately sold it to Sutton Engineering Company for $1. The lock facotry/planing mill property has been part of the Sutton Engineering property since 1945.
In 1912, a group of Philadelphia engineers leased the Lingle foundry buildings from McCoy and Linn for a period of two yesars, with the option to buy the site at the end of that period. The facility went into operation as the Bellefonte Engineering Company in 1913, but at the end of the two-year lease, three of the company's managers left and the company was not successful without them, and soon vacated the premises.
In 1914, P. B. Abramsen of Pittsburgh was looking for a place to manufacture the machine that he had created to straighten metal rods and pipe. Mr. Abramsen and Mr. Sutton, organized as the Abramsen Engineering Company, began to move into the facility in 1917. The company was renamed Sutton-Abramsen Engineering Company in 1920 and purchased a portion of the property from John McCoy in 1921, and another in 1922. These were the first of seven properties acquired by Sutton Engineering Company that comprise the property today. The company reorganized as Sutton Engineering Company in 1927.
The Sutton Engineering Company expanded their facility many times, so that by the second half of the twentieth century the original buildings had been removed or were dwarfed by buildings that had been added through the years. Sutton purchased the lock factory/planing mill property in 1945. They acquired two additional tracts of land from the estate of John McCoy in 1954, and two small tracts from the Centre Oil and Gas Company in 1954 and 1965. During this period, Sutton Engineering Company became SMS Sutton, then SMS Schliemann-Sieman, Inc. After occupying the site from 1917 through 1998, SMS Schliemann-Sieman, Inc. transferred ownership of all seven tracts to SMS Eumuco, Inc. for $763,000. SMS Eumuco sold the facility, which currently measures about 7 acres, to Brilex Heavy Machine Corporation in December of 2004.
When the Sutton-Abramsen Engineering Company purchased land from John McCoy in the 1920s, their acquisition did not include the northeast portion of the former Bellefonte Car Works property. John McCoy apparently leased this tract of land, which includes a two-story brick office building of the Bellefonte Car Manufacturing Company, to the Imperial Oil Company by the early 1920s. When the area containing the property was included in Sanborn maps for the first time in 1922, the two-story brick office building was identified as a warehouse, and gasoline tanks were present to the south of it.
The Imperial Oil Company appesrs to have leased the property from McCoy and Linn and their heirs through at least 1931, never purchasing the property. By 1950, the facility was occupied by Centre Oil and Gas, a company that had been established in 1924 and took over operations of the Imperial Oil Company in Bellefonte some time between 1931 and 1950. In 1954, the Centre Oil and Gas Company purchased this property from the estate of John McCoy. Probably shortly after acquiring the property in 1954, the Centre Oil and Gas Company erected the secondary building on the property.
The Centre Oil and Gas Company occupied this facility through the twentieth century, selling the property to J. J. Powell in 2001. J. J. Powell, a company founded in 1952 and having offices in Phillipsburg, CLearfield, Bellefonte, and Lewistown, perpetuates the property's association with the petroleum industry, delivering heating oil, lubricants, and other petroleum products to residential and commercial customers.
M. L. Claster & Sons No. 2 (MP 33.7)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), M. L. Claster had spurs on both the east and west sides of the branch just south of the passenger station.
Federal Match Corp. (MP 33.7)
From an American Philateic Society account:
During the 1890s Bellefonte’s primary industrial base, largely dependent on lumber and iron, changed focus. The two most prominent planning mills, visibly and strategically located to take advantage of Spring Creek’s natural source of water power were diversifying. As the population grew and the construction industry expanded, the demand for finished lumber, window sash, doors, frames, shutters and other decorative wood elements increased.
Likewise, the iron industry experienced a similar trend with the establishment of companies that manufactured end products such as rakes, miner’s picks, farm implements, and scales. It was also during this decade that a Board of Trade was formed to address the need to encourage further and more extensive manufacturing enterprises. Electric streetcars and pottery were two such endeavors, which never came to fruition.
However, it was the influence of Fountain W. Crider, managing partner of P.B. Crider and Son Planing Mill and co-owner of Robbins and Crider Skewer Factory that influenced the establishment of the Pennsylvania Match Factory in Bellefonte. In 1897, P.B. Crider and Son was the largest of two planning mills located along Spring Creek in Bellefonte. Associated with the planning mill was the skewer factory which operated from the Crider lumber yards and made small wooden pins used in fastening meat roasts together. Fifteen employees produced thousands of skewers per hour, shipped to destinations such as the Swift meat packing plant in Chicago. In October 1898, F.W. Crider installed a machine which dramatically increased skewer production. This machine had been used by the Hanover (PA) Match Company in their production of match sticks.
On 27 September 1899, as a result of F.W. Crider’s success with the production of wooden skewers, he, as an equal partner and in conjunction with his father, P.B. Crider, W. Fred Reynolds, and Joseph L. Montgomery organized the Pennsylvania Match Company of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. That same week, ground was broken for the construction of the industrial buildings. Robert Cole, of Bellefonte, was the architect. According to local newspaper accounts, the main factory building was to be 260 feet long by 60 feet wide with separate structures for the boiler, engine house, and chemical building. All structures were to be constructed of brick, one and two stories high, and covered with a slate roof.
By 1911, The Pennsylvania match Company, now incorporated, was one of the eight largest match factories in the United States. Seven registered trademarks: “Sunlight, Phoenix, Automobile, Competitor, Sterling, Keystone, and Quaker” and eight non-registered trade names: “Pennsylvania Noiseless, Pan American, World, Chesapeake, Starlight, Union, Miniers, and Calvert” were listed in the incorporation papers. (Deed Book 112/303 and Misc D. R/299) Twelve years later on January 1, 1923, The Pennsylvania Match Company was sold to the Federal Match Corporation
Public Track (MP 37.7)
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), the Public Delivery spur departed the branch just south of M. L. Claster.
C. Y. Wagner & Co. (MP 33.8)
Phoenix Flouring Mill Co. (1900)
May have been on siding opposite passenger station.
34.0 Titan Metal Co. No. 2
Valentine & Co. (1884)
Listed in the 1945 CT 1000 as No. 2 siding. Not listed in the 1923 or 1900 CT 1000. Listed in the 1884 Form 76 as Valentine & Co.
Per the 1950s era track chart (above), Titan Metal Co. No.'s 1 & 4 were on the branch south of the passenger station, as the line ran upgrade through a valley.
|Titan Metal in 1956.|
Gamble, Gheen & Co. (MP 33.2) (removed)
Gamble Mill, also known as Lamb Mill, Thomas Mill, Wagner Mill, and Bellefonte Flouring Mill, is a historic grist mill located at Bellefonte, Centre County, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1894, and is a 3 1/2-story brick building on a limestone foundation. There are two, one-story brick additions. It features a stepped gable, with a full gabled attic. The building replaced a mill built on this site in 1786, that was destroyed by fire in 1892. The mill ceased being used for grinding grain in 1947.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is located in the Bellefonte Historic District.
- 1786 William Lamb constructed grist mill along west bank of Spring Creek.
- 1892 Fire.
- 1894 Owners, Gerberich, Hale & Co., erected the present millof roller process machinery shortly afterwards on the limestone foundations of the original mill.
- 1923 George Gamble, building’s namesake owner, retires.
- 1829 Bellefonte Borough installs turbine pump to get water from the “Big Spring” to a growing community.
- 1947 Milling operations stop.
- 1985 Ted Conklin gets mill placed on Nation’s Register of Historic Places.
- 1994 Gamble Mill Restaurant opens.
- 2019 Gamble Mill sold.
|PRR K4s 1361 leads an excursion train past the Gamble Mill in 1987.|