The first settlers to the current Cresson Township found a densely wood western mountain slope with a swampy area at the base and a spring which flowed into Laurel Run and to the Little Conemaugh. Part of the area was a tract given to Ignatius Adams for services rendered during the War of 1812. It was populated by bears, wild cats and panthers
This first settlement was near summit on the western side of the mountain. In its heyday, it boasted a coal mine, newspaper, post office, 3 hotels, 2 breweries, a blacksmith, lumbermen, a general store and other tradesmen, a rope loft, a school, 2 churches and the Portage Railroad Canal. Jenny Lind and Charles Dickens were guests at the Lemmon House. St. Aloysius Catholic Church is the only church which still remain within the Summitville boundaries. The building of the Pennsylvania Railroad line and the establishment of Cresson west and down the mountain from Summitville brought its demise.
Cresson Springs Company (The Mountain House)
Dr. C.M. Jackson incorporated the Alleghany Mountain Health Institute April 29,1854. The name was changed to Cresson Springs Resort in 1861, naming the area after Elliott Cresson, a philanthropist and early investor in the Pennsylvania Railroad. The original Mountain House was located near the Wye near Hollidaysburg, dismantled and moved to the Mountain Hose Grounds. The PRR erected a station across from the resort. Additions were added to the main building (totaling 89 rooms) and 32 leased lots were available for building cottages in 1861. A new hotel was built in 1880-81 which could accommodate around 600 guests. Benjamin Harrison was a guest in 1890 at one of the cottages. The Andrew Carnegie cottage, Bramar, is being refurbished by the Cresson Historical Society. The grounds of the Mountain House boosted many natural walking paths including a bowling alley. Spring houses were located along the paths so the patrons were able to have a refreshing drink of the pure mountain spring water. The Mountain House was raised in 1916.
This area is now referred to as the Mountain House Grounds and is divided into lots. It is a mixture of original cottages and houses built in every decade through the 1990s.
"The Heart of the Mainline" "The Healthy Place"
In 1853 the Pennsylvania Railroad was built west of Summitville. The railroad built and combination station/post office to accommodate passengers for the Mountain House. By 1893 the Cambria & Clearfield and the Cresson & Irvona had established Cresson as their headquarters. By this time Cresson had 19 main line trains stop every day and 2,291,000 tons of coal per month past through the settlement. By the time the borough was established in 1906, Cresson had the Mountain House, a brewery, a bank, the Pennsylvania Coal & Coke Company Headquarters, a newspaper, a 2 story department store, 4 hotels, a livery stable, a billiards/pool hall, a school, a Catholic Academy for girls, numerous tradesmen, doctors, etc.
By 1910 there were 2 churches, a volunteer fire company, a orphanage for boys and a new railroad station.
Webster Hill refers to the portion of land on the NW corner of Arch St. and Wm. Penn Hwy. These houses were built for the local Railroad Managers. Opposite Webster Hill on the SW side of Wm. Penn Hwy were athletic fields for the baseball team and other local functions and an ice dam. A flag was flown from a spot on Webster Hill when the ice was thick enough for skating.
The Kittell Hill area is located on the northeastern edge by Rt. 53, comprising Jackson, Cathedral and Columbus Avenues eastward to the high school. The area was owned by D. M. Kittell on a PRR map of Cresson dated 1905.
White Row refers to the house on Linden Ave across from the current high school. When first built, these houses were all white.
The North side is the area between the railroad and Hoguetown which contains Arch St., Pfeister Avenue and Cambria Avenue. See Annexation Battle below.
While early Cresson relied on mining and railroading, the borough established many more industries. By the 1950's Cresson boasted the manufacture of diary products, ice cream, lumber mills and TV tubes. Front street and 4 blocks of Second Street were lined with stores and tradesmen shops.
Originally owned by Matthew and Mary Adams 119 acres was later sold to Vincent and Adam Sanker on November 8,1879. The village was named for Joseph Sanker. Sankertown boasted Sanker's General Store and Latterner's Meat Market and a quarry opened in 1908. Maplewood Park in 1915 had a pavilion and was located at the west end of Penn Ave. Sankertown maintained a large park area at Penn and High Streets for its residents. It contained children's play equipment as well as large open areas for kite flying. In the 1970's some of the land was portioned into lots and sold. The VFW baseball teams play on fields next to the VFW.
For many years residents crossed the railroad tracks. A pedestrian bridge was built in the 1890s and on June 9,1909 as a result of an agreement between Sankertown, Cresson and the Pennsylvania Railroad the current underpass was built.
Cresson Shaft #9 and coal tipple were established by the Webster Coal and Coke Company in 1885. It was located north of Cresson between Gallitzin Road and the railroad. The engineers were John Ashcroft and John Powell. Houses were built near the shaft for the workers. Many of these houses are still in existence. The shaft closed in 1949.
Hoguetown is a small unincorporated community which is part of Cresson Township at the junction of Broad Street and the Cresson-Loretto (St. Joseph) Road . It was originally the Andrew Hogue farm. His house still stands overlooking the railroad underpass. A gas station was once located across from the Hogue homestead.
Cresson - Sankertown Annexation Battle