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#Saltsburg is a borough in Indiana County, #Pennsylvania, United States. Its location is in western Pennsylvania, in the southwestern corner of Indiana County near its border with Westmoreland County.
The town was based on the construction of salt wells and the canals and railroad tracks that passed through it. Its population was 780 at the 2020 census.
On June 20, 1769, William Gray conducted the first survey in the Saltsburg area. Early settlers of the wooded region were mainly Scots-Irish immigrants, migrating west between 1768 and 1795. The settlers did not colonize the area near the Kiskiminetas River until 1795 because of Native Americans defending their land.
The name ‘Saltsburg’ was adopted because of the salt grain that flourished in the area. Around the years 1795–1798, a Mrs. Deemer was the first settler to prove salt was present in the Conemaugh River, about one mile above Saltsburg’s present site, in the town now known as Moween. Deemer produced a sample of salt by evaporating the water from the river.
In January 1817 the first sale of land was made to the Congregation of Saltsburg. In 1816-1817 Andrew Boggs purchased a large amount of land, which held the first town lots. The town was named with the common consent of the first settlers for the newly thriving salt industry. The town’s religion was mainly Presbyterian, which was also the denomination of the first church built in Saltsburg. The first house was built in 1820 and now is occupied with the Presbyterian Church.
The town quickly filled with merchants in the late 1820s and became a prosperous place to reside. John Carson became the first tailor in 1827. Daniel Davis was the first blacksmith in 1828, and George Johnston was the first merchant in 1829. The population of the town continued to grow, and in 1838, the town was declared a borough. In 1840 the estimated population was 335.
The primary means of transportation in the area were on foot, carriage, train, or boat. The canal and railroad were major trade conduits for the town and the region. As the town grew it became a site for the passage of the mainline canal from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. Coal and salt were transported along the canal and boat-building became one of the chief industries of the town. In 1835 and 1836, Robert Young, Butler Meyers, and Jacob Newhouse opened the first canal-boat construction business in the town. In 1855 the railroad bridge was built, with Major S.S. Jameson as the contractor and with the help of the principal mason John Marth. By 1864 the railroad brought an end to the canal era. The growth of the town was minimal until coalmines became prevalent in the 1870s.
Dr. John McFarland, a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, was the town’s first physician; he came to Saltsburg in 1836. McFarland was also the director of the Indiana County Medical Society and an instructor at the Saltsburg Academy. He served in the state House of Representatives from 1845 to 1846 and became one of the first directors of the Northern Pennsylvania Railroad. The first school was a log house located closer to the trestlework or railroad bridge. John Whittlesey was the first teacher, and John Bucklin was the second. The Saltsburg Academy was established in 1852.
Saltsburg is located in the southwestern corner of Indiana County, Pennsylvania. It currently has an estimated population of 923. The borough maintains a police department with one police officer. Supplemental police protection is provided by the Pennsylvania State Police. Saltsburg also has a volunteer fire department (Station 131). There is an elementary school as well as a high school, located next to the Kiskiminetas River. The economy of Saltsburg is based on small restaurants, a few salons, a gas station, and a grocery store. The Rebecca B. Hadden Stone House Museum is located at 105 Point Street and has been standing since the days of the canal. The Saltsburg Area Historical Society retains information from the past of the town and the people and their ancestors of the area.
The Saltsburg Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
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