Sugar Valley And Its Current Contributions


By:  Helen E. Bierly Imes

Lock Haven, PA  17745

Written:  December 14, 1998

INTRODUCTION

 
            While working in Lock Haven during the past 25 years, I have repeatedly been asked where I grew up.  When my reply is “Sugar Valley,” the inquisitors get a smirky grin on their faces and say, “You mean ‘The Walley Over.’”  This is a customary expression used in a good-natured way of poking fun at the valley[1].  The value of this last settled, central Pennsylvania, southern Clinton County valley (map) has appreciated over the years because of the energy and accomplishments of early predominantly German immigrants[2] and their descendants.  Sugar Valley never need apologize for its contributions, in all categories, to the growth of this county and state[3].

            Sugar Valley, which was named because of the abundance and size of sugar maple trees, is approximately twenty miles in length and two miles in width.  Sugar Valley lies between Sugar Valley Mountain (north) and Brush Valley Mountain (south).[4]  The enclosing sandstone mountains slope to the limestone floor of the valley creating a very beautiful and relatively isolated canoe-shaped valley.  Two roads traverse the full length of the valley; the road that follows the base of Sugar Valley Mountain is locally known as the “summer road” and the other which follows the base of Brush Valley Mountain is locally known as the “winter road. This is due to the fact that the snow melts first on the north side of the valley because it is exposed to the winter sun. (map).

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

 
            The small town/rural community contributions derived primarily from the Indians, the early settlers, and most recently the Amish.

 

Indians

Indians lingered longer in the Sugar Valley region than any other central Pennsylvania valley, bound to many of the early pioneer families by ties of blood, because their daughters were chosen brides of many of the leading settlers.[5]  Two items of interest concerning Sugar Valley history, which came as a direct heritage from the Indians, are the pottery industry and the legend of Logan’s Spring.

The Indians taught the early settlers their pottery skills.  Sugar Valley became famous for its well-made pottery.[6]  Some of the pots, jugs, and crocks in excellent preservation today are considered relics (photo)

 In the late 1700s, Chief Logan and Peter Pentz, a great Indian fighter, were rivals for the hand of Jura McEvoy, a white girl adopted by Hyloshotkee, a peaceful chief living at McElhattan Springs.  Jura and Pentz were secretly married, then Jura disappeared.  Several years later, Pentz met Logan at Zeller’s Spring and confronted him about Jura’s disappearance.  Logan gave an evasive reply, whereupon Pentz shot Logan in the hip and permanently crippled him.  Zeller’s Spring, more commonly known now as Logan’s Spring, is located on the old Sweeley farm adjoining Loganton Borough on the west.[7]  A stone plaque commemorating Chief Logan is located outside the Loganton Bank (photo).

Early Settlers

            The first settlers arrived in the valley in the early 1800s looking for a tillable piece of land.  The soil of the valley is primarily sandy loam and clay with red shale predominating in some areas.  This excellent soil, along with a readily available supply of lime from the valley floor, created excellent agricultural conditions.[8]  With the outgrowth of the farmsteads, gristmills were established.[9]  Due to the seasonal nature of farming and original timber of pine, oak, chestnut, maple, and hickory,[10] sawmill operations ran during winter months.  Fishing Creek, which originates at the eastern end of the valley at Tea Springs[11] and flows westerly the entire length of the valley, provided sufficient waterpower cable of driving milling machinery.  All these natural resources provided a background for the development of agricultural and industrial pursuits.

            Churches and schools were plentiful and played an important part in the history of Sugar Valley.  At one point in history, Sugar Valley had as many as 16 one-room schools in operation at the same time.[12]  Today, there is one state-funded school, formerly called Sugar Valley Area School, and is located in Loganton.  The name was changed to Keystone Central School District in the early 1970s when Clinton County consolidated its schools.  In the 1996, it became entirely an elementary school (photo) and the high school students are now bussed 20 miles over the mountain because of the consolidation.  Throughout its history, Sugar Valley has accommodated approximately 20 churches.[13]  Today, there are 8 active churches (photo).  The large number of churches and schools was no doubt due to the factors of distances between villages, poor transportation, and denominations.

 Amish

            Although the “Pennsylvania Dutch” language died out with the German settlers and their descendants, the dialect can once again be heard in the valley because of the large number of Old Order Amish who first settled in the valley in 1972.  Today, approximately 20 Amish families (250 members) inhabit the valley with their customs.  The Amish established three schools within the valley (photo).  Their church meetings are held each Sunday in a different household.

 Population

            In 1825, only 431 inhabitants occupied Sugar Valley.  By 1880, the population had increased to 2,635.  The census of 1950 indicates 1,634 people lived in the valley and since has remained fairly static.[14]  This decrease in population can probably be contributed to the declining economic viability of natural resources and to automation.

 

SUGAR VALLEY TOWNSHIPS/TOWNS

 
            Sugar Valley is comprised of two townships, Greene Township and Logan Township.  From these townships, ten villages grew.  Their background namesakes and contributions are discussed in the following paragraphs.

 

GREENE TOWNSHIP

Greene Township was formed in 1840 out of Logan Township.[15]  It was named for Captain Harry Greene of Milton and six of his companions who were killed in February 1801 at the eastern end of Sugar Valley (photo) in pursuit of a band of Indians who were burning buildings and stealing cattle throughout the West Branch and Juniata Valleys.  This was the last Indian massacre in Pennsylvania.  A marker commemorating Captain Greene was erected in 1916 and was located at the eastern end of the valley just off Exit 28 of Interstate 80,[16] but the marker disappeared within the last ten years.

             Throughout the history of Greene Township, five villages and one borough were established which contributed to its growth:  Bull Run, Carroll, Centerville, Eastville, Loganton, and Rosecrans.

Bull Run

            Bull Run was originally called Sugar Grove because of the abundance of sugar maple trees in the area.[17]  It is now traditionally called Bull Run because of the location being near Bull Run Stream.

             This small village houses the only remaining one-room school (photo) in Clinton County.  It was constructed in 1899 and served pupils of Greene Township until it closed in 1955.  It was restored as a Bicentennial project, and dedicated as a site of historical interest in June 1976.  All the original equipment, including double desks, schoolmaster’s desk, recitation benches, a Waterbury school clock, and the bell in the belfry, are intact.[18]

Carroll

            Carroll was named after William Carroll who operated a furnace in the area when the valley was being settled.[19]  Carroll is located just off Interstate 80 at Exit 28.  The entire historical commercial past is gone from this town, but a restaurant and two gas stations that serve travelers of Interstate 80 are currently in operation.

Centerville

            Centerville was named because of its central location in the valley.  An Amish Harness Shop and General Store was established in Centerville approximately 25 years ago.  Centerville is more commonly known today as Schracktown because the Schrack family owns most of the land farmed in the area.

            The 950-acre Schrack Farm can be distinguished from the other farms in the area by it nine blue silos (photo).  In August 1977, the farm was designated a Pennsylvania Century Farm by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, meaning it has been in the same family for 100 years.  It is the oldest of five Century Farms in Clinton County.[20]

Eastville

            Eastville derived its name from its location at the eastern end of Sugar Valley.  By the end of the 1800s, fourteen dwellings, three sawmills, one blacksmith shop, one church, and one school[21] were in existence.  Today, all indications of the commercial past are gone, except for one church and a cluster of homes.

Loganton

            Loganton, the largest town and most commercialized in the valley, was originally called Logansville and derived its name from Logan Township and Chief Logan.  The town was laid out in 1840 and incorporated as a borough in 1864.[22]  The name change occurred by court action of the postal service on February 29, 1888 because a town in York County had the same name.[23]

            On Wednesday, June 20, 1918, Loganton experienced a disastrous fire.  No lives were lost, but approximately three-fourths of the borough was destroyed (two churches, 41 homes and businesses, 32 stables and barns).  Every business was destroyed except the bank.  The fire started from a defective flue in the DeLong Bakery.  The loss was estimated at $500,000.[24]  Since the fire, the borough has been rebuilt but not to the extent before the fire.

            Sulphur Spring (photo) is located just north of Loganton in the gap.  The spring was named because of the strong smell and taste of sulphur in its water.  The Indians believed the waters contained valuable medicinal properties.[25]  If you drank the water you would be cured of whatever ailed you.

Rosecrans

            Rosecrans lies in Greene Township on a highland plateau north of Sugar Valley Mountain and south of Nittany and Bald Eagle Mountains.  This mountain region was not settled until quite a number of years after the valley.[26]  The town was named after General Rosecrans of the Civil War by postmaster George Wagner.[27]      
 

LOGAN TOWNSHIP

            Logan Township was formed out of Miles Township (Centre County) in 1839.  It included the area which today encompasses both Logan and Greene Townships.  Logan Township was named for Indian Chief Logan.[28]

             Throughout Logan Township’s history, four villages developed which contributed to its growth:  Booneville, Greenburr, Logan Mills, and Tylersville.

Booneville

            John and Ralph Boone laid out Booneville in 1866.  The two men named the village after themselves.[29] 

            The Booneville Campground (photo) is located just south of Booneville on the road to Greenburr.  It has been the tradition for over 65 years that on the third Saturday in August the entire Sugar Valley population gathers for a community picnic.

            An old log home (photo) is located just beyond the Booneville Campground on the other side of the road.  Its original appearance has changed very little.  Many of the homes in the valley are constructed like this but are covered with vinyl siding.

Greenburr

            Greenburr (originally known as Greenville) was named for its location among an abundance of green trees in its vicinity.[30]  Although Greenburr was once comprised of a post office, a school, and three churches, today only one active church remains and no commercial development.[31]

Logan Mills

            Colonel Anthony Kleckner established Logan Mills.  Colonel Kleckner named the town after Chief Logan.[32]

            Logan Mills is the site of the only remaining covered bridge (photo) in Clinton County.  The 45-foot bridge was constructed in 1874.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1979.[33]

            Logan Mills is also the site of a stone gristmill (photo) built in 1840 by Colonel Anthony Kleckner.  When Colonel Kleckner died in 1860, it was purchased by the Ilgen family and was in operation until the mid-1950s.[34]  New owners recently purchased the building and are refurbishing it for historical purposes.

Tylersville

            Tylersville was founded by Squire M.D. Rockey in 1842.  He named the village for John Tyler, then President of the United States.[35]  Of the five Logan Township villages, Tylersville was the most prosperous, probably due to its greater industrial base.  Today, Tylersville retains its standing as the largest of the villages in Logan Township.  Although no historical industry remains, Tylersville retains one church, a post office, the only active grange in the valley, and is the site of a U.S. Federal Fish Hatchery.

 

CONCLUSION

            Sugar Valley residents recently began a historical society.  The Sugar Valley Historical Society was chartered on April 2, 1996 through the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The immediate plans of the society include preservation and operation of the Bull Run School, hopefully purchase the old high school located in Loganton (photo), gathering of historical material, and publications.  Their future plans include placing commemorative markers around the valley denoting the historical sites.

            With the completion of Interstate 80 in the early 1970s and its protrusion through the eastern end of the valley, Sugar Valley is not as isolated from the rest of Pennsylvania as it was at one time.  Despite the ever-changing times, Sugar Valley is still predominantly a farming community, noted for its wild beauty, hospitality of its people, background of Indian lore, and the more recent Amish customs.  As Colonel Henry W. Shoemaker stated, “ ‘Though the maple sugar industry from which the valley took its name is no more, the sweetness lingers, and it is said that if one once visits Sugar Valley, one will surely have to return.’”[36]

           



Endnotes

[1]               Mrs. Brooks Swartz, The Walley Over, (Lock Haven, PA:  Annie Halenbake Ross Library, 1977).

[2]               Jeanette Zimmerman, Sugar Valley Field Trip Teachers Guide (Lock Haven, PA, 1980).

[3]               Swartz.

[4]               John Blair Linn, History Of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1883), 642.

[5]               Harvey O. Wren, History Of Sugar Valley and Its Contributions To Clinton County Reviewed (Loganton, PA:  The Peerless Press, 1937).

[6]               Temons’ Tenth Grade Sugar Valley High School Class, Country Pride I (Loganton, PA  1976).

[7]                 Zimmerman.

[8]               Linn, 642.

[9]               Temons.

[10]             Linn, 611.

[11]             Linn, 611.

[12]                 Zimmerman.

[13]             W.L. Bartges, History Of Sugar Valley (1956).

[14]             Bartges.

[15]                 Scrapbook Of Clinton County: Newspaper Clippings From The Express, December 2, 1939 (Lock Haven, PA:  Annie Halenbake Ross Library, [no date]), 54.

[16]                 Zimmerman.

[17]             Temons.

[18]                 Zimmerman.

[19]             Temons.

[20]                 Zimmerman.

[21]             Linn, 614.

[22]             Linn, 615.

[23]                 Scrapbook, 54.

[24]             Temons.

[25]                 Zimmerman.

[26]             Linn 613.

[27]             Temons.

[28]             Linn, 642.

[29]             Temons.

[30]             Temons.

[31]             Linn, 645.

[32]             Temons.

[33]                 Zimmerman.

[34]             Jeffrey K Milgram, “Old Gristmill To Get New Life As Crafts Workshop,” (Williamsport, PA:  Grit, March 11, 1973), 56.

[35]             Temons.

[36]             Wren.

 

 Some more information :

     Sugar Valley, named for it’s abundance of lush Sugar Maple trees, is approximately 15 miles long and runs from east to west.  It is a beautiful valley bordered by the Brush Valley Mountains to the south and the Sugar Valley Mountains to the north. The borough of Loganton lies near the center of the valley and was surveyed by Casper Wister and purchased by John Kleckner. The town was laid out by John’s son, Anthony Kleckner, in 1840. It was incorporated as a borough on September 17, 1869 and confirmed by the court in 1870. On the original survey maps the town was to be called Alpine, but was officially called Logansville after the Native American, Chief James Logan, son of Chief Shikellamy.  Due to the fact that there were 2 towns in Pennsylvania named Logansville the name of the town was changed to Loganton in 1889.  A vast supply of virgin timber drew many lumber operations to the area. The first water company for the borough was incorporated in July of 1861. The P O S of A was established in 1872 and a community band was formed in 1886. After Samuel D. Ilgen conceived the idea to furnish electrical power to the area the streets of Loganton were lighted for the first time in November 1926.

    On June  26, 1918 a fire started in a bakery in  the DeLong building in the center of town . The fire started burning west  where it destroyed the Logan House Inn then the wind shifted and the fire raged to the east taking most of the structures – homes, stables, stores, businesses, barns, 2 churches, the Post Office, and the IOOF Hall, - 37 structures in all. It continued to burn for over 3 hours until help arrived from the Jersey Shore fire company with their newly purchased pumper. There was no loss of life, but there were 37 families who lost their homes. After the fire 26 of them returned to rent or rebuild.  In an effort to aid the reconstruction of the town the Community Club was formed in 1925.

   The first water company was incorporated in July of 1861 and water was brought to the borough through wooden pipes from a spring just north of the borough. The first Post Office was established March 16, 1829. The Sugar Valley Volunteer Fire Company was starter Oct 1, 1946.  Telephone service was in Loganton by 1906.

     There were many one room schools through out the valley. In 1863 the Clinton Seminary School was founded. In 1827 there was a school in Loganton and by 1908 there was both an elementary and a high school. A wooden school building, built in 1910, was destroyed by a fire and was rebuilt with brick. It still stands on Hall Street,,as it survived the 1918 fire. In 1929 a vocational school was built in Loganton established by all three districts of Sugar Valley. In 1996 the Sugar Valley High School was closed and the students now travel to the new Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall.

There remains a Sugar Valley Elementary School for area students in Loganton for grades K - 5th . There is also the  Sugar Valley Rural Charter School started by local citizens in 2000 that has approximately 215 students in grades K – 12.

The population of Logan Township in 1830 was 601 and by 1840 it was 1,190. In 1850 Greene Twp. Added 897 people to the population of Sugar Valley and in 1870 Loganton had 314 people on the census rolls.


     The first organizational meeting to reactivate Boy Scouting in Sugar Valley was held in 1952. Membership over the years ranged from 5 - 45 boys, but usually had about 15 members at any one time. The first Eagle Scout was James Bonar. Later Sam Bonar, Ken Toner, Jim Wagner and Allen Wagner were among the first also.
    We have not found records of earlier Boy Scout Troops in Sugar Valley, but they did have a troop. Some remember meeting in the old POS of A hall in Loganton in the 1940s and a Boy Scout Book from Eastville shows Miles Frank attained the rank of Tenderfoot in April of 1923.


Booneville was laid out in 1866 by John and Ralph Boone who names the town after themselves.

Carroll was named after William Carroll, who operated a furnace in the area.

Greenburr was formerly called Greenville. It was named for the abundance of green trees in the area. It is not known why the name was changed.

Logan Mills was laid out by Anthony Kleckner who named it after the Mingo Indian - Chief Logan.

Bull Run was formally called Sugar Grove because of the abundance of sugar maple trees in the area. Bull Run was a nickname for the town supposedly because the area was where the buffalo long ago crossed the mountains .

Eastville was once nicknamed Princetown. It was changed because of it's location in the valley - at the east end.

        Information compiled from several sources and books/ YCW