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210 Center St, PO Box 98, Meyersdale PA 15552 • Phone (814) 634-0512 Fax (814) 634-0512 • Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm Saturday 10am-5pm

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Meyersdale, Pennsylvania

Meyersdale
Washington is the capital of the United States, Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania, Somerset is the capital of Somerset County, but Meyersdale is the center of the universe.
-- Emma Hostetler Deal

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Meyersdale rests in the Casselman River Valley, between Negro Mountain Ridge and Allegheny Ridge, two of the four Appalachian ridges of Somerset County. On Negro Mountain is Mt. Davis, at 3213 feet the highest point in Pennsyvlania. Allegheny Ridge is the Eastern Continental Divide.

The region's geographic features attracted people here 12,000 years ago. The Casselman River offers the only cut through the mountain range, allowing access to the Youghiogheny and therefore the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The rivers of the Allegheny River's eastern flank flow to the east and therefore provide a path to the Chesapeake.

Nonetheless the only evidence of long term settlement before white men arrived here is that of the Monongehela Culture, which lasted from 900 to 1600. Before this period and after, the valley was used only for short term encampements, hunting and fishing, and as a passage way between the east and west. Until the British victory of the French and Indian War and the signing of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768 opened up this region for settlement only scattered bands of Shawnee, Mingo and other tribes, and a few English trappers and traders, journeyed through this valley.

The valley is a quiet farming area pioneered primarily by German farmers. Waves of new immigrants to the region followed, adding a mix of Irish and as well as subsequent Germans, many of them anabaptists: Amish, Mennonite and Brethren. These resourceful people created a unique culture blending the influence of the Appalachian Mountains and their German heritage.

In the late nineteenth century the extraction industries began to have their impact on the region. Lumber and then coal changed the industrial future of the valley. The B&O and then the Western Maryland railways cut through the valleys and early to mid twentieth century Meyersdale was a "Saturday Night Town."

Now the region has largely returned to its original quiet Pennsylvania German farming culture. The mountain is still high, the land is still beautiful, and visitors are welcome.

This page last updated on November 7th, 2012 at 03:37 PM
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