This is the still-unfolding story of a house’s forgotten history and it’s role in the growth and development of one of western Pennsylvania’s earliest industrial towns — Apollo borough, founded in 1816 as the town of Warren and then renamed in 1848.
When my family moved into this old brick farmhouse in the 1970s, we knew essentially nothing about the house’s history. We recognized, though, that we’d landed in a cool, sturdily built historic home that needed just a little tlc — e.g., sheets of ice formed on the inside of the original old bedroom windows each winter, and the upstairs had no central heat. No air conditioning, then or now.
I was dismayed in 1991 when Apollo celebrated its 175th anniversary, and this old brick house was not mentioned in any of the literature or histories published at that time. But in those pre-Internet days, I had no clue how to research a house’s history to learn more.
I’ve since learned that if you want to know the history of a place, you shouldn’t just sit and wait and hope that maybe someone else will do the work. Go ahead and roll up your sleeves and do the research yourself. You’ll find lots of nice and knowledgeable people and organizations along the way. And be sure to share what you’ve learned with others, so you all can help to grow everyone’s knowledge base, including your own.
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Ellicott City, Maryland
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