With a population barely reaching past 500 individuals throughout its existence, I think we can safely say that Darlington is a true “small town.” This post, in fact, was tricky to write due to a lack of history that places like Centralia, Franklin and Johnstown have in abundance. This little town off Route 51, with places like The Gathering Place and Lance’s Port & Pub, really bring to mind small town life. And that isn’t a bad thing at all. Let’s take a look at what we can find out about Darlington, Pennsylvania.
A Small Borough of the North
Almost an hour north of Pittsburgh sits the borough of Darlington. If you live in the North Boroughs of Pittsburgh (the ones before you hit the McKees Rocks Bridge), then it’s a straight shot up PA 65 – also known as Ohio River Boulevard – past Sewickley, Ambridge, the Old Economy Village, Freedom and Monaca. In fact, Darlington Road takes you all the way from Greersburg’s town center to Route 588 where it eventually connects with Beaver Falls.
Why the City is Named Greersburg
The original plot is in the possession of George Greer, a great- great-grandson of George Greer. The question arose as to what to name the town. Since the land on which the town stood was owned by Martin, Sproat and Greer, it could have been called Martinsville, Sproatstown, or Greersburg. In order to settle the matter they decided to draw straws. Greer drew the longest straw, so the name of Greersburg was adopted. It was / known by that name until 1830.source: Beaver County Communities
The Industries of Darlington
As Darlington grew up along a major stagecoach route, many mercantile popped up in the area. In fact, the town is named after one such prominent merchant: S.P. Darlington.
“Sometimes when stagecoaches were stranded, the house was used as a stopover. There was a watering trough at the bottom of the hill below the house for public use. Just at the top of the hill beyond the Martin House was the farm of the Patterson Brothers. Sam and Bob, as they were affectionately known. It was they who furnished milk to most of the people of Darlington. Milk sold at five cents a quart.source
Darlington is also home to the well known Greersburg Academy, the first of its kind to be chartered on this end of the state in 1806, just two years after the town’s founding. “Though it was originally built as a school, the structure functioned as a railway station for a time, serving several railroads between 1883 and 1972. The structure is one of the oldest structures to have ever been used as a station.”
Today, Darlington contains the usual combination of shops and businesses found in small town America. They have Butcher & Baker, BrickYard Auto Parts, a place called Pack Ratz and the Beaver County Industrial Museum.
While there are some bits and pieces in existence on the internet of Darlington’s overall history, much of it is relayed orally by those who harbor a strong passion for it. These are the folks from the Little Beaver Historical Society, and they keep history alive not only for Darlington but the communities that surround it as well. They even have a vast collection of YouTube videos and podcasts available to the public. So if you’d like to explore more of the area, I’d definitely advise you to check them out.
While today’s topic was certainly brief, it does make me want to visit the small merchant town of Greersburg some day. And, as it’s a mere hour’s drive (and past the Old Economy Village – depending on which way you go), a combination of the two would certainly be worth a day trip.
So I invite you to explore more of the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. Or, if you’re not from this state, I encourage you to visit more historical sites in your area.
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