A History of Gordon, Pennsylvania
From the Souvenir Book of the First annual Gordon Homecoming, August 13th to 17th, 1952
Standing on the top of Broad Mountain just north of Pottsville in 1775 you notice a very beautiful valley not to remain untouched long. The original tract of land is shown on an old tract which is endorsed: “Draft of three tracts of land, the property of David and James McKnight” John Kunckle, a farsighted person, seeing the value of the valley, received a warranty of the land from the McKnights on March 24, 1788 and April 16, 1792. This land he patented on August 19, 1795.
The remaining tracts of land were still deeded to David and James McKnight of Reading. The descendants of this family were responsible for the founding of the town now known as Gordon. Little was done until 1800 when Colonial Wycoop, an officer in the Mexican War, settled on a strip of land extending from the now Johnson property to the site of the public school. This settlement he called “Perote” after the site of the final battle in which he fought in the Mexican War.
Spotted throughout the area along the old “Center Turnpike” which extended from Sunbury through Pottsville to Reading, were a number of inns as “Accommodations for Man and Beast”. As early as 1810 one such inn existed at what is now known as Fountain Springs. This inn was known as the “Seitzinger Tavern”. The tracts for this inn were cleared as early, possibly, as 1795.
Early settlers continued to live here with little company except an occasional traveller. Little was done formally to the valley until 1846 when a man named William Stevenson placed a steam saw here. To this same Mr. Stevenson is credited the laying of the streets of Gordon. In 1847 he definitely laid Main Street which is now known as Biddle Street. In 1854 the first Union preaching was held in Gordon by Rev. John Adams. This was a union of Presbyterians and Methodists. Many settlers were being attracted by the activity which was going on as a result of the building of the Gordon Planes in order to hoist coal cars over the mountain. The Planes, which were destined to make Gordon famous were completed in 1855.
The added number of people in the area soon required more spiritual guidance, and in 1857 the Methodist group in Gordon called on a Methodist minister by the name of Rev. John A. DeMoyer to come to Gordon and “preach the word”. The following year, 1858, the original Methodist Society was organized. Building was continuing and the need for a church building was felt. The church was built in 1860 by all the people of the town. The area Presbyterians placed $1000 into the building fund and the church was deeded to the Presbyterians.
The year 1867 was an important one in Gordon and all residents were at the yards when the first locomotive pulled its way into the town and into the hearts of the residents of Gordon. The old mules were out. There would be no Sunday baths at the old “Muley”. As moments proceed and as people come and go so it was in Gordon. The Presbyterians were becoming fewer until, in 1872, the old church building was sold to the Methodist congregation for $1300.
Gordon was growing. A group of citizens were forming a P.O.S. of A. A church was built. All aspects of community life were taking shape. In 1875 another religious body sprang up. In this year the first Lutheran preaching took place, to be followed in 1875 by the formal organization of the society. C.R. Wilson, in 1876 purchased the church building from the Methodist congregation, and in 1877 he sold the old church building to the Lutheran congregation for $600.
The one thing lacking was a town newspaper. In 1880 Rev. Minnich of the Methodist church published the “Ivy Leaf” and Gordon had a town paper. In 1881 the Methodist congregation received from the McKnights a deed to the present property held by the congregation. On this property was built the present Methodist church. It was dedicated in 1882 by Bishop Simpson after whom it is named. In 1884 the present parsonage was added.
Life continued peacefully in Gordon. Citizens were civic minded and in 1888 the P.O.S. of A Hall was built. The original building was standing in 1952 and was owned by Gregory Hubler. (It has been replaced by a U.S. Post Office. BKL). In 1890 disaster struck and the old Lutheran church and schoolhouse were destroyed by fire. The destructions of these valuable properties caused the citizens to do what they had been talking about for a long time, and a fire company was started. The people were undaunted by their misfortune and began in 1890 to rebuild their church.
In 1891 Gordon became a separate borough and divorced itself from Butler Township. This same year the six room school house was built and in 1892 the first class of Gordon High School was graduated.
The first great celebration was held in 1898 at which time a 19 x 30 foot flag was flown 800 feet over the level of Biddle Street. The flag was suspended on crucible steel wire stretched from mountain to mountain across Gordon Plane Gap, appearing as if suspended from the clouds and seen for miles. The height of the mountain peak above Biddle Street was 950 feet. The length of street wire connecting the peaks was 2600 feet. Tensile strength of the wire was 4000 pounds. This flag was sewn by Frank Kaufman in the living room of his home.
In 1902 the organization of the Roman Catholic Church in Gordon was begun. In 1906 the present church building was dedicated as the Church of the Lady of Good Counsel.
In the year 1909 Gordon had its own municipal gas plant. Light and fuel were provided for the residents. This same year a championship basketball team brought honors to Gordon.
In 1924 the present Citizens Fire Company was organized – which is now strong and active.
Dr. A. F. Bronson was responsible for the organization of the first Boy Scout Troop in Gordon in 1927. Through Dr. Bronson’s efforts we have an active troop 180 of Gordon.
The following year Dr. Bronson was largely responsible for the formation of the Girl Scout movement in Gordon. The organization meeting was held in the Methodist church in November 1928.
Getty-Lucas Post 44 Amvets was organized in 1946. (Donald Getty and Willard Lucas lost their lives in WWII)
The ball park and playground were built in 1946.
Improvements were made in the Rattling Run Creek in 1937.
Monument at top of McKnight Street was dedicated in 1920.
The Simpson Methodist Church is the oldest public building in Gordon.
The Lewis property (where the old Post Office was located) is the oldest home in town.