Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wait, Where? Jersey Shore, PA

Traveling deep in the Appalachian Mountains along Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania you might be surprised to see the destination accessible by taking exit 192:



Yep, it's the Jersey Shore! Well, not the Snooki type. It's the town of Jersey Shore in rural Pennsylvania. Though interestingly enough, the name was just insulting to the Garden State 200 years ago as the TV show of the same name is to present-day dignity. Here's the situation (pun intended), courtesy http://www.usgennet.org/:
The first settler, Reuben Manning, ... was the uncle of Forster, who at that time owned and occupied Long Island, in the river opposite these surveys. They were both from Essex county, New Jersey, and from the part known at that day as the "Jersey Shore." As the settlement grow it came to be called "Jersey Shore," because Manning and Forster were Jerseymen. At first the name was applied in derision by the Irish settlers in Nippenose bottom, across the river. The place was named Waynesburg in 1805, but the title, "Jersey Shore," had obtained such notoriety that it prevailed, and when the act incorporating the borough was passed it distinctly said that the place "shall be called and styled the borough of Jersey Shore." That legalized it, and by that title it has been known to the present day.
Jersey Shore has had a post office since 1805. Today the community (pop. 4,300) has a pleasant Main Street. This article on nj.com describes more of the daily life around town.

The current post office resides downtown and has been in service since 1960. Here is the Jersey Shore post office in 2012:

Jersey Shore, PA post office, 2012

A modern mural depicting some historic buildings in the community is painted at one end of the lobby:

Jersey Shore, PA post office mural

It was interesting to research the meaning of the central inscription: "The Land of the Tiadaghton Elm." As the Williamsport Sun-Gazette explains: "The Tiadaghton Elm Ceremony is celebrated because the Fair Play Men, who were settlers that moved out of the Philadelphia area to the Jersey Shore area, decided they wanted to be free from Britain's rule and signed their own Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, without knowledge that the Continental Congress was creating its own Declaration of Independence." You can find out more about the Fair Play MEn settlers here. 'Til next time!

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