Montrose, PA


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Montrose is a borough in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, United States, 46 miles (74 km) north by west of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Montrose was laid out in 1812 and incorporated as a borough on March 19, 1824. Its name is a combination of "mont", the French word for “mountain” and Rose, for Dr. L R. Rose, a prominent citizen. The land is elevated about 1,400 feet (427 m) above sea level. The traditional older industries included creameries and the manufacturing of cut glass, boxes, sawing machinery, lumber, etc. In 1900, 1,827 people lived here, and in 1910, 1,914 people lived here. The population was 1,664 at the 2000 census. A 2007 estimate states that the population is 1,843. It is the county seat of Susquehanna County. The area of Montrose is notable for its many quarry sites. A type of rock that is indigenous to this area is called blue stone. The Montrose Club a private golf course is said to be one of the oldest golf courses in the United States.
Montrose incorporated itself as a town and seat of Susquehanna County in 1824, but families began immigrating to the area in the mid Eighteenth Century, primarily from areas along the Connecticut River Valley (western Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont). The American Revolution dramatically changed the political and built environments of New England, and consequentially, many inhabitants desired vast and affordable land in the western lands of Pennsylvania. When settlers arrived in what we be known as Susquehanna County they found rolling hills, clear lakes, and mountain streams with an abundance of natural resources like timber and bluestone. In a very short period of time, the first families built Montrose like familiar New England towns – large colonial style houses surrounding churches with a main street straddling the town. A town “green” adjacent to the courthouse allowed for community events, a spirit that still carries on to the present day.
Arguably, the most mystified (and thus contested) aspect of the town’s history occurred during the height of America’s Civil War. Several townsfolk and local historians claim that Montrose played a significant role in the Northern Trail of the Underground Railroad, housing several slave families in the area. Folklore has it that many of these families remained in Montrose and across the county after the War. These supposed connections opened a floodgate of local residents seeking historical landmark status for their homes in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, many of which were denied by the Pennsylvania Historical Commission due to lack of evidence that the events actually took place. Several academic historians believe that, while the possibility of a family or two stopping in Montrose along the Northern Trail is certainly plausible, the number of increased African Americans during the time is most likely explained by the then-bourgeoning coal industry just south of the county that appealed to many immigrants and former slaves looking for work. The Susquehanna County Historical Society and the Center for Anti-Slavery Studies (housed in one of the suspected homes) remains dedicated to identifying and analyzing primary documents of the time, but little legitimate data exists to satisfy the burdens of the Underground Railroad claims.