Renovo, PA


The Chronological History of Renovo, Pennsylvania
by Stephen F. Miller Jr.

Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


Leni Lenape Indians, a branch of the Minsi Tribe, use the area as a vast hunting ground.  The virgin pine, hemlock and hardwood forest was populated with deer, elk, bear, wolves and panthers and the streams teamed with pike, eel, shad, trout and salmon.  

An ancient trail, the Sinnamahoning Path, passes through what will be called Renovo on its way to the upper Alleghenies.  The Sinnamahoning Path followed the West Branch of the Susquehanna from  “the Great Island” at Lock Haven to the Sinnamahoning Creek at Keating, to Portage Creek, then to Canoe Place near Port Allegheny and on to the Seneca Indian country in the upper Alleghenies.

Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


1736 - The Six Nations of the Iroquois, headquartered in New York, conquer the Indian tribes of Pennsylvania.

November 1768 - the British purchase lands south of the West Branch of the Susquehanna from the Six Nations of the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix, NY for ten thousand pounds.

1768 to 1784 - White settlers begin taking up lands which had not been purchased by treaty from the Iroquois.   After repeated warnings to leave, the Iroquois attempt to force the settlers from their lands by conducting numerous raids against these settlers.  These Indian raids were especially unpleasant between 1778 and 1779.

Fall 1778 - Four-fifths of the West Branch population left their homes for forts and stockades in what was called the “Big Runaway.” 

Spring 1779 - In what is called the “Little Runaway,” settlers flee their cabins to the frontier forts and stockades as General Sullivan leads an expedition to destroy Iroquois villages and crops to the north in New York.  Unprotected cabins are destroyed as the Iroquois and the Tories (British) move to meet Sullivan. 

October 1784 - A treaty was made at Fort Stanwix, NY between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois, by which all the remaining Indian territory was transferred to the State.  This land deal, known as “the Last Purchase” included land in the present counties of Bradford, Tioga, Potter, McKean, Lycoming, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, Clearfield, Indiana, Jefferson, Forest, Warren, Armstrong, Clarion, Butler, Venango, Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie.

January 1785 - Fort Stanwix Treaty confirmed by the Wyandot and Delaware Indians.

May 17, 1785 - Land warrant issued to Samuel Byron.

Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


1824 - Samuel Byron Tract divided into four districts.  

July 10, 1824 - One of the former of Samuel Byron Tract divisions purchased by William Baird.

1825 - William Baird settles in Renovo.

1847-  Major flood of Susquehanna River.

1851 - First Post Office built in Renovo.

1862 - Philadelphia and Erie (P&E) Railroad construction train enters the village with workmen and crews.   P&E decides to erect shops at northern end of the town.  Land not used by the railroad laid into streets and individual lots for homes.

1863 - Renovo named.

1863 - Public school erected at the corner of Ontario Ave and 7th Street.

1864 - P&E Railroad line to Erie is completed.

1865 - Renovo P&E Railroad station at the west end of town completed.

May 26, 1866 - Renovo Borough incorporated.  Petition, signed by 106 citizens on May 15, sent to the court at  Lock Haven.

1868 - Methodist Episcopal Church built.

1869 - St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church organized.

December 21, 1871 - Renovo Record established as a weekly paper by John U. Shaffer.

1873 - 14th Street School erected.

1874 - Renovo Hose Co., No. 1 organized.

1875 - St. Joseph's Parochial School erected at 9th Street.

1880 - Ground broken on new Renovo car shop.

September 1, 1883 - Daily paper, "The Evening News" first published by John Dwyer and James Reilley.

1889 - Swedish Congregational Church of Renovo organized.

June 1, 1889 - Flood covers about half the town and causes heavy damage at the lower end of town. Sullivan Opera House as well as five homes are swept away.

November 20, 1889 - Saint John's (Swedish) Lutheran Congregation chartered.

1891 - Renovo PRR YMCA moves into the corner of 6th Street and Erie Ave.

November 13, 1891 - Ground broken on new brick passenger car and paint shop.

1892 - Cornerstone of new St. Joseph's Church laid.

1894 - Major flood of Susquehanna River.

Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's


1901 - Municipal building erected on 5th Street.

1901 - President McKinley's funeral train passes through Renovo from Buffalo, NY to Washington DC.

1901 - Episcopal Church becomes independent parish.

February 12, 1903 - Sol Marks Store established.

1904 - Electric streetlamps replace gas lamps.

1904 - Renovo Edison Light, Heat and Power Company begins providing power to the town.

1905 - Renovo shops upgraded with machine shop, freight house, timber shed and interlocking plant.  

1905 - Footbridge erected from shops to Erie Ave.

1907 - Erie Ave. paved from 3rd to 8th for Old Home Week celebrations.

August 30 - September 5, 1908 - Old Home Week celebration.

1910 - Renovo Hospital erected.

March 28, 1911 - New office spaces added to shops.

1911 - Keystone Hotel formally opened at the corner of 4th Street and Erie Ave.

1911 - Saint Joseph's Catholic School built to replace original building.

1912 - Double-tracking of rail line from Renovo to Erie completed.

November 1912 - Renovo Heating Company incorporated from Edison Light Heat and Power Company.

1915 - Formal grand opening of C.F. Maxwell's furniture store at 6th Street.

1915 - Renovo Public School built replacing old school.

August 15 - August 20 1916 - Fiftieth Anniversary of Renovo celebrated.

April 30, 1918 - Renovo Foundry shuts down.

November 1918 - Renovo in throes of flu epidemic which killed many townspeople.  Schools, churches and theaters closed. Many public buildings were used as temporary hospitals.

1919 - Renovo holds Welcome Home Celebration in honor of returning World War I Servicemen.

1922 - Workman's strike causes many families to leave town, never to return.

1923 - West End "dogleg" bridge built.

1923 - Renovo yards receive $330,000 improvements.  These include extending west-end yards, adding additional storage tracks to east-end of yards, adding new drop table in engine house and replacing mud service roads with stone driveways.

1924 - Malizia's Store established at 16th Street.

1924 - Yellow Cab Service started in Renovo.

February 6, 1925 - Renovo PRR YMCA moves to 3rd and Huron Ave (Clinton Hotel)

April 24, 1925 - Air Brake department moves to Renovo Shops from Sunbury.

December 17, 1925 - Accounting department moved to Buffalo, NY.

May 15, 1926 - East Renovo rail station abandoned.

1926 - Memorial Bridge at east end of Renovo built.

October 15, 1930 - Official opening of Hyner Bridge.

1933 - The First State Liquor Store in Renovo opens at 620 Erie Ave.

1933 - Gospel Tabernacle church incorporated.   Later becomes Independent Baptist Church (1948).

1933 - Free Methodist Church built.

1935 - Citizens Bank of Renovo opens at 3rd Street and Erie Ave.

March 18, 1936 - St. Patrick's Day Flood causes a 750 thousand dollars in damage.  Flood waters covered approximately 75 percent of the Borough with muddy water. Homes were moved from their foundations and some were swept away 

1939 - Citizens Bank of Renovo moves to 4th Street and Erie Ave.

1939 - King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England make short stop while passing through on train to Washington DC.

July 20, 1942 - Flash flood causes concern as Susquehanna rises to 19 feet.

1945 - Major ice flood of Susquehanna River.  Ice and water reached Huron Avenue at Eleventh Street.

1946 - Major flood of Susquehanna River.

October 9, 1949 - Flaming Foliage Festival established.  Queen Sherrill Hiller of Jersey Shore crowned at Hyner View.

1950 - Community Factory Building erected in South Renovo.

1950 - Leidy Prospecting Company hits oil on the land of Dorcie Calhoun. Many local people are investors in the find.

1953 - Renovo Shops begin servicing diesel engines.

May 5, 1956 - Renovo Hospital Annex completed.

1964 - Major flood of Susquehanna River. Flood waters reached the railroad wall at 14th Street, went to Huron Ave at Eleventh Street and to Ontario Ave at Seventh Street.

1966 - Renovo celebrates its centennial.

January 1968 - PRR closes Renovo Shops and relocates to Altoona.

October 1969 - Berwick Forge and Fabricating leases some of the Renovo Shop buildings for fabricating freight cars.

October 19, 1969 - Last passenger train pulls out of Renovo.

July 1970 - West End "dogleg" bridge replaced.

1972 - Tropical Storm Agnes dumps 28 trillion, 50 billion gallons of water on the Susquehanna basin pushing the river over its banks.

1975 - Renovo Public School closed.

January 3, 1980 - CONRAIL closes Renovo yards permanently. 

1982 - Renovo PRR YMCA closed.

1982 - Saint Joseph's Catholic School closed.

1986 - Renovo PRR YMCA reopened as Olde Kingsley Inn.

1987 - Saint Joseph's Catholic School razed for church parking lot.

January 1996 - Major flood of Susquehanna River.

Pre -1700  |  1700's  |  1800's  |  1900's

- back to  -