Bradford County, Pennsylvania, was named after William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth Colony, and it is located in the northeastern part of the state. The county has a rich history dating back to the colonial era, and here are seven interesting facts about Bradford County that highlight its unique past.
1. First Courthouse
Bradford County's first courthouse was a log structure built in 1814. After years of use, a new brick courthouse was constructed in 1836. The building still exists and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.
2. Railroad Expansion
In the mid-1800s, the construction of the Northern Central Railroad brought economic growth to the area. Industries such as lumber, agriculture, and textiles thrived, and businesses started to pop up around the train stations.
3. French Azilum
One of the most intriguing stories from Bradford County's history is the founding of the French Azilum, a refuge for French nobility during the French Revolution. In 1793, the Duchess of La Rochefoucauld, along with other French aristocrats, fled to Pennsylvania and established a colony near Towanda. The colony is now a museum and a popular tourist destination.
4. Connection to the Civil War
During the Civil War, Bradford County played an active role in the fight for freedom. Local soldiers enlisted in large numbers, and many battles were fought in the surrounding areas. A monument dedicated to the county's soldiers stands in Wyalusing.
5. First Women's Clubs
In the late 1800s, Bradford County became a hub of women's clubs. The Towanda Women's Club was established in 1895, followed by the Athenian Club in 1896. These clubs were instrumental in the women's suffrage movement and improving education for women.
6. Best Preserved Precolonial Rock Carvings in the Northeast
One of the county's most impressive historic sites is the Standing Stone rock formation in Athens, Pennsylvania. The rock carvings date back to precolonial times and are believed to be the best-preserved carvings in the northeast.
7. First American Golf Open
Curiously enough, Bradford County also has a claim to golf history. In 1895, the first American golf open was held at the Morris County Club in New Jersey. However, it was the Scottish-born golfer, Horace Rawlins, who emerged as the surprise winner. Rawlins had been working as the professional at the Wysox Club in Bradford County before the tournament, thus making Bradford County the birthplace of the first American Open winner.
In conclusion, Bradford County has a rich and diverse history that is well worth exploring. From its role in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars to its connection to golf history, there is something for everyone to learn and appreciate about this vibrant Pennsylvania community.
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