Hands on Heritage

Hands-on Heritage: Market Square

This 1875 photograph shows the southwest corner of Market Square in downtown Williamsport. Bustling with downtown traffic despite the muddy thoroughfares, Williamsport’s booming lumber trade summoned entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on the region’s wealth and new construction. The block featured a ticket office for the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company, a hardware store and a pianoforte maker. Michael Ross, an indentured servant of Scottish origin, founded the city. In 1793, Ross bought 285 acres of land from William Winter. The original plot of land was a rectangular figure containing 111 acres and divided into 302 lots with streets and alleys crossing each other at right angles. He sold the first lots in what would become Williamsport on July 4, 1796.

Hands-on Heritage: Market Square from Williamsport: The Grit Photograph Collection